Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Bermuda, Bahama, Come on Pretty Winners!
RORY ROARS TO THE TOP
As the fall slowly winds down the 2022 PGA Tour calendar, there are a few more last grabs at FedEx Cup points to get a head start on 2023. Rory McIlroy proved that golf in the fall still very much matters and he wants all those points, as his win at the CJ Cup Sunday vaulted him back to the top of the world ranking for the first time since 2020. Scottie Scheffler’s run as world #1 comes to an end, but not before he delivered a career year and donned a Green Jacket. Rory has been a model of consistency this season, and his ruthless string of top-10 finishes was punctuated with the W at Congaree to get back atop the throne.
From here, the Tour hops across a bit of the Atlantic to the island nation of Bermuda for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Admittedly this is a pass-over event for most top-tier players, so we’re likely digging a little deeper into our bag of names than we usually would for picks. This tournament has a knack for creating weird finishes and unfamiliar winners, so it might be the week to deliver a strange-looking card. It will be quite the contrast from the Rory-Rahm duel we were just treated to.
NEW COURSE VIBES
Port Royal has been and still is the host of this event for its 3-year history, and it’s encapsulated by some memorable oceanside golf. The par 3 16th is an iconic tee shot over what feels like endless blue waters to the green – it’s been often dubbed “the toughest par 3 in golf” when the wind gets whipping properly. There are water and wind vibes at Port Royal that golfers in Florida and coastal regions will recognize that can wreak havoc on the golf ball, and it leads to blow-ups like we’ve seen down the stretch in recent years here. Add in a field of some lesser experienced guys and you have golf drama in paradise. Joining the Bermuda party this year notably are John Daly (yes for real), Harry Higgs, Luke Donald, Seamus Power, and 2021 defending Champion Lucas Herbert. Outside of that, it’s a who’s who of journeymen and up-and-comers in the field.
FORECASTING FOR BERMUDA
The theme resonating through winners and solid performers in this event has been putting and hitting in all types of wind. It takes a special golfer to grind through 5 and 10-footers with heavy gusts off the Atlantic, so I’m looking for guys with history at this event, but also putters who have the game to stay tough when paradise starts to act up this weekend.
I’m prefacing my weekly picks based on exactly what I value the most. With every play I make, I’m always taking into account these factors and for the action in Bermuda, it’s an array of horses with experience, and some rock rollers who may not be on everyone’s radar yet.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top-10 streaks, and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
At the CJ Cup, I had Tyrell Hatton dangling around page 1 of the board, and of course, my boy Taylor Montgomery came through with another top 15…but outside of that, it wasn’t pretty. I thought Scottie would have a better last stand at #1, but that was not the case. The picks were a C+ this past week.
THE SIX PACK OF PICKS
(Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)
1: Seamus Power – A gritty player that can get streaky with the putter, he finished tied for 12th here last year.
2: Alex Smalley – consistently playing weekends as a young pro, Smalley is due for a good week and has trended upwards in recent weeks.
3: Patrick Rodgers – If he gets close to the hole fast enough, he’s always had the rep of being a great putter and comes off of a top 20 at the ZOZO in Japan.
4: Byeong Hun An – Looking for An to foster more of the good play we saw from him 60 days ago, he has a top 5 already under his belt in his 2022-2023 campaign.
5: Brian Gay – The 2020 Champion is in the field so all the good vibes should come his way – a 6800-yard track is perfect for the short-hitting veteran.
6: Nate Lashley – Friend of the Course of Life podcast and a streaky putter, this could be a breakthrough week in paradise.
RYP One and Done Pick: Seamus Power
Where to watch: Golf Channel and Peacock all weekend – we’re going to get lots of inspiration to book that next tropical vacation.
Why to watch: The Bermuda Championship is golf in paradise, pretty easy on the eyes.
What to eat: Quite predictably they love fish in Bermuda – let’s go with crab cakes for the win.
Purse: $6.5 million
Winner’s Share: $1.1 million