Silverado Resort and Spa (North Course) Napa, CA
A less than stellar field will contend this week at the PGA Tour’s first event of the ’22/’23 season. Most players representing the U.S. and International teams in next week’s President’s Cup have chosen to prepare in a non-tournament setting. There are, however some intriguing combatants.
In the past three iterations of this tournament, the winning scores have ranged from -17 (Cameron Champ ’19) to -21 (Stewart Cink -21). The Johnny Miller-designed course is narrow and tree-lined with deep bunkers and smallish greens. This would seem to favour a golfer who is accurate off the tee and either hits a lot of greens or is good around them.
Who should win? – Max Homa 16/1
The defending champ and odds-on favourite, would seem like a logical choice to repeat. He finished well in the FedEx Cup playoffs, is about to play in his first President’s Cup, and has the type of game well-suited for this track.
Who could win? Corey Conners 18/1, Hideki Matsuyama 18/1, Taylor Pendrith 28/1
Conners is probably the player who is most “due” to win his second Tour event. He is accurate off the tee and a green-hitting machine. He is not rated as highly around the green but with a weaker field, he should be in contention on the weekend. While not as hot as Homa has been, Matsuyama is simply the best all-around player competing this week. If he is motivated and putting well, he could lap the field. Pendrith (another Canadian) was a somewhat surprising pick for Trevor Immelman’s International side. But if you look at his results this year, you will see a player who contended in some of the bigger events. He is a little wild off the tee but is able to put up low numbers.
Longshots to consider – Trey Mullinax 55/1
Mullinax has quietly put together a very strong season. He won his first event at the Barbasol and finished at 33rd (just outside the Tour Championship cutoff) in the FedEx Cup standings with a T5 at the FedEx St. Jude.
Who will win? – Max Homa
I wanted to anoint Conners as my pick this week but the winner will likely have to go fairly low and I am not sure his putting can hold up to a -20. Homa is riding such a wave of confidence that he will feel a lot less pressure this week than he has over the past few years when just retaining his card was uncertain.