Weekly Preview: Charles Schwab Challenge

Weekly Preview: Charles Schwab Challenge

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Preview series.

Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial CC
Fort Worth, TX

The PGA Tour heads to Texas to check in for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Before we get to that, a few thoughts on the PGA Championship. Let's start with Michael Block. We first became aware of Block when he participated in a "walk-and-talk" interview early on in the festivities. At the time, it was a neat little story. After all, a PGA club pro getting an interview during a major is a pretty big deal. Who would have thought that his week would get significantly better from there? If you're reading this, you're probably aware of what happened on the weekend so I won't elaborate, but I will say this -- the Block story is one of the best things that has happened in this game in quite a while.

Now, onto the PGA Championship winner, Brooks Koepka. My biggest takeaway was not that LIV Golf was somehow legitimized -- LIV unquestionably has good players, but their product is not working and I doubt it ever will. Rather, what I garnered is just how little we know about the health of professional golfers. We knew that Koepka dealt with injuries over the past couple years, but I had no idea that those injuries were so debilitating. I was under the assumption that his game had simply started to wane. That's a problem with golf, though -- unless these guys are truly honest with the media, we can never know exactly how they are feeling. Koepka was the best major golfer of the past decade, and his game just disappeared a couple years ago. Now healthy, we have to reassess his status. As recently as two months ago, Koepka looked like a guy who was done at four career majors. But now? Well, he's halfway to 10, and who knows, maybe he gets there. Or maybe his game mysteriously falls off again and we find out a couple years later that he was hampered by something. There's no injury report in golf and there certainly isn't a gaggle of media members chasing guys down like they do in the NFL and NBA. If a player is dealing with an injury, it's often uncertain how he is feeling. 

Look at Daniel Berger -- he's been out for a year and we still have no idea where he's at. The point is, we shouldn't be so quick to make assumptions about the end of one's career or prime. I made one with Koepka and I was proven wrong. I won't be so quick to count someone out the next time around.

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook as of 2:00 PM ET Tuesday.

LAST YEAR

Sam Burns shot a final-round 65 on his way to a playoff victory over Scottie Scheffler.

FAVORITES

Scottie Scheffler (4-1)

Scheffler didn't win the PGA, but for my money he's the best player on the planet right now. He just doesn't disappear. Jon Rahm does sometimes, including last week. Scheffler is always in the mix. Even after an uncharacteristically poor third round Saturday -- one which effectively ruined his chances to win -- Scheffler still navigated his way into second place. As for this week, his odds are nearly too short for me, but he's the best player in the field and he's played well here before. What's not to like?

Jordan Spieth (14-1)

The big question entering the PGA was whether or not Spieth's wrist would hold up. It looked like he was pain-free, but his game didn't appear to be in good shape. His form is not why he's second on the betting board, though. It's his track record here, which is outstanding. Spieth has never missed a cut in 10 starts and has finished top-10 in eight of them. That's an insane 80 percent! Here's the problem, though -- while I expect Spieth to play well at Colonial, I don't think his game is where it needs to be to get on top of this field. So at this price, I'll pass.

Tony Finau (14-1)

I was a little surprised to see Finau open ahead of Viktor Hovland, but perhaps the oddsmakers baked in the hangover that Hovland will likely experience after coming oh-so-close at Oak Hill. The two are listed at the same price as of press time, but I still like Finau. There are no worries about a letdown for him because he was a complete non-factor at the PGA. With that said, it was a major and the conditions are going to be much different this week, so I'm expecting Finau to bounce back. His track record here is fine, with two top-5s in his past four starts. He's certainly in the mix at these odds.

THE NEXT TIER

Justin Rose (25-1)

We know that Rose can contend -- he showed that this past week -- but does he still have the juice to take down a loaded field? That question alone is why he opened at 30-1, but apparently there are plenty of believers. Rose still has the game to hang with anyone, but when it comes to closing there are still some questions. I think he has enough any given week, and this is a course he has won at, so the price might be right.

Sam Burns (28-1)

Burns missed the cut last week by a country mile, but as I just mentioned, that was a major and Colonial is not going to resemble Oak Hill at all, so maybe we just excuse the results of those who did not fare well in New York. Burns is the defending champion here, which would normally give me pause, but he successfully repeated before, so why not again? His price is inflated because of last week's result, so this might be a good opportunity to get value.

Cam Davis (35-1)

We saw Davis late Sunday as he surged into a top-5 spot at the PGA Championship. He was never a threat to win, but the way he finished was impressive. Perhaps he can maintain the momentum and contend once again. His track record here isn't great, but he does have a top-10 to his name.

LONG SHOTS

Kurt Kitayama (60-1)

I'm a little surprised to see Kitayama listed at these odds and not a bit higher on the board, but I'll take the inflated price. Kitayama has already won an elevated event this season and he played his way into a top-5 at the PGA Championship. It's clear he's not satisfied with just one win and he may find another before the year is up.

Eric Cole (100-1)

This guy just keeps popping up with his modified jogging pants that sit around his ankles. He's shown no consistency this season, but when he's on he's a factor. He was in the mix for a minute this past week, so perhaps that will carry over. Cole has just 12 made cuts in 21 starts, but he also has two top-5s. He's got the upside to win out here, so this seems like a good number.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-chosen Pick: Jordan Spieth - I'm not a huge fan of betting on him to win, but there's little doubt he's going to play well, and that's exactly what you are looking for in a OAD selection. I don't think Spieth has been used by much of the OAD community, so he will likely be a popular play this week. Scheffler is an obvious pick, but do you really want to use him at a non-designated event? I'll answer that for you, and the answer is no.

Moderately-chosen Pick: Sam Burns - The missed cut is bound to scare off some selectors, but he is the defending champion, so there will also be plenty people on him. I expect Burns to bounce back and play well, but the questions is, again, do you want to use Burns in a non-elevated event? I guess if you're willing to use Spieth you should be willing to use Burns, but I'm personally going to hold off.

Lightly-chosen Pick: Justin Rose - This is an interesting spot because most non-designated events don't have a field this good, which makes it easier to take a lesser player. With so many solid players in Fort Worth, though, I feel like you need to take someone of Rose's caliber or better. The only question is, will he be a bit too popular after hanging around this past weekend?

Buyer Beware: Si Woo Kim - Kim is not among the favorites, but he's also not that far down the betting board. Given his history here, though, perhaps he should be lower than he already is. Kim has played this event six times and has made just one cut. That's an outrageously poor track record for a player of his caliber. There's obviously something about this course that doesn't suit his eye, so he's hard pass for me.

This Week: Justin Rose - As mentioned earlier, I'm saving Burns for an elevated event, and the same holds true for Spieth. There are a few other options that look enticing, but I think Rose is the play. His game looks good right now, and although he's not at the peak of his powers, he's got the mental capacity to beat out the group of players we will see at Colonial.

Previous Results

TournamentGolferResultEarningsRunning Total
PGA ChampionshipTony FinauT72$26,500$9,649,590
AT&T Byron NelsonAdam ScottT8$277,875$9,623,090
Wells Fargo ChampionshipMatt FitzpatrickT35$99,600$9,345,215
Mexico OpenBrandon Wu3$531,300$9,245,615
Zurich Classic of New OrleansBilly HorschelT11$93,633$8,714,315
RBC HeritageCameron YoungT51$49,133$8,620,682
Masters TournamentScottie SchefflerT10$432,000$8,571,549
Valero Texas OpenMatt KucharT3$525,100$8,139,549
WGC-Dell Technologies Match PlayTyrrell HattonT59$76,500$7,614,449
Valspar ChampionshipAdam HadwinMC$0$7,537,949
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipXander SchauffeleT19$275,000$7,537,949
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardKeith MitchellT24$163,000$7,262,949
The Honda ClassicShane LowryT5$288,120$7,099,949
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa2$2,180,000$6,811,829
WM Phoenix OpenJon Rahm3$1,380,000$4,631,829
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmJoel DahmenT41$31,950$3,251,829
Farmers Insurance OpenJason DayT7$282,750$3,219,879
The American ExpressSungjae ImT18$110,000$2,9327,129
Sony Open in HawaiiCorey ConnersT12$138,908$2,827,129
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsRussell HenleyT30$208,500$2,688,221
The RSM ClassicMackenzie HughesMC$0$2,479,721
Cadence Bank Houston OpenTaylor MontgomeryT57$19,236$2,479,721
World Wide Technology Championship at MayakobaTom HogeMC$0$2,460,485
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipSeamus Power1$1,170,000$2,460,485
THE CJ CUP in South CarolinaRickie FowlerT34$54,180$1,290,485
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPMaverick McNealyT12$222,310$1,236,305
Shriners Children's OpenMatthew NeSmithT2$712,000$1,013,995
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipDenny McCarthyT39$31,995$301,995
Fortinet ChampionshipSahith TheegalaT6$270,000$270,000

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Scottie Scheffler ($12,000)
Middle Range: Cam Davis ($10,100)
Lower Range: Eric Cole ($8,700)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

This Week: Jordan Spieth - As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm not messing around with my streak, so if I have to burn some big names along the way so be it. I'm going with Spieth in this spot, which seems like an obvious play because of his course history. My only concern is the wrist, which potentially could flare up at any moment. Still, if he was able to get through Oak Hill, I think he can do the same at Colonial.

Previous Results

TournamentGolferStreak
PGA ChampionshipXander Schauffele14
AT&T Byron NelsonK.H. Lee13
Wells Fargo ChampionshipRickie Fowler12
Mexico OpenJon Rahm11
Zurich Classic of New OrleansPatrick Cantlay10
RBC HeritageCameron Young9
Masters TournamentScottie Scheffler8
Valero Texas OpenMatt Kuchar7
Valspar ChampionshipSam Burns6
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas5
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardTyrrell Hatton4
The Honda ClassicShane Lowry3
The Genesis InvitationalAdam Scott2
WM Phoenix OpenHideki Matsuyama1
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmMaverick McNealy0
Farmers Insurance OpenLuke List3
The American ExpressAndrew Putnam2
Sony Open in HawaiiHarris English1
The RSM ClassicJason Day0
Cadence Bank Houston OpenRussell Henley0
World Wide Technology Championship at MayakobaBilly Horschel4
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipRussell Knox3
Shriners Children's OpenMatthew NeSmith2
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipDenny McCarthy1
Fortinet ChampionshipChez Reavie0

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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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