Golf in wine country! It’s the most…wonderful time…of the year. Some of my favorite things are intersecting at the Silverado Resort and Spa for the Fortinet Championship, the first tournament of the new PGA TOUR season. The President’s Cup is a week away at Quail Hollow, and some notable names on the US and International Team are in attendance. Let’s see how they fare in the first power rankings of the season.
Starting at the top are two golfers who could exceed expectations: Maverick McNealy and Taylor Pendrith. McNealy has been waiting at the proverbial red velvet rope to get into the Winner’s Club but has fallen short a couple of times, twice in California and once at this event. The big-hitting Canadian was fantastic last season and comes into this week ranking first in strokes gained: total and second in ball striking over the previous 24 rounds. His mix of off-the-tee prowess and putting efficiency put him inside the top 3 this week. Pendrith will join his International teammates next week at Quail Hollow, which could easily be with a victory in tow.
How much is Hideki Matsuyama worth this week? What I mean by that is at what number would you bet him? I’m not entirely convinced he’s thinking much about this week other than to see what kind of ‘golf shape’ he’s in before the President’s Cup. Could he win? Absolutely. I don’t doubt his talent, especially in this field. Still, with multiple first-time winners at this event and a potential warmup event for ‘Deki, I’ll happily pass and move him down a touch compared to what he is in the betting odds this week.
Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Champ should be higher up on the betting board this week with how well they set up. Rodgers, the Stanford product, is well suited for this event, going bogey-free on the weekend last season en route to a top-10. Champ won this event in 2019 and finished top 20 or better in two of his previous three starts. He’s gained off-the-tee in nine of his last 10 measured events and is well suited for Silverado.
Carl Yuan also makes the top-25 list this week and is a golfer to watch throughout the year. The winner of the regular season points list on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, Yuen can fill up the scorecard with birdies, averaging just over 4.5 per round last season. His game is well suited for Silverado, and he should feel comfortable on a course he can utilize his driver, especially on the four par 5s.
PGA TOUR Power Rankings
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