We’re now four into the PGA Tour’s restart amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve seen four straight elite winners emerge. Daniel Berger, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau are your champions of the four events back, and you will likely be able to add to that list over the next two weeks as the Tour sets up shop for a fortnight at Muirfield Village.
First up will be the Workday Charity Open. The event, which replaces the John Deere Classic, features a still loaded field as players get back into the swing of things after the extended time off because of the coronavirus pandemic. Then next week, many of the same players will participate in the Memorial Tournament.
Let’s take a closer look at this week’s contest, with odds and prop bets provided via William Hill Sportsbook.
What: Workday Charity Open
When: July 9-12
Where: Muirfield Village — Columbus, Ohio
Three things to know
1. Different Muirfield: Wonkier course geeks than I will get far deeper on how Muirfield Village will play at the Workday Charity Open compared to how it plays the week after at the Memorial. I do hope the Tour tries some funky permutations with it, though. Put tee boxes where you’ve never put them. Put pins in locations players have never seen. It will be a nice look at how courses can be completely changed simply by changing the beginning and ending of the holes that make them up. You might not have this opportunity again anytime soon.
2. Koepka back: After finishing in the top 10 at the RBC Heritage a few weeks ago, Brooks Koepka had to pull out of the Travelers Championship because his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for COVID-19. That quelled any momentum Koepka had built up, but it also creates intrigue for me. It seems like Koepka is pointed in the right direction after about eight months of futility. It’s good timing, too, with Bryson DeChambeau laying claim to “best player in the world” title and the first major coming up fast (see below).
3. PGA creep: By the time the Tour leaves Columbus, it will have just two more events — the 3M Open and WGC-St. Jude Invitational in Memphis — before the first major of the season (and the first major in over a year) will be played at Harding Park in San Francisco. In a normal year, we’re focused on how golfers are playing at the Memorial because the U.S. Open is on deck. This year, we’ll be focused on how they play eight rounds at Muirfield Village because the PGA Championship is on deck. We haven’t talked much about the first major, but now we’ll start watching these events through that lens as our seven-majors-in-12-months stretch gets underway in 30 days.
Grading the field
The Memorial field will be world-class, but the Workday field still gets some of that spillover. That will include Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson (of course), Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff. Like I mentioned off the top, we’ve gotten some absolute studs as winners in the first four weeks back. That’s not necessarily unusual given the quality of fields, but it’s been an unexpected treat that will likely continue with the uptick from last week’s group to this week’s at the Workday Charity Open. Grade: A-
Three best sleepers
1. Ben An (66-1): Four straight top 25s for Ben An at Muirfield Village. I get that it’s going to be set up differently, but it likely won’t be that different. An hasn’t been his usual sharp self from tee to green so far this season, so I’m betting on him bouncing back to more normal Ben An numbers at some point in 2020. Combine that with a hopefully-hot putter, and it’s not hard to envision a win.
2. Si Woo Kim (150-1): This is my weekly “wait, this guy has all the talent in the world, why are his odds this long?” guy. Last week it was Matthew Wolff at 100-1. This week it’s Kim, who’s coming off two straight made cuts. At 150-1, even in a good field, it’s worth a flyer.
3. Matt Wallace (100-1): After missing the cut at two of the first three events back, Wallace finished T12 last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Good player, good talent, could absolutely win at Muirfield Village this week.
Workday Charity Open picks
Who will win the Workday Charity Open, and which surprising underdog will shock the golf world? Visit SportsLine now to see who you can bank on to win the Workday Charity Open, and see which long shots make a run at the title, all from the model that’s nailed six golf majors and just called Bryson DeChambeau’s win.