Tiger out, but Rory part of loaded field for Charles Schwab Challenge

Rory McIlroy in action at the 2020 Players Championship
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Ricky Dimon

Golf · 2 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Cue Allen Iverson voice: we’re no longer talkin’ about practice. We’re no longer talkin’ about exhibitions.

We’re talkin’ about the real thing. We’re talkin’ about official PGA Tour tournaments.

The Taylor Made Relief event (featuring Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and Matthew Wolff) and—especially—The Match: Champions for Charity (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady) were all well and good. “The Match” was even great, in fact. But made-for-television fundraisers are now a thing of the past and PGA Tour action is ready to resume following a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus crisis.

It returns this coming week with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Tex. This year’s installment of the event at Colonial Country Club benefits from the extra intrigue as the first one back from an unprecedented break in golf, but in its own right this is a strong tournament. Dating back to 2000, champions include Mickelson (twice), Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, and Zach Johnson (twice). Kevin Na triumphed last year, breaking away from the rest of the challengers to the tune of a four-stroke victory over Tony Finau.

Highlighting an impressive 2020 field are McIlroy, Mickelson, Johnson, Fowler, Spieth, Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, and Jon Rahm. Woods confirmed earlier this week that he will not be participating. The reigning Masters winner could potentially return at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C. beginning June 18.

McIlroy is a +800 favorite to win the tournament. The Northern Irishman is followed by Rahm (+1000), Thomas (+1600), Webb Simpson (+1800), Bryson DeChambeau (+2200), Johnson (+2500), Koepka (+2500), and Fowler (+2800).

Although Woods is not participating next week in Texas, he will undoubtedly be headlining the next “Match” against Mickelson. And, for golf fans, it is not too early to start thinking about it. In fact, Mickelson himself is already putting plenty of thought into it.

“I think you could showcase guys like [Stephen] Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents, and have great personalities,” the lefty suggested. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”

According to the oddsmakers, Mickelson’s first two nominations in the previous statement are considerable favorites to partake. Jordan is a -150 favorite to partner Woods in the 2021 contest, while Curry is a -150 choice to team up with Mickelson.

Be sure to check out our daily golf expert picks starting early next week before the Charles Schwab Challenger begins on Thursday.

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