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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Allow me to mix in the classic Jim Mora quote with NFL season rolling around…because it is PLAYOFF season on the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour’s Fedex Cup playoff system has been a season ending fixture since 2007, and this years’ postseason has a trimmed field for event number one, making it all the more exclusive to be a part of. We’ll start this week in Memphis with 70 golfers, then the top 50 will advance to week two in Chicago and the top 30 will be part of the privilege payout group that qualifies for the Fedex Cup + Tour Championship in Atlanta. Let the chaos and points calculations begin.
At the regular season wrapper at the Wyndham, Lucas Glover found his way back into the winner’s circle and despite my roster of picks charging into relevancy, it wasn’t in the cards for the PGA Tour vet to win and secure a playoff spot. Now that Glover is in and big names like Justin Thomas have abruptly ended their season, we head to big money postseason play.
TPC Southwind in Memphis, TN is the setting for the top 70 in the Fedex Cup standings that have advanced to the newly shortened field for playoff week one. Southwind is a sneaky difficult track to tame, as bermuda rough swallow offline golf balls, and the par threes like no. 14 are nothing short of brutal to play. At just over 7200 yards it’s now considered an “average length” golf course by PGA Tour Standards, but champions typically remain in the -10 top -15 range when the week is all said and done.
Since it’s playoff time, all of the PGA Tour’s best are in formation with full smiles ready to cash in on their season ending whopper of a paycheck. The top of this week’s betting board in Memphis is led by the big three of Scottie (13-2 odds), Rory (8-1) and Rahm (8-1), then the oddsmakers drop off to Patrick Cantaly, Xander Schauffele and Zviktor Hovland leading the main pack of contenders.
Forecasting The FedEx St. Jude
This course has a history of being an absolute bear of a track and a thorn in the side of many of the world’s best golfers. It’s a bit mysterious what makes Southwind so tricky, but the leading factors are a nagging breeze, it’s sneaky long yardages into greens and speaking of those greens…they are devilish. TPC Southwind is definitely producing a grinder of a champ that’s putting well and good at avoiding big numbers.
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 a player that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
The card at the Wyndham was full of guys who all made the cut but came nowhere near winning the event. Top to bottom it was a solid roster for points purposes with four finishers in the top 20, but in the name of finding outright winners we were nowhere near the cheese. For that reason the grade on the picks is a C for the week heading into the playoffs. Sigh.
(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: Jon Rahm – Not only is he ready to dominate a big boy test like Southwind with his driving as of late, I had a dream he beat me in a Ryder Cup match so it must be fate. Tied for fifth here last year.
2: Viktor Hovland – Played decently here last year, but more importantly he’s showing up on analytic models for a contender that could break through.
3: Rickie Fowler – Not necessarily to hoist the trophy, but to contend here…Rickie’s recent putting success should carry well to tough fast greens.
4: Sepp Straka – The recent PGA Tour winner at the John Deere finished 2nd here last year. Coming so close in his playoff loss to Will Zalatoris – it’s revenge time.
5: Seamus Power – Slightly biased since I just hung out with him for Irish Open media day, but he’s in a good headspace and is very familiar with the course having gone to college in Tennessee. Ready to make a playoff splash.
6: Sahith Theegala – Flying under the radar lately but due to come through on a big stage. His irons and creativity should suit the track nicely.
RYP One and Done Pick: Jon Rahm
Where to watch: The Golf Channel and CBS will finish off our regular season coverage, and Jim Nantz returns to this throne for postseason PGA Tour coverage.
Why to watch: It’s the playoffs, and with the world’s best players in formation and massive payouts on the line, the drama is here to end the season.
What to eat: Memphis is known for great BBQ meat that can get versatile – so take that pulled pork and throw it on some nachos this week.
Purse: $20 million
Winner’s Share: $3.6 million
How do PGA Golf Majors Pools work?
In PGA Golf Majors Pools, member select six golfers to compete on a roster over the course of an event. The member with the best combined score from the six golfers wins.
Can you include all four majors into one pool?
Yes, but your commissioner can also customize these setting with RunYourPool. Pools can include up to all four majors, repicking golfers each time or adding bonus points for finishing positions
How do I assemble a roster?
Golfers are broken up in to six tiers, as members select one golfer per tier to be on their Major roster.
What happens to golfers who miss the cut?
Any PGA Player who does not make the cut will be given the highest score of Round 3 and Round 4, respectively.
What are the four golf majors?
The Masters is the first major of the season, in April. The PGA Championship and the U.S. Open follow, with the British Open ending as the final major.
How do PGA One and Dones work?
Members in a pool select one golfer to win a tournament, but can't pick that golfer again for the rest of the season. The member with the best score at the end of the season wins.
What is a PGA One and Done pool?
A PGA One-and-Done Pool is a contest similar to Survivor Pools, in which members can only select a golfer one time per season for events.
Which tournaments are played for PGA One and Dones?
Pool commissioners can set up the season for as many or as few tournaments as desired. Go crazy and do all of them! Or dial it back for the major events. As commissioner of a RunYourPool contest, you decide which events to play in!
How to run a weekly golf pool?
In order to run a golf pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like One and Done or Pick-X Pools. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.
How do golf Pick-X Pools work?
Members select a certain number of golfers per tournament, set by the pool commissioner. The member earns the total winnings that their selected golfer won for the tournament. Whichever member earns the most winnings over the duration of the season wins.
What is a golf Pick-X Pool?
A Pick-X Golf Pool calculates tournament winnings rather than strokes gained when deciding a winner. This amplifies the big name events that feature a higher prize purse.
How to run a golf pool?
How you decide to run a golf pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.
What is a prop bet?
Prop bets are any sort of pick or wager on a game that has nothing to do with the score or the final score outcome. Props can range from game types, to team types and even player types - such as who will score the game's first and last touchdowns? Other props, such as novelty or exotic, feature bets on things such as the coin flip or the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
How do Masters Prop Bets Pools work?
Pool members simply fill out a wide range of prop questions, each question worth a different value. Commissioners decide on the point value for each question, along with the amount of questions. Whichever member earns the most points based on corret answers wins the pool.
When is the Masters?
The Masters is typically in April and the first major of the golf season. The 2023 Masters is set for Thursday, April 6 and will run until Sunday, April 9.
Where is the Masters played?
The Masters is annually held at the Augusta National Golf Club located in Augusta, Georgia, USA.