PGA Tour: Barracuda Championship preview
A spot in the U.S. Open is on the line at the Barracuda Championship, where a group of rising PGA Tour players and a few seasoned pros will compete this week.
The event alternate to the star-studded WGC-St. Jude Invitational will feature a field of 132 players, many of whom are searching for their first win on Tour.
Last year, Collin Morikawa notched his first professional victory at the Barracuda, when he beat Troy Merritt, who is a +4000 choice in the 2020 tournament. Morikawa won’t be present to defend his title, as he qualified to battle with the world’s best at the St. Jude.
Barracuda Championship 2020 - Winner
Thu, July 30 2020, 2:00 PM
Although the Barracuda doesn’t feature the same type of star power as this week's WGC event, the tournament provides unique entertainment. The top two finishers, not otherwise exempt, get to play at Winged Foot in the fall, and the tournament is the only one on Tour that uses the Modified Stableford scoring system.
With the Stableford format, players gain or lose points based on strokes taken in relation to par. Unlike most PGA Tour matches, the higher the score, the better at the Barracuda Championship.
Modified Stableford scoring
|Points||Strokes taken in relation to par|
3 strokes under par (albatross)
2 strokes under par (eagle)
1 stroke under par (birdie)
1 stroke over par (bogey)
2 or more strokes over par
This year, Ryan Moore and Russell Henley are the top two favorites in the Barracuda, which will be held at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood course for the first time in the event’s 21-year history.
The par-71, 7,390-yard Jack Nicklaus design features three par 5s, a handful of drivable par 4s, and is located at nearly 6,000 feet above sea level.
The high altitude will help balls travel farther, and with the points-based scoring format, players will attack this course aggressively and chase birdies.
@PGATOUR pros will be hitting the Old Greenwood golf course in THREE days!!— Barracuda Golf (@CudaChamp) July 24, 2020
Who do you think will bring home the #CudaChamp 2020 title?! Get ready to watch the pros finish with a par four that is gently up-hill from tee to green on the 18th hole. pic.twitter.com/ylrFYjjxpR
While there are quite a few unproven players in the field, some established names are in the mix, as well.
Two-time major winner Martin Kaymer (+3300) will make his 2019-2020 Tour debut at the Barracuda. He won the 2010 PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Open, his last victory. Shaun Micheel is the only other major winner in the competition, but the 51-year-old is a massive longshot at +100000.
Another veteran to watch out for is Alex Noren (+2200). The 38-year-old Swede finished third at the 3M Open last week and ranked third in strokes gained putting for the tournament. He is also tied for 25th on tour in eagles per hole, which bodes well for him racking up points at Old Greenwood.
In addition to entry at the U.S. Open, the winner of the Barracuda will collect 300 FedEx Cup points and a share of the tournament’s $3.5 million purse.
You can follow along with the action Thursday through Sunday, from 7-10 p.m., on the Golf Channel.