Weekly Preview: Charles Schwab Challenge

Weekly Preview: Charles Schwab Challenge

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial CC
Fort Worth, TX

The PGA Tour heads to Fort Worth for the latest edition of the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Before we get to that, a few words on last week's PGA Championship. Isn't it amazing what pressure can do to a golfer? We see guys crack all the time, and we are never surprised because in golf, there's just so much time to get lost in your own head. Imagine a kicker in the NFL having to wait 10 minutes in between kicks that might determine the outcome of a game? That's essentially what a golfer goes through in the final round of a major when near the lead. You don't have to make all the kicks, but you have to make most of them. Mito Pereira made the bulk of his attempts Sunday, but he sent one wide right at the worst time. With a chance to win, still, he pulled his next one to the left. Another vital kick went wide left, and with a chance to reach overtime he came up short. Those weren't his first errant shots of the day, but they were no doubt the most important. It's no surprise that those pressure kicks came at the end of the round, after waiting four hours just to make them. The buildup of pressure doesn't release until after the game is over, so you either figure out how to handle it, or it explodes in your face. Hopefully Pereira will learn

Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial CC
Fort Worth, TX

The PGA Tour heads to Fort Worth for the latest edition of the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Before we get to that, a few words on last week's PGA Championship. Isn't it amazing what pressure can do to a golfer? We see guys crack all the time, and we are never surprised because in golf, there's just so much time to get lost in your own head. Imagine a kicker in the NFL having to wait 10 minutes in between kicks that might determine the outcome of a game? That's essentially what a golfer goes through in the final round of a major when near the lead. You don't have to make all the kicks, but you have to make most of them. Mito Pereira made the bulk of his attempts Sunday, but he sent one wide right at the worst time. With a chance to win, still, he pulled his next one to the left. Another vital kick went wide left, and with a chance to reach overtime he came up short. Those weren't his first errant shots of the day, but they were no doubt the most important. It's no surprise that those pressure kicks came at the end of the round, after waiting four hours just to make them. The buildup of pressure doesn't release until after the game is over, so you either figure out how to handle it, or it explodes in your face. Hopefully Pereira will learn from that and the next time he's in this spot, there won't be quite as much pressure to deal with.
                              
All odds via golfodds.com as of 6:00 PM ET Tuesday.

LAST YEAR

Jason Kokrak shot a final round 70 on his way to a two-stroke victory over Jordan Spieth.

FAVORITES

Scottie Scheffler (12-1)

Even though his hot streak is over, Scheffler is still getting the favorite treatment, which is interesting. It took oddsmakers quite a while to catch up to Scheffler, and now that they have, he's not the golfer he was just a few weeks ago. It turns out that Scheffler, while really good, may not be the next Tiger. He may not be the guy who has already won $10 million this season, but he's still one of the best in the world. As for this week, he's really overpriced. His track record here is awful, and his game now appears to be a bit off at. He's got enough game to win any given week, but at this number there's no value.

Justin Thomas (12-1)

Though it had been a while since his most recent major victory, Thomas still was considered one of the five best golfers on the planet prior to his PGA Championship win. With that said, it was huge for him to get that second major off his back and not have to worry about it anymore. The significance of that win is what worries me this week. Normally I'd expect a guy like Thomas to simply keep chugging along, but it might be hard to come back down to Earth after not only winning another major, but in the way he did it. I'm bearish on him at this rate.

Jordan Spieth (12-1)

I think the fact  these guys are all bunched together at the top plays into a couple narratives. The first I just mentioned, JT may have a hangover this week, the second is the home state narrative when Scheffler and Spieth are playing in Texas. While Scheffler has not proven to be any better in Texas than in other state, Spieth has already shown his mettle in his home state. Spieth's track record at this specific event is very solid, with seven top-10s in nine starts, including one win and three runner-up results.

THE NEXT TIER

Will Zalatoris (20-1)

I noticed a couple things about Zalatoris this past week. The first was the putt he made on the 72nd hole to get into the playoff. At the time, he was still a stroke behind Pereira, but Zalatoris' reaction left no doubt he thought it was to get him into a playoff, which meant that he knew how much was on the line and still nailed it. The second was how he reacted after losing the playoff. He wasn't devastated – quite the opposite, actually. He looked full of confidence, like he had just figured something out. If he did, the rest of the PGA Tour should worry.

Daniel Berger (35-1)

Berger was terrible at the PGA Championship, but in his defense, he was on the wrong side of the weather. It's hard to gauge a golfer's form when playing in conditions like that. This week should be much more pleasant, as the weather is expected to be much better. Berger's form hasn't been great for much of this season, but he's returning to a course where he's had a lot of success. He won this event in 2020 and posted a top-20 here this past year here.

Webb Simpson (35-1)

Did Simpson unlock something with his top-20 finish at the PGA Championship? It wasn't the best result, but it was a good sign that he was able to post two very solid rounds in a major atmosphere. His track record here is all over the place, with two missed cuts and two top-5s in his four most recent starts. If he found something this past week, perhaps we might see another quality result.

LONG SHOTS

Davis Riley (40-1)

The secret is out on Riley – the kid has got some game. Riley has been on quite a run over the past couple months, a stretch that started with a runner-up at the Valspar Championship in late March and continued through the PGA Championship, where he posted a T13. In between he carded three top-10s and missed only one cut. He has never taken part in this event, but that hasn't slowed him at any of his other stops over the past few months, so this price looks pretty appealing.

Justin Rose (60-1)

The drop in Rose's productions over the past couple years seemed a bit abrupt, which makes me think perhaps we saw simply a rough patch and not the end of his viability. He's started to show some signs of life over the past month, and he just might be on his way back up. If that theory is correct, we should see a good effort this week, as this has been one of his better stops throughout his career. Rose has not missed a cut at Colonial in eight tries and he won here in 2018.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Jordan Spieth - He is going to be very popular this week. The only thing holding back his popularity this week is the players who have already used him. He wasn't on top of his game at Southern Hills, but in retrospect, perhaps we expected too much from him on that track. It was a shot-maker's course, but it was also really long, and courses like that aren't exactly the best for Spieth. This week's track sets up better for him, and I expect much better results.

Moderately-owned Pick: Brian Harman - He didn't make the list above, but that doesn't mean he's a poor pick. Harman has excelled on this course over the years, making the cut in 8-of-9 tries and posting three top-10s. Harman should be popular among those who have used a lot of big names to this point in the season, particularly those who Thomas delivered for last week and may want to avoid burning another elite player.

Lightly-owned Pick: Davis Riley - If you're looking to stay away from the big names yet still want a chance at a big payday and perhaps a win, then Riley is your guy. He's on a roll right now and looks destined to pick up a win sometime soon. He's also coming off a performance at the PGA Championship that should boost his confidence moving forward.

Buyer Beware: Collin Morikawa - Morikawa was awful at the PGA Championship. Yes, he made the cut, but he was near the bottom all weekend. His game is just not sharp right now, and although he should be better this week without the inclement weather, I don't think he's anywhere near where he needs to be to contend. He'll figure it out, but I don't expect a massive turnaround right now.

Last Week: Collin Morikawa - T55 - $27,925

Season Total: $7,781,941

This Week: Davis Riley - We are getting to that point in the season where you start to get handcuffed by the selections you've already made. Spieth is my top pick this week, but I no longer have him available. I still have Thomas, but I can't use him after such a big win. Plus, with two majors left, he will be earmarked for one of those. That leaves a few options, and I think Riley is the way to go. His recent play has been as good as, if not better, than anyone else I am considering, so who cares if he's not yet well-established. I took a chance on Cameron Young a few weeks ago and it paid off. I'm hoping for the same here.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Jordan Spieth ($11,400)
Middle Range: Justin Rose ($9,900)
Lower Range: Chris Kirk ($8,700)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Collin Morikawa - T55

Streak: 1

This Week: Justin Rose - While I'm taking a bit of a risk with a lower-ranked player in the OAD format, I want to stick with a more established player in this contest, and Rose fits that bill. He has a great track record here and his game seems to be coming around. Harman would be my next choice here, as well as my backup to Riley in OAD leagues.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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