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BlogCharles Schwab Preview and Picks

Charles Schwab Challenge

May 23rd – 26th, 2019

Colonial C.C.

Fort Worth, TX

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,209

Purse: $7.3 million

with $1,314,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Justin Rose

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 42 of the top 100 and 18 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with five players from the top-ten #3 Justin Rose, #7 Francesco Molinari, #8 Bryson DeChambeau, #9 Xander Schauffele and #10 Rickie Fowler. The other top 50 players are #11 Jon Rahm, #13 Paul Casey, #16 Tony Finau, #20 Louis Oosthuizen, #27 Kevin Kisner, #29 Ian Poulter, #30 Jordan Spieth, #33 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #40 Tyrrell Hatton, #41 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #42 Billy Horschel, #47 Brandt Snedeker, #49 Branden Grace.

Last year there were 20 top-50 players in the field

The field includes 11 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2019.  Those players are  #4 Jon Rahm, #5 Pat Perez, #6 Adam Hadwin, #7 Jordan Spieth, #10 Brian Harman, #13 Sergio Garcia, #14 Marc Leishman, #15 Billy Horschel, #17 Kevin Kisner, #18 Mackenzie Hughes, #19 Wesley Bryan, #22 Si Woo Kim and #23 Cameron Smith.

The field includes 10 past champions: Justin Rose (2018), Kevin Kisner (2017),Jordan Spieth (2016), Zach Johnson (2010, ’12), David Toms (2011), Rory Sabbatini (2007), Tim Herron (2006), Kenny Perry (2005 & ’03), Tom Purtzer (991) and Keith Clearwater (1987).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Charles Schwab field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Charles Schwab in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the  Charles Schwab.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Charles Schwab

Player PGA Champ. Byron Nelson British Masters Wells Fargo Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC Dell Match Play Corales Puntacana Valspar Champ. The Players Arnold Palmer
Jordan Spieth
(254.33 pts)
T3
(180)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
T21
(38.67)
T30
(6.67)
T24
(13)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(211.5 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T18
(32)
T3
(60)
T10
(26.67)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
T35
(7.5)
DNP
Xander Schauffele
(209.33 pts)
T16
(68)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
T2
(133.33)
DNP T24
(13)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP
Scott Piercy
(202.67 pts)
T41
(18)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
T54
(0)
Rickie Fowler
(183.83 pts)
T36
(28)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP T9
(60)
T17
(11)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
T40
(3.33)
Jon Rahm
(180 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T9
(60)
DNP T24
(13)
DNP T6
(20)
T12
(19)
DNP
Francesco Molinari
(179.67 pts)
T48
(4)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T5
(93.33)
DNP 3
(45)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
Win
(44)
Paul Casey
(170.17 pts)
T29
(42)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP Win
(44)
CUT
(-5)
DNP
Kevin Kisner
(169 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T41
(6)
T21
(38.67)
DNP Win
(66)
DNP T24
(8.67)
T22
(14)
T23
(9)
Joel Dahmen
(166.33 pts)
T71
(0)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
T18
(21.33)
T16
(22.67)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
T12
(19)
CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Rose
(166.17 pts)
T29
(42)
DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP T8
(25)
T63
(0)
Jason Kokrak
(161.83 pts)
T23
(54)
DNP DNP 69
(0)
T22
(18.67)
T16
(22.67)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
T47
(1.5)
T10
(13.33)
Matt Every
(146.67 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Chez Reavie
(131.67 pts)
T14
(72)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
T18
(21.33)
T28
(14.67)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-5)
DNP
Max Homa
(124.67 pts)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Seamus Power
(124.5 pts)
DNP T79
(0)
DNP T13
(37)
T5
(46.67)
T6
(40)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T35
(7.5)
DNP
Matt Jones
(119.67 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T38
(12)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP
Ian Poulter
(112.83 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
T10
(26.67)
T12
(50.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
T23
(9)
Brandt Snedeker
(111 pts)
T16
(68)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T48
(1.33)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T24
(13)
DNP T30
(6.67)
T5
(35)
T50
(0.33)
Tony Finau
(105.67 pts)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T5
(93.33)
T61
(0)
T40
(5)
DNP DNP T22
(14)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(104 pts)
T23
(54)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
T45
(3.33)
T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T24
(13)
DNP DNP T26
(12)
T50
(0.33)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(101.83 pts)
T41
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T39
(7.33)
T21
(38.67)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP T41
(4.5)
2
(33.33)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(98.33 pts)
T41
(18)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T49
(1.33)
DNP T40
(5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T23
(9)
Charley Hoffman
(97 pts)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
T45
(3.33)
T29
(28)
2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Abraham Ancer
(92.5 pts)
T16
(68)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T42
(2.67)
T17
(16.5)
T41
(3)
DNP T12
(19)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Charles Schwab

Player PGA Champ. Byron Nelson British Masters Wells Fargo Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC Dell Match Play Corales Puntacana Valspar Champ. The Players Arnold Palmer
Michael Kim
(-68.33 pts)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Chesson Hadley
(-40.67 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
CUT
(-5)
T17
(11)
Rod Pampling
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Dominic Bozzelli
(-35 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Ted Potter, Jr.
(-31.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T67
(0)
DNP T77
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Champ
(-29.17 pts)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-2.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Josh Teater
(-23.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP DNP DNP
Ben Silverman
(-23.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T41
(3)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Tyrone Van Aswegen
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Langley
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T61
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T67
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So how great was Bethpage?  

Have to say it was a very good week for Bethpage and the PGA of America.  What people don’t realize is that Bethpage was USGA’s road kill.  When the USGA made the decision to play the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage it was all about them not going back to Winged Foot and Shinnecock Hills, both courses had their fill of the USGA and with Baltusrol falling out of favor and joining the PGA of America rotation, the USGA had no more courses in the New York area.  So this made Bethpage very important and the USGA gave them two U.S. Opens in a span of seven years.  But with peace made between the USGA, Winged Foot and Shinnecock Hills there was no real spot for Bethpage and they made new friends with the PGA of America.  I have to say that I think the PGA got the best of the deal, the course has a lot of room, it looked like hospitality tents were all over the place and we saw a great course.  We never saw the future of Bethpage in 2009 because of all the rain, but we can see that Bethpage is one of the greatest courses in our country and for PGA Tour golf, it’s better than Winged Foot.  I also think that when the Ryder Cup is played at Bethpage in 2024 it will be a great place for the American squad to win.  Of the top-22 on the leaderboard, 11 American’s were on top while only four Europeans were in the top-22.

But another thing that has to be looked into, the PGA of America does a much better job of setting up courses for their major than the USGA does.  In the five days that I was at Bethpage, I didn’t hear anything but praise given to Kerry Haigh who has been the man responsible for setting up the PGA for the last two decades.  In all of his time, Kerry has never been criticized for a bad course, something that has been a norm for U.S. Open courses.  People have become completely disenchanted with their philosophy for having to set up courses to bringing back a score around even par.  They got away from this with low scoring at Pinehurst in 2014 and Erin Hills in 2017 but after the debacle at Shinnecock Hills, you have to hope that the USGA will go out of their way not to create any controversy at Pebble Beach.  Even at Oakmont with a course set up perfectly, the USGA screwed things up with the rules controversy which turns people off.  Kerry Haigh and the PGA aren’t the only organization to set up great courses, the R&A have always been good with the British Open.  They are at the mercy of the weather and always have made sure that a course doesn’t get away from them as Carnoustie did in 1999.  In a talk with then R&A secretary Peter Damson in 2016, I asked him if they had a philosophy and a target score from their major and he said no.  As he said they always set up the Open course to present a challenging experience for the players with the aspect that the best player is awarded.  At the same time they don’t want to “protect par,” a phrase that has been associated with the USGA.

One thing that the folks that set up the four major courses should understand, when Augusta made some changes around 2000 to make the course harder, they went a bit too far that it changed the way the finish happened.  We always love the final day and the way the fans react to not only disasters but to the eagles and birdies made on the back nine.  So when they took that away, they realized their error and has changed, again we see and hear excitement at the Masters.  We saw this at Bethpage this week, the course was set up perfectly and everyone loved it.  Yes, Brooks Koepka went low on Thursday and Friday, but we saw the bite that Bethpage had on Sunday when it got windy and cold.

What about Brooks Koepka?

I have been following golf for almost 50 years now and hate the phrase, “the next Hogan”  or “the next Nicklaus” or now “the next Tiger.”  These are cliches that are used way too much when someone does something good, you win a major and people like that are fast to slap the title.  I had a front-row seat to the Tiger Woods experience and can tell you I have never seen anyone with the skills that make Tiger great.  It’s just not a good swing and a good putting stroke, it’s got to do with conditioning, how much you sacrifice to practice and get your game in shape, but the biggest sacrifice is the way your life goes in which you are focused more on golf than anything else, including friends, family, and relationships.  Tiger made more focus to all of this, he took god given talent and made it better with his total devotion toward the game.  Tiger is the best and I thought that I would never see anyone close.

Yes, guys like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Dustin Johnson have been closed, but at the end of the day, all three have never given the same devotion to golf as Tiger has.  But for the last year, we have someone that could fill Tiger’s shoes and that is Brooks Koepka.  Over the last year or so, I have seen Brooks show more Tiger characteristics than any other person that is playing the game.  Brooks has the size and body to dominate golf courses and he works hard to keep that body in the best shape of any player.  Brooks also has the same steely-eyed attitude in which he doesn’t fear anything or anybody.  Brooks has complete confidence in his ability and feels that nobody can beat him.  Brooks has a way to block out the outside world and all of the problems and things that hurt confidence, again this is something that you just don’t pick up.  Lastly, Brooks knows what he can do in charting how he is going to play on any given day.

Now if there is a rap again Brooks it’s that Tiger was like that every time he played.  So when Tiger entered a tournament he was the top-favorite and if he played to his abilities he won.  But if his game was off a bit he would find a way to contend and finish in the top-ten.  You rarely saw Tiger finish worst than 20th when he was in his prime.  But right now Brooks is not like that, at the Players Championship he finished T-56th.  At the Sentry T of C in Maui, a tournament on a course he should win on Brooks finished 24th, a big surprise.  Since winning the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in June of 2017 he has only missed one cut (not counting New Orleans team event) at the Canadian Open last year but I can understand that since he had to rush to go from the British Open to Canada the next week.

Again I am not calling Brooks “the next, great Tiger Woods” but it’s in the back of my mind.  The same was in the back of my mind in 2015, ’16 with Rory McIlroy and he turned human. I also felt the same with Dustin Johnson before he fell down the stairs of his Masters home in 2017.  It will take many more wins by Koepka in the coming months and years, but I can say that I like what I see, he could be that next Tiger.

I wonder if any of you reading this feels the same way that I do?

Hard to believe:

In just 23 days we’ll have the start of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.  In just 58 days it will be the British Open and gosh just in 74 days the FedEx Playoffs will begin.  Boy time flies by fast, doesn’t it?  It seems like only yesterday that the season was beginning in Napa.

Things you need to know about The Charles Schwab Challenge and Colonial:

The 71st year of Charles Schwab Challenge. Commonly referred to as the Colonial National, it’s not the oldest event on the PGA Tour in longevity several events have been playing longer.  As for the same course, Augusta National, and the Masters can claim to have been played on the same course longer on the PGA Tour.  Colonial does have one distinction it’s the only one in America that has hosted the U.S. Open (1941), the Players Championship (1975) and the U.S. Women’s Open (1991).

The tournament got started in 1946 when it was apparent that the USGA wasn’t going to make Colonial an annual stop.  The event was the inspiration of John Marvin Leonard, who operated a store in downtown Fort Worth and wanted to see the best golfers in the world play on his course.  Having Ben Hogan win its first two events, gave the event and the course the recognition that it needed.

Hogan went on to win five times at Colonial, and the course got the name “Hogan’s Alley.”  At one time, Hogan practically held every record of the tournament.  In the 21 times Hogan played at Colonial, his highest finish was a T-56th in his last appearance in 1970 at the age of 58.  Over Hogan’s career, he won 54 tournaments, with the last victory coming in the 1959 Colonial.  One of Hogan’s most enduring records at Colonial was the 65 he shot in the 3rd round in 1948.  It took seven years for someone to tie the record when Chandler Harper did it in 1955, and it took 22 years for someone to beat the record when Dale Douglass did it with his 63 in 1970.  Hogan loved Colonial and became a dues-paying member of the club.  It only fitted that the greatest of Ben Hogan’s life and golf career is celebrated in the Hogan Room with an audio-visual presentation of his career and some memories of his career including clubs and replicas of all the trophies and medals.

Now the history of Ben Hogan and Colonial didn’t start with his win in 1946.  It was started in the early 1930s when a young Ben Hogan decided to play on the PGA Tour. He received financial backing from Marvin Leonard, the man who built Colonial.  Hogan wasn’t a big success; many times were forced to drop off tour and take a job to earn enough money to rejoin the tour.  However, as soon as Hogan began making money on tour he offered to settle his account with Leonard, who told him to forget about the money.  However, in the 1950s Hogan was able to pay back Leonard in an even bigger way.  After Hogan launched the Ben Hogan golf equipment company, he offered Leonard the opportunity to purchase 50 percent of the company.  Leonard seized the opportunity and along with Hogan made a handsome profit when the company was sold to AMF in 1960.

The Colonial Country Club was the vision of Leonard, a native of Fort Worth.  He was considered a “workaholic” in the 1920s when his doctor told him he needed to slow down his pace.  Leonard turned to golf and joined Glen Garden Golf Club and Rivercrest Country Club, the best courses of the time in Fort Worth. As Leonards interest in golf grew, he became more interested in all aspects of the course, including the types of grass.  In the south, Bent grass was thought to be impossible to grow, so all of the courses in Texas were Bermuda, which tended to be bumpy.  Leonard thought it would be a good idea to have bent grass and in trying to get Rivercrest to change the club president got tired of the requests and told him, Marvin, if you’re so sold on bentgrass, why don’t you go build your own golf course and put it in that course?”  So in 1934, Leonard did just that.

He acquired 157 acres in Southwest Fort Worth and hired golf architect John Bredemus to build him a championship course.  On January 29, 1936, the course was opened, and many thought it could be one of the most magnificent courses in the world. In the late 30s, Leonard also felt that Colonial was the best and lobbied the USGA to hold the Open at Colonial.  Even though the U.S. Open was never played in the South, when Leonard offered $25,000 to hold the event at Colonial it was given the 1941 Open.  To make sure that the course withstood the challenge of the best players in the world in 1940 he called in Perry Maxwell to redo holes 3, 4 & 5.

Even with the rain that hampered the Open it was a big success and plans to start a yearly tournament at Colonial were talked about but plans were put on hold because of World War II.  When the war ended, the club decided to hold the Colonial National Invitational and to add some prestige offered a purse of $15,000, the third largest sum on the PGA Tour.  With a first-place check of $3,000 awaiting the winner, a field of 32 players teed off with Ben Hogan winning.  Since then 68 Colonial’s have been held with the course pretty much the same as it was in 1941, with some minor revisions that were implemented in 1969 when several holes along the Trinity River were damaged by flooding.

Now, this event almost was lost when tournament host Dean & Deluca begged out of their sponsorship a few years early.  Frankly, when I heard that Dean & Deluca was sponsoring a tournament in Texas, it made no sense.  You see Dean & Deluca is a bunch of high-end stores like Whole Foods or Wegmans, but they are mostly in the New York area.  They were planning on putting one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but when those plans went away, so did Dean & Deluca on the PGA Tour.  As we can see with tournaments like Houston, you could be rolling along in great shape, but then your sponsor decides it’s not worth the $10 million a year investment.  So they leave and finding a new one is tough.  The good news, the Colonial has a new name as Charles Schwab will sponsor it.  So with Charles Schwab with them, the tournament can continue to do well on the PGA Tour.

Course information:
  • Colonial Country Club
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • 7,209 yards     Par 35-35–70
  • The Colonial has a 75.1 rating and slope rating of 138 from the championship tees. The course is very private. The tees, Fairways and rough are BermudaGrass while the greens are Bent.
  • It was designed and built by John Bredemus, with Perry Maxwell doing some touch-up work and opened in 1936.  There were some minor revisions in 1969 to some of the holes to prevent flooding from the nearby Trinity River.
  • In 2000, the club completed a two-year course renovation, which started in November of 1998 when they installed a new irrigation system.  The primary work was done in rebuilding all 18 greens with new A-4 bentgrass.  They also redesigned and rebuilt all the 84 bunkers, giving them a new definition so that they will be seen from tees and fairways.
  • All of the green and bunker work were done three weeks after the 1999 tournament ended with the membership not having the full course reopen until April 1st of 2000. Club has also planted close to hundred trees that won’t be in play but in years to come will help define the holes.
  • We usually don’t talk about technology in golf but when we talk about Colonial one of the reasons for it losing its fear factor is technology.  Colonial is one of golf’s treasured layouts that can’t keep up with technology.  The course sits next to the Trinty River on the north and houses on the East, South, and West of it, so there is no way to add any yardage.  So the course is at the mercy of mother nature if it gets windy the course will play tough, but if not it’s easy.  We go more into detail on this later.
  • This course for years was feared by all the touring pros; if you look at the winning score pre-1996, you saw years in which the winner was 7, 8, 9 and 10 under.  However, starting in 1997 every year but one (8 under in 1999) saw scores in the double digits for the winners showing how easy the course got.
  • One advantage the course has being short, most of the holes at Colonial are doglegs so the driver is taken out of the hands of players which means most of the holes you have to lay up meaning more players hit more fairways.  Many players are not happy about playing Colonial, two past champions Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson have not played in past years because they don’t like the driver taken out of their hands. We have seen bits and pieces of the proud history of this event crumbling,  I expect that Colonial will again get torn to pieces by players unless wind pops up.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Colonial.

This is based on the most important stats for Colonial, based on data from last years Charles Schwab Challenge, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2019. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.

The scoring average of the field at Colonial in 2018 was 69.83 making it T-20th. Conditions were very favorable with mild wind and soft course. In 2017 Colonial was 71.15 (lot’s of wind every day) making it the 7th hardest course on Tour that year as the course played over a shot a round over par. In 2016 Colonial was 70.20 making it the 18th hardest course on the PGA Tour, a quarter of a shot over par and almost a half a shot harder that the course played in 2015 when it was 69.78 and the 21st hardest course to score on in 2015. So why the difference? Rain and wind, in 2015 they had flooding conditions the week before the tournament and the course was very wet. On top of that winds averaged between 10-15 mph. In 2016 the course didn’t have as much rain and winds blew up to 20 mph the first three days and calmed a bit for the final round. But in 2017 winds blew each day at around 20 mph which made the course play very tough, a matter of fact the hardest it’s played since 2002 when the course played to a 71.21 average and ranked 6th on tour.

Colonial Country Club is a relic to a bygone era in which accuracy off the tee, precision shot-making to the greens is important. On top of that when the course is dry and runs, put in some wind and it can play really tough, kind of like last week with Bethpage which was a bear on Sunday with the wind. But with no wind, wet conditions you will see a lot of birdies and eagles and that’s what has happened over the years. You can’t overpower this course, that’s why you won’t see long ball hitters like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland, Luke List and J.B. Holmes here.

Every great shotmaker from the last 72 years has won at Colonial with Justin Rose being added to the list which includes Hogan, Nicklaus, Snead, Boros, Littler, Wadkins, Price, Trevino, Casper, Watson, Scott and Mickelson to name a few. Most important stat to look at is Ball Striking (which the PGA Tour doesn’t include in course stats), looking at the list for 2019 the odds are a player in the top-30 of that list.

So who will win this week? Tell you this, it will be a guy with a lot of fitness and a sharp iron player. So why is this so important in a time when overpowering courses is the norm? There is no room to add yardage to Colonial. Since the course opened in 1946, only 169 yards have been added. With 12 of the 14 par 4s and 5s being doglegs, players have to throttle back and hit fairway woods and irons to keep it in play, especially when the course is dry with a lot of run. So hitting it long gives you no advantage because length means nothing when you have to lay up, so short drivers will be in the same part of the fairway as long hitters. That is the reason why players like Corey Pavin, Rory Sabbatini, Steve Stricker, David Toms, and Zach Johnson have won this event. Look at Kenny Perry, Tom Purtzer and David Toms for example, they all have passed on playing the Senior PGA Championship because he feels he can play better at Colonial, that just shows what kind of winners Colonial produces.

In looking at our four categories, Fairway Accuracy is important, last year Colonial was the 17th hardest course to get into the fairway, while last years winner Justin Rose was T-6th in fairway hit. Our second stat is greens in regulation, last year Colonial ranked 22nd while Rose rank 1st in this stat hitting 57 of 72 greens. Our third stat is Par Breakers, last year Colonial ranked 20th overall while Rose was T-1st in this stat. Our last stat is Strokes-Gained Putting as Rose was 21st in this stat. As for Colonial, they don’t keep track of that stat tournament wise, but I can tell you this, six of the last 17 winners have led in total number of strokes so putting is very important.

Now another important element for this year is the weather, last year it was good, but for this week coming up will see temperatures in the low 90s but each day with winds in the 15 to 20 mph range, so look for tough conditions and scoring going up.

*Fairway Accuracy: Percentage of times a drive is in the fairway.
*Greens in regulation: Tells us which players hit the most greens during the week
*Par Breakers: The course allows a lot of birdies and eagles to be made, so Parbreakers is the percent of time scores are under par.
*Strokes Gained-Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.

The 110 of the 122 players from this year’s field with stats from 2019:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is a link to the other 100 players with stats from 2019

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Justin Rose – $11,400
  • Jon Rahm – $11,200
  • Jordan Spieth – $10,900
  • Rickie Fowler – $10,500
  • Xander Schauffele – $10,000
  • Francesco Molinari – $9,800
  • Tony Finau – $9,600
  • Bryson DeChambeau – $9,400
  • Paul Casey – $9,300
  • Kevin Kisner – $9,200
  • Ian Poulter – $9,100
  • Louis Oosthuizen – $9,000

Have to say that the prices are high but very fair.  Justin Rose at $11,400 is high but has the potential to defending is championship.  2019 has not been the best of years for him, but with this week, Memorial, the U.S. and British Opens along with the FedExCup he has time to turn a luke-warm year into a great year.  Yes I would pick him at this price.  But my favorite is Jon Rahm at $11,200.  Think he has a perfect game for Colonial and if he doesn’t win one in his career I will be shocked.  Ask me a month ago what I thought of Jordan Spieth at $10,900 I would say your crazy.  But after the Masters and the PGA Championship, I see him getting ready to really contend again.  Not only is it hard to believe that Jordan hasn’t won in 21 months, but his T-3rd at the PGA was his first top-ten since last year’s British Open when he finished T-9th at Carnoustie.  One thing to watch, Jordan has played great on Thursday and Friday and faltered on the weekend, he played well over the weekend at Bethpage. Rickie Fowler at $10,500 is a tough choice.  I say no, you have better options but Fowler had played well since the Masters, nothing drastic but his game is close.  The reason I say no to him, he hasn’t shown a liking to Colonial, in six starts just one top-ten, a T-5th back in 2012. I don’t know what to say on Xander Schauffele at $10,000.  Since he won at East Lake you think that he will do well this week, but he missed the cut last year and was T-48th in 2017.  Yes, he was runner-up at the Masters but was T-63rd at Heritage a T-16th at the PGA so I say no to him.  Francesco Molinari at $9,800 is a gamble.  He is playing ok, but it’s a jump at faith taking him considering he never played in this event.  But his game is perfect for Colonial and I think he will do well.  Can’t say the same for Tony Finau at $9,600.  Just think this is the wrong course for his game, has never played well and think he will continue the streak.  The same with Bryson DeChambeau at $9,400, save the money for someone else.  Now Paul Casey at $9,300 is a possibility.  Other than missing the cut at the Masters he has played well and I can see him doing well at Colonial.  Kevin Kisner at $9,200 is a past champion but his game has not been totally sharp this year I say no.  I say yes to Ian Poulter at $9,100.  His game has been very consistent and the course is perfect for his game which doesn’t have the long ball.  Poulter prides himself as being a ball-striker so I say yes. I also like Louis Oosthuizen at $9,000, like Poulter doesn’t hit it far but does process good ball-striking skills.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Emiliano Grillo at $8,700 is a good pick, has played ok this year, been very consistent and played well last year finishing T-5th.  Scott Piercy at $8,600 is also a good choice, yes he missed the cut last year but was T-7th in 2017 and was T-3rd at Heritage and T-2nd at the Nelson.  Matt Fitzpatrick at $8,500 could be a gamble but worth the price.  Never played at Colonial but it’s a course that should suit his game.  Also like Joel Dahmen at $8,200.  Played ok last year and has been good this year.  Billy Horschel at $8,100 is another easy pick, yes he won’t win but should help give you points.  Zach Johnson at $7,900 is another gamble.  He was great in this event for years but hasn’t played well since his 3rd in 2013.  But again he could be good at the price.  Brandt Snedeker at $7,900 is also good, always makes the cut at Colonial and has done well.  Kiradech Aphibarnrat is at $7,500 and worth the price played well at the PGA I think he will like Colonial in his first try on the course.

Any bargains out there?

Looking for those diamonds in the rough?  Try out Danny Lee at $7,300.  He opened the PGA with a 64 and has done good at Colonial, he is a very good low price solution to getting points.  Corey Conners at $7,200 is another good choice, he was T-8th last year.  One gamble is on Nate Lashley at $6,400.  Never played the course but has some great stats for 2019 that shows he could do well on the course.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Charles Schwab Challenge:

Key stat for the winner:

Experience at Colonial seems to be an essential part of winning.  Since 1996, 19 players have won at Colonial and have a total of 216 victories, so that means an average of 11.37 wins for each of the champions.  Last year’s winner Justin Rose won two other times after winning the Colonial,  Kevin Kisner won for the 2nd time, 2016 champion Jordan Spieth won for the 8th time, in 2015 Chris Kirk won for the 4th time, but in 2014 Adam Scott won for the 11th time.  In 2012 Zach Johnson won for the 8th time in his career as winners range from Tom Watson with 34 wins and Nick Price with 18 to Sergio Garcia who made Colonial his first PGA Tour win in 2001.  The fact is rookies don’t win at Colonial.  Yes, Sergio Garcia got his first PGA Tour win at Colonial but he had won in Europe.  The same with the next first-time winner Ian Baker-Finch in 1989, he had won in Australia.  The same with Boo Weekley in 2013.  In looking at the 70-year history of the Charles Schwab, only eight first winners have done the deed, that tells us to look for an experienced person to win.

Another key:

  • Look at all of the champions; you will see one thing in common, they are accurate drivers of the ball, which historically has been very important in winning at Colonial.  The bottom line is wild drivers don’t win here.  Now, of course, there is always an exception to the rule, in 2016 Jordan Spieth only hit 38 fairways and ranked T-54th.  The previous year Chris Kirk only hit 28 fairways and ranked T-60th while in 2007 Rory Sabbatini only hit 29 fairways and ranked T60th.   However, last year Justin Rose was 6th in driving accuracy, in 2017 Kevin Kisner hit 40 fairways and ranked 1st getting us back to the era of between 1998 and 2005 when all the winners didn’t rank higher than 9th in fairway accuracy, with seven of them being in the top-five. Driving accuracy is still critical in winning this event.

An important stat to look at to gauge the champion this week is strokes gained tee-to-green.

What makes this course so terrible of a driving course?

  • All of the doglegs, there are 12 of them and the fact that since the course only plays 169 yards longer than it did in 1946, players have to throttle back and hit fairway woods and irons to keep it in play.  One of the reasons that you don’t see players like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and J.B. Holmes here is because of that; it takes an individual player to keep it in play.  So in a way strategy plays an integral part in playing Colonial and length on many holes is a disadvantage.
  • Shot-making is almost a lost art, and if you look at all of the champions in this millennium, all of them were great shotmakers.
  • Hitting greens will be at a premium, just like in a U.S. Open hitting lots of greens goes a long way in this event.  Look for the winner to hit globs of greens this week.  Now there is another way, if you don’t hit greens, that is scrambling.  Last year Jordan Spieth may not have been among the leaders in greens hit, but he led in scrambling. Look at the chart below of the last ten winners, in looking at the two stats hitting greens or scrambling, and you will see a key for winning.

Winner                         Greens hit        Rank              Scrambling       Rank

2018-Justin Rose            57 of 72           1st                   10 of 15          T-30th

2017-Kevin Kisner          53 of 72         2nd                   15 of 19              2nd

2016-Jordan Spieth        51 of 72        T-17th                18 of 21             1st

2015-Chris Kirk               46 of 72       T-62nd              17 of 26            39th

2014-Adam Scott            52 of 72         T10th               14 of 20             16th

2013-Boo Weekly            54 of 72          T5th                11 of 18            40th

2012-Zach Johnson       45 of 72          T37th               21 of 27              1st

2011-David Toms           52 of 72            T4th                14 of 20            12th

2010-Zach Johnson       61 of 72             1st                   10 of 11               1st

2009-Steve Stricker       56 of 72         T-6th                  12 of 16            T14th

2008-Phil Mickelson     52 of 72          T5th                   14 of 20           T16th

2007-Rory Sabbatini      48 of 72        T55th                  19 of 24             3rd

 

Who to watch for at the Charles Schwab

Best Bets:

Jon Rahm

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T5 T2

Like him a lot, has shown in his two previous appearances that the course is perfect for him.

Jordan Spieth

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T32 T2 Win T2 T14 T7

Has been struggling with his game for a year and a half. He could get over the hump with a great finish this week, hopefully, a win.

Justin Rose

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
Win T71 T34

Course is perfect for him and wouldn’t be surprise to see him defend his title.

Best of the rest:

Ian Poulter

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T5 76 8 T15

He is a better ball striker than people realize, he could win this and surprise a lot of folks.

Paul Casey

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T10 T43 CUT T13 5

He was born to win this tournament, he hits the ball the way Colonial was meant to be played.

Louis Oosthuizen

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T5 CUT WD T38 T19

Another guy that suits this course.

Francesco Molinari

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Another first-timer that will love playing at Colonial.

Solid contenders

Rickie Fowler

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T14 CUT T54 T5 T16 T38

Again you don’t know which Rickie Fowler will show up, I think he can do well on this course, if he putts well.

Scott Piercy

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T7 T67 T43 T26 CUT DQ

Was T-7th at Colonial in 2017.

Billy Horschel

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T34

Has been very consistent in 2019.

Brandt Snedeker

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T42 T48 T17 T2 T45 T16 T59 T29

Looking to turn around 2019, a win this week would do that.

Emiliano Grillo

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
3 T24 T55

Has shown that he can play well on the course.

Long shots that could come through:

Danny Lee

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T14 6 T22 T10 T38 T46

The sleeper pick of the week, watch him he can go low at Colonial

Joel Dahmen

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T20

Has been sharp of late.

Nate Lashley

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

His stats for the PGA Tour in 2019 show how good he can be in this event.

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