Charles Schwab Challenge opening odds and picks
The PGA Tour resumes next week with the Charles Schwab Challenge, the first tournament since the season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The field that will take on Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth still needs to be confirmed, but it promises to be highly competitive. Let's look at the some of the big names that could contend, as well as one very intriguing longshot.
Odds to win the Charles Schwab Challenge
|Player||Odds to win|
Rory McIlroy (+650)
Rory McIlroy has essentially been in contention at every event he’s played in this season, with top-10 finishes in each of the six events he’s teed off in. His 2019-20 season includes a win at the World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions in November, and three third-place finishes.
The top-ranked golfer in the world, McIlroy is now the favorite to win at Colonial next week with odds of +650 at BetAmerica.
McIlroy had been on a remarkable stretch prior to the suspension of play, and one of the variables to consider will be how the best players in the world adjust to such a lengthy time off from competitive golf.
McIlroy teed up with Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Matthew Wolff in the 2020 TaylorMade Driving Relief event a few weeks ago, but there should be a significant difference between playing in a skins game for charity, and teeing up against the best in the world following a lengthy layoff from tournament play.
This will also be McIlroy’s first appearance at Colonial Country Club, a Par 70, 7,209-yard course.
Big names that could provide good value
Brooks Koepka (+2200)
How often are you going to get Brooks Koepka at pre-tournament odds of +2200 to win? This has so far not been a great season for the former top-ranked golfer. The results have been down, and he’s had to battle through an excruciating knee injury, as well.
Koepka was a dominant force last season with three victories and nine top-10 finishes in 21 events played.
This year, however, his best finish was a tie for 43rd at the Genesis Invitational in February. He has missed the cut in two PGA Tour events and had to withdraw from the CJ Cup due to his ailing knee.
What impact will three months off have on Koepka’s knee, and could the rest from tournament play be beneficial? At some point, you have to believe Koepka will, at the very least, return to contender status and it could happen next week.
Koepka finished second in his last appearance at Colonial two years ago. He had his putter working that weekend, particularly on Sunday, as he finished with 2.1 strokes gained putting.
Marc Leishman (+2800)
Marc Leishman was enjoying a nice start to the 2020 season, with a win and three top-10 finishes in nine events. That included a second-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March just prior to the PGA's suspension.
Leishman has played in seven events at Colonial during his career, making the cut each time. His best result was a 13th-place finish in 2016, but he hasn’t played this course since 2017.
Tee to green, Leishman is ranked 15th in strokes gained, and ranked a scorching fifth in strokes gained on approach to green. In his two best finishes this season, however, his putter was activated to an elite level.
There has been a lot to like about Leishman’s game so far this year. He will need the flatstick working again this weekend at Colonial.
Justin Rose (+4000)
Justin Rose was in the midst of a difficult stretch prior to the pandemic, missing the cut in three of the last four PGA Tour events he played in. So far in 2020, Rose is ranked 193rd in strokes gained off the tee, 167th in strokes gained on approach to green, and 200th in total strokes gained. It’s been a struggle in every way possible.
In 2019, when he posted one victory and seven top-10 finishes, Rose ranked 21st in stroked gained on approach to green, 17th in strokes gained putting, and 13th in total strokes gained.
Rose is reportedly expected to have new equipment in his bag when he tees up at Colonial.
Despite his struggles this year, Rose was a winner at Colonial two years ago. Perhaps new clubs and returning to a course he’s won at previously will help get him back on track.
Most intriguing longshot
Ryan Palmer (+6600)
Ryan Palmer is a long shot to win this event with odds of +6600 at BetAmerica, but let’s consider his familiarity with this course.
Palmer has four top-10 finishes in 16 career events played at Colonial, including a sixth-place finish at the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge. The fact he’s been in contention on multiple occasions at this course should intrigue bettors.
He’s also a member at Colonial. He knows this course very well, which may provide him with an early advantage in the tournament.
Contending for a victory will come down to putting. In 2016 when Palmer finished third at Colonial, he hit a whopping 75% of greens in regulation through four rounds, but lamented an inability to make putts at critical times in the final round.