Weekly Preview: Charles Schwab Challenge

Weekly Preview: Charles Schwab Challenge

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial CC
Fort Worth, TX

The PGA Tour heads back to Texas with the "Never-had-a-Major-Winner-Over-50" era in the rearview mirror. I generally use most of this space to look forward, but when Phil Mickelson does something that the game has never seen, I feel obligated to take a quick look back. As for the performance itself, well, there's not much I can add to what's already been said. This wasn't an example of everyone else falling flat and Mickelson emerging as a lucky winner. He was the best player all week. He had an enormous amount of pressure on him for most of the weekend and never faltered. Yes, he had some iffy moments, some moments where you wondered if he would crumble but he always bounced back. It was an amazing performance by most accounts. He was -165 to MISS the cut, and yet there he was, on the weekend, in the lead, battling Brooks Koepka on Sunday afternoon. It's something we'll likely never see again. Maybe another 50-year-old will win a major, but he won't be Phil and he won't be battling the best major player of the past decade. Treasure this memory.

Now, onto this week, it's back to the grind. We've got a lot of course history, so that's something to be excited about, even if the play on the course will lack as much punch as it did at Kiawah Island.

LAST YEAR

Daniel Berger shot a final-round 66 on his way

Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial CC
Fort Worth, TX

The PGA Tour heads back to Texas with the "Never-had-a-Major-Winner-Over-50" era in the rearview mirror. I generally use most of this space to look forward, but when Phil Mickelson does something that the game has never seen, I feel obligated to take a quick look back. As for the performance itself, well, there's not much I can add to what's already been said. This wasn't an example of everyone else falling flat and Mickelson emerging as a lucky winner. He was the best player all week. He had an enormous amount of pressure on him for most of the weekend and never faltered. Yes, he had some iffy moments, some moments where you wondered if he would crumble but he always bounced back. It was an amazing performance by most accounts. He was -165 to MISS the cut, and yet there he was, on the weekend, in the lead, battling Brooks Koepka on Sunday afternoon. It's something we'll likely never see again. Maybe another 50-year-old will win a major, but he won't be Phil and he won't be battling the best major player of the past decade. Treasure this memory.

Now, onto this week, it's back to the grind. We've got a lot of course history, so that's something to be excited about, even if the play on the course will lack as much punch as it did at Kiawah Island.

LAST YEAR

Daniel Berger shot a final-round 66 on his way to a playoff victory over Collin Morikawa.

FAVORITES

Jordan Spieth (10-1)

Spieth didn't live up to expectations at the PGA Championship, but that's okay. It was a long course and it didn't really suit his game. He's back on a track that he can dominate, and all signs point to him spending another weekend in contention. Spieth has only won this event once in eight tries, but he's never missed the cut and he's carded six top-10s. He'll be in the mix at Colonial, but will he win? The odds aren't providing much value, but he's still a good play at this number.

Justin Thomas (12-1)

Thomas was among the favorites this past week, and unlike Spieth, Thomas' performance was a bit of a letdown. Thomas posted a pair of 75s and failed to make the cut. It's fair to wonder where his game is at right now, and I don't want to overreact to a poor performance at a major. Thomas has just one start here, but it resulted in a top-10 last year. Though he's liable to get it going again soon, his odds don't provide enough value this week.

Collin Morikawa (14-1)

Morikawa is another golfer that was noticeably absent at the PGA Championship. However, he returns to a spot where he posted a runner-up finish last year, which is why he's among the favorites. That and he's just one of those guys now that when he's in the field, he's going to be among the top options. He's won at such a fast pace in his career that a lot is expected of him now. It'll be interesting to see how he handles that. As for this week, I'm not a fan of his odds. I'd need something closer to 20-1.

THE NEXT TIER

Abraham Ancer (20-1)

When Ancer was in the midst of posting his 65 during the final round of the PGA Championship, it was the first sign that the course was there for the taking. No one else could match his number, though, as that score held up as the best round of the week. Ancer enters this week on a roll after that fantastic round, but he will have to adjust his game on a shorter course. Though he struggled in his first two starts here, he started to figure it out last year, posting a T14.

Tony Finau (20-1)

Finau has been hit-or-miss these past few months, but when he's been on, he's been awfully good. It started at the Genesis Invitational in February, where he probably should have won, but he didn't let that deter him as he posted a T10 at the Masters and a T8 at the PGA Championship this past week. He's also mixed in a couple missed cuts during that span, so it's hard to predict which version we'll get. The problem with Finau has been his ability to close. One of these weeks he's going to do it, though, and wouldn't it be great to be holding that win ticket?

Brian Harman (40-1)

Harman was on quite a run entering the PGA Championship, and while his hot streak was cut short, I don't think there's anything wrong with his game. Harman was never going to thrive on a super-long course, so the fact he missed the cut this past week doesn't bother me at all. I'm going to focus on the five consecutive top-20s that he posted prior to this past week and the fact that Colonial suits his shorter game just fine.

LONG SHOTS

Billy Horschel (50-1)

I'm a little surprised to see Horschel this far down the odds chart. He won earlier this year and played pretty well this past week at the PGA. His track record here isn't great, but it isn't bad either. Horschel has made the cut in all three of his starts, with his best showing being a T19 in 2019.

Kevin Streelman (60-1)

Streelman's track record at this event leaves a lot to be desired, but if you followed golf last summer you will recall that when he gets going, he's good for weeks. If you were watching this past week, it sure looks like he's got it going right now, and if he's locked in, this number seems like a very nice price.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Jordan Spieth - For any OAD players that haven't used him yet, this is probably the best remaining spot to use Spieth...unless you are still saving him for a major. Spieth wasn't his best this past week at the PGA Championship, but he showed glimpses, and he's got a great shot to wind up in the winner's circle. If you still have him, this is the week to use him.

Moderately-owned Pick: Brian Harman - There are a lot of big names in the field, but I'm expecting Harman to draw some attention because of how well he played leading up to the PGA. With that, Colonial's lack of length and Harman not relying on distance off the tee, he seems like a perfect fit this week.

Lightly-owned Pick: Patrick Reed - Reed is in the second group just behind the favorites, but I feel like he will be under the radar, as we haven't heard much from him lately. His track record here is pretty good, but he's missing the high-end finishes that would grab more attention from the OAD crowd.

Buyer Beware: Phil Mickelson - I hate to do it to him, but there's no way that Phil plays well this week. If he does, it might be as impressive as what he just pulled off. Lefty put everything he had into that win, and although it looked fairly easy, you know at his age he had to find an extra gear to wind up on top. I can't imagine he has anything left in the tank.

Last Week: Bryson DeChambeau - T38 - $42,000

Season Total: $3,979,363

This Week: Tony Finau - All things being equal, I would have taken Spieth in this spot, but I used him a couple weeks ago. My decision then came down to Finau or Ancer. I chose Finau because he has a better track record and, quite honestly, I've got a feeling about him this week. I'm hoping my hunch is the start of something big, because I haven't had many this season and my record has been pretty bad. Let's hope this is where I turn it around.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Jordan Spieth ($12,300)
Middle Range: Brian Harman ($10,100)
Lower Range: Zach Johnson ($8,000)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Rory McIlroy - T49

Streak: 3

This Week: Zach Johnson - Johnson once owned this event, and while he hasn't performed at a high level here in a few years, he has still made the cut in 13 of his 15 appearances. Yes, the two missed cuts came within the past three years, but that was also a time where he completely lost his game. He's not the Johnson of old anymore, but he's playing better now than he was during that stretch a few years ago.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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