This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE
Winner's Share: $1.512M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Colonial Country Club
2021 champion: Jason Kokrak
The PGA Championship is over and now begins the run-up to the U.S. Open. That sounds like a joke but it's very real. There are only three tournaments in between the two majors, which come fast and furious this time of year. The PGA, U.S. Open and Open Championship are all separated by only 53 days. The U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., begins on June 16 and the historic 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews on July 22. Colonial is this week, then the Memorial, then the Canadian Open and, boom, it's the U.S. Open. That's wild.
Maybe that's why we have a pretty stout field this week, and if you wanted to call it "loaded" we wouldn't argue with you. Six of the top-10 and 11 of the top-25 in the world headline this invitational field of 120. Justin Thomas, fresh off winning his second major title, is the headliner along with Texans Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth, who was the 2016 champion. There's also Will Zalatoris, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Sam Burns, Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, 2020 champion Daniel Berger, Patrick Reed and, yes, Rickie Fowler.
The defending champion is Jason Kokrak, who will be front and center this week but could soon take center stage again for another reason: With Kokrak a pitchman for Saudi Arabian golf, it will be interesting to see whether he takes part in the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener on June 9 opposite the Canadian Open. PGA Tour golfers sought but were denied releases to play at the event in London. We do not know how many, if any, will ignore that denial, play in that tournament and risk their PGA Tour status.
But for now, Colonial is the focus.
A little refresher on this event, one of the most storied in the history of the PGA Tour: It began in 1946 and, while it had undergone a sponsor merry-go-round until Charles Schwab came on board in 2019, one thing has remained constant for all 74 tournaments: venerable Colonial. Only the Masters has seen a longer lifespan without a course change.
Colonial is a 1936 Perry Maxwell design (sound familiar?). It tries to choke off the long hitters with narrow fairways, trees, dog legs and some seven dozen bunkers, which is a big reason why Annika Sorenstam famously chose this track for her one and only venture onto the PGA Tour 19 years ago (she missed the cut). It's also why Colonial experience matters more than at most tracks. The bentgrass greens are small, averaging a mere 5,000 square feet, and there is water on six holes. All of this adds up to accuracy counting more than in most weeks.
Colonial features the three-hole Horrible Horseshoe, a cutesy little nickname that sounds more like a character in children's book than one of the most treacherous stretches on Tour. It's a bit of a letdown that it comes so early in the round. Still, Nos. 3-5 are in fact brutal, with two par-4s that exceed 480 yards sandwiching a nearly 250-yard par-3. There are only two par-5s on the par-70 track, including the opening hole at 565 yards. The other is the mammoth 635-yard 11th. Aside from the Horrible Horseshoe, there is only one other par-4 over 450 yards. There are five under 410 yards, though none is drivable.
Weather-wise, thunderstorms were in the forecast for Tuesday, but otherwise the golfers are in for a very hot and largely windy week. Temperatures will warm into the 80s on Thursday, then the 90s the rest of the week. And the wind will start blowing into the 20s mph on the weekend.
Fun Colonial factoid: CBS announcer Ian Baker-Finch won two PGA tour events in his career: the 1991 Open Championship and the 1989 Southwestern Bell Colonial.
Key Stats to Winning at Colonial
The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance.
• Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee/Driving Accuracy
• Strokes Gained: Approach/Greens in Regulation
• Strokes Gained: Putting
• Par-4 Efficiency 350-400, 400-450 yards
Eight of the 10 most recent champions listed above are in the field, excluding only Adam Scott and Boo Weekley. Seven times in the past 11 years the winner has been between 12- and 15-under, Kokrak at 14-under, Berger at 15-under and Na at 13-under. When Rose won at 20-under, the wind was especially calm, certainly an anomaly for Texas. Not many long hitters have won here, but Kokrak certainly did, and he led the field in driving distance. No other top finisher last year was in the top-10. Kokrak also ranked fourth in accuracy off the tee, which is a mighty impressive combination. He was great all the way around, ranking second in greens in regulation, second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and seventh in Strokes Gained: Putting. Those stats will win a tournament 95 percent of the time, maybe 98, and it's curious he won by only two shots over Spieth. For his part, Spieth ranked fourth in the field in SG: Putting and, if he putts like that again with the rest of the way his game is going, he should be right there again on Sunday. Two years ago, both Berger and playoff loser Collin Morikawa ranked inside the top-5 in the field in both SG: Approach and Tee-to-Green. All this info confirms that Colonial is really a second-shot golf course. With greens averaging only about 5,000 square feet, it will be a challenge to find the putting surface. Historically, you have had to putt well here to win – either that or outstanding iron shots make putting easier. With only two par-5s, including that 635-yarder that is among the harder par-5s on Tour, par-4 scoring is accentuated. Experience matters at Colonial. Only two of the past 20 winners – Berger and Spieth – have been under 30 years old. Golfodds.com put the over/under on the winning score at 268.5, which would be 11.5 under par.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap
Tier 1 Values
Collin Morikawa - $10,700 (Winning odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook: +1200)
We're bypassing Scottie Scheffler ($11,200) and Justin Thomas ($11,000) and turning to Morikawa, who is coming off a bad PGA Championship in which he tied for 55th. He was off for five weeks prior, and that's a bit perplexing. We're thinking a second straight week of golf will actually help him. Morikawa is off a little from last season's stats, but he's still ranked top-10 in both SG: Off-the-Tee and Approach. If his iron game is on, he won't have to rely much on his subpar wedge play. Morikawa was runner-up to Berger here two years ago and T14 last year.
Jordan Spieth - $10,400 (+1200)
Spieth's surprisingly bad week at the PGA won't hurt his ownership levels, which should be sky-high. That's what what happens when you have a win and three runners-up at a tournament and you're Jordan Spieth. There are four golfers in the field who are ranked in the top-25 in both par-4 efficiency stats – 350-400 and 400-450 – and Spieth is one of them.
Viktor Hovland - $10,000 (+2000)
Hovland has played here once before, which is one of many things we are looking for this week: course familiarity. He tied for 23rd two years ago. If Hovland could only improve his wedge play, the rest of his game is good enough for him to No. 1 in the world. The good news for him is, just like Morikawa, if his iron game is on this week, he'll be able to keep shots around the green to a minimum.
Sam Burns - $9,700 (+3500)
As mentioned in the Spieth blurb, there are four players ranked in the top-25 in both par-4 efficiency 350-400 and 400-450 yards. Burns is another. He is coming off a quiet top-20 at the PGA Championship, and isn't far removed from his most recent win at the Valspar. One of the few things lacking in Burns' game is driving accuracy. He's not terrible, more middle of the pack. And with driver often left in the bag, he should be just fine. This will be Burns' third go-round at Colonial.
Tier 2 Values
Abraham Ancer - $9,300 (+4000)
Ancer has not been great this season. He's been making cuts, just without high finishes – until his tie for ninth at the PGA. And if you can get around Southern Hills while ranking outside the top-200 in SG: Around-the-Green, you certainly can do it at Colonial. Ancer has made all four of his Charles Schwab cuts, with twin T14s the past two years.
Daniel Berger - $9,000 (+3500)
Berger has been kind of quiet this season. He hasn't really contended for a title – if you want to say the Honda, we'll allow it – but he does have a pair of top-5s and three top-25s. He's the third of four guys ranked top-25 in both Par-4 350-400 and 400-450. Berger beat Morikawa in a playoff here two years ago, then followed that up with a top-20 in his title defense.
Billy Horschel - $8,500 (+3500)
Horschel did not have a good Masters or a good PGA, but he rarely does well in majors. In between, he tied for 21st at Harbour Town, a track with some of the same traits as Colonial. Horschel has made every cut in four visits to the Charles Schwab, albeit with only one top-20. His numbers this season – 20th in driving accuracy, top-50 in GIR, 15th in SG: Putting – suggest a better result could happen this time around.
Kevin Na - $8,100 (+3500)
The 2018 winner also finished fourth here in 2017, and Na professes his love for playing Colonial. That's because it's a course where he can compete with his lack of distance off the tee, as he's averaging a mere 290 yards. Na is coming off top-25s at both the Masters and PGA, and in between he just missed another with a T26 at Hilton Head.
Tier 3 Values
Chris Kirk - $7,900 (+6000)
Kirk had been in a down period before turning in a career-best effort in a major, tying for fifth at the PGA. And now he's coming to a tournament where he won in 2015 and has never missed a cut in 11 starts. Kirk is ranked seventh on Tour in par-4 350-400 and is top-50 in the 400-450 variety.
Brian Harman - $7,800 (+6500)
Harman has excelled at Colonial through the years, with three top-10s and three more top-25s in the past eight years. He tied for eighth last year. He's made 10 of 12 cuts so far in 2022, including last week at the PGA. Harman is ranked 11th on Tour in driving accuracy.
Justin Rose - $7,700 (+6500)
We come to the fourth player in the field who is ranked in the top-25 in both par-4 efficiency stats. Which makes perfect sense for someone who won here in 2018, was third in 2020 and 20th a year ago. Rose is coming off a good week, a tie for 13th at the PGA that nudged the 41-year-old closer to getting back in the top-50 of the world rankings, at 56th.
Maverick McNealy - $7,500 (+7000)
McNealy has not missed a cut in seven months, so no matter the course, no matter his strengths and weaknesses, he adapts his game. His two biggest issues are driving accuracy, which we believe can improve this week when laying off the driver, and SG: Around-the-Green, which is not a prominent stat this week. McNealy hasn't missed a weekend in three trips to Colonial, topping out at T20 last year.
Adam Long - $6,900 (+10000)
When we get down to the Long Shots, we usually come across guys whose stats are lacking. Long, like other guys below him here, usually starts at a disadvantage with his short driving distance. But that's not the case at Colonial, where he's turned in top-20s two of the past three years. Long tied for 12th at the Heritage last month and was T15 at Mexico. He is ranked 17th on Tour in SG: Putting and a surprising 54th in SG: Total.
Lucas Glover - $6,700 (+15000)
Glover is downright elite with top-20 rankings in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation. He's the exact opposite of elite closer to the hole, ranking outside the top-150 in SG: Around-the-Green and almost 200th in SG: Putting. But he managed to record a top-10 here last year and a top-25 the year before that. Plus he's coming off a top-25 at the PGA. Glover has missed only three of 13 cuts so far in 2022.
Tyler Duncan - $6,300 (+40000)
We've turned to Duncan a few times at short courses. He's 10th in driving accuracy, 40th in greens in regulation and recently tied for 12th at Harbour Town. Duncan has played Colonial twice and made both cuts, with a best of T38 two years ago.
Robert Streb - $6,000 (+30000)
This one caught our eye. Streb is not a great golfer, that we know. But a $6,000 golfer? The lowest price possible? That seems a bit much. We could see him priced arund $6,300. Streb misses more cuts than he makes, but he made it to the weekend recently at the Heritage and the Valspar. Perhaps most notably, he's made six straight cuts at Colonial.