Weekly Preview: Palmetto Championship

Weekly Preview: Palmetto Championship

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

Palmetto Championship at Congaree

Congaree Golf Club
Ridgeland, SC

The PGA Tour heads back to South Carolina as we get yet another look at a new course. This course won't stay in the rotation with this being a one-year event that temporarily replaces the RBC Canadian Open, but it's in there this year and there won't be any course history to lean on. 

With the U.S. Open next week, the field this week is not very strong, but we do have some firepower at the top. Unfortunately, that consists of guys that aren't anywhere near peak form right now. In addition, we always have to be wary of golfers looking past this event to the upcoming major. While 95 percent of the field is interested in winning this event, there is a small percentage that are more concerned with getting a final tune-up in. With that in mind, it's probably wise to stay away from the big names, as anything resembling a poor start might lead to them looking past the task at hand. For everyone else, though, every week is a big opportunity, so I wouldn't expect more than a handful of guys to have their eyes on Torrey Pines.

FAVORITES

Dustin Johnson (8-1)

Johnson's play lately does not warrant these odds, but his name still carries a lot of weight with the betting public, so he has to be among the favorites when there aren't many other elite players in the field. Johnson is certainly a guy that

Palmetto Championship at Congaree

Congaree Golf Club
Ridgeland, SC

The PGA Tour heads back to South Carolina as we get yet another look at a new course. This course won't stay in the rotation with this being a one-year event that temporarily replaces the RBC Canadian Open, but it's in there this year and there won't be any course history to lean on. 

With the U.S. Open next week, the field this week is not very strong, but we do have some firepower at the top. Unfortunately, that consists of guys that aren't anywhere near peak form right now. In addition, we always have to be wary of golfers looking past this event to the upcoming major. While 95 percent of the field is interested in winning this event, there is a small percentage that are more concerned with getting a final tune-up in. With that in mind, it's probably wise to stay away from the big names, as anything resembling a poor start might lead to them looking past the task at hand. For everyone else, though, every week is a big opportunity, so I wouldn't expect more than a handful of guys to have their eyes on Torrey Pines.

FAVORITES

Dustin Johnson (8-1)

Johnson's play lately does not warrant these odds, but his name still carries a lot of weight with the betting public, so he has to be among the favorites when there aren't many other elite players in the field. Johnson is certainly a guy that could be looking ahead to the U.S. Open, as he has plenty of things that he needs to work in order to be ready and is here because he is from South Carolina and is sponsored by RBC. He'll need to get off to a good start to stay focused, and even with that, I don't like these odds.

Brooks Koepka (8-1)

It's now Koepka's turn to get harassed by Bryson DeChambeau supporters. Wait, are there any of those? The drama between those two guys has been entertaining, but I expect both to be focused on golf next week. As for this week? Well, it's always a risky play backing Koepka in a non-major, and this is no exception. I expect him to fine-tune his game for the U.S. Open, and while that could mean he'll be in the mix, there's still no value at this number.

Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1)

Maybe this is one of those situations where a golfer plays well one week later than everyone expected him to? I'm not sure what happened to Fitzpatrick at the Memorial, as everything pointed to a good showing. However, he wound up missing the cut. With that said, he is one of the top players in this week's field and deserves some consideration. With the U.S. Open on deck, I'm expecting Fitzpatrick to do everything possible to get his game back, which means he will probably be in the mix at Congaree.

THE NEXT TIER

Lucas Glover (35-1)

I can't remember the last time this section started with someone at 35-1, but the drop off is steep and most of the players near the top of the odds chart just aren't in good form right now. With no course history to fall back on, it's tough to find reasons to take a lot of these guys. However, Glover is one exception, as he is a Congaree Ambassador and he does have a couple top-10s in the past couple months.

Patton Kizzire (35-1)

This will be quite the litmus test for Kizzire. He comes in 49th in the FedExCup Standings, but his position is due mostly to his results in Texas, where he posted back-to-back T3s. Last week – in Ohio – he missed the cut. One would think that if a golfer plays well enough to post consecutive T3s, his game must be in good shape. So, was it just one tough week on a course that didn't suit his eye, or is he really unable to play outside the Lone Star State?

Ian Poulter (40-1)

The field gets pretty thin awfully quick, so you'll see guys like Poulter with odds a little better than usual. This number is already pretty long, and he'd be much higher if there were just a few more names in attendance. As it is, the odds are long enough to take a shot, as he's coming off a T3 at the Charles Schwab Challenge two weeks ago. It's not much to go on, but that's what we are working with with a new course.

LONG SHOTS

Rafa Cabrera Bello (80-1)

It's been a long time since I had this bad a taste in my mouth while making my picks, but there just isn't much to like. Have I mentioned that already? Cabrera Bello is not an optimal pick, but there's really no such thing this week, so you have to make do. One thing we can say about Cabrera Bello is that his game has looked much better over the past month than it did earlier in the year.

Vincent Whaley (80-1)

Does he have that final gear to make a push? That's the only question, because it seems like making the cut is a foregone conclusion. Whaley enters this week on a string of 10 consecutive made cuts, and while he has only two top-20s in those starts, he's managed to play fairly well on the weekend, with only one finish coming outside the top 40. If he keeps giving himself a chance, he's going to find a top-5 soon – or maybe even a win.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Brooks Koepka - When I first started my research, I thought there was no way Koepka would be a popular play because of his tendency to not show up for non-majors and, you know, the U.S. Open is next week. However, after going through the other options, I'm starting to come around on this pick. I won't be using him, but considering the alternatives, I can't argue with anyone going this route.

Moderately-owned Pick: Matt Fitzpatrick - For most OAD players, the player they go with this week will be someone they can live without the rest of the season. Fitzpatrick may have some value down the road, but I doubt anyone has held onto him this long to use at a major. He's coming off a poor showing, which at time can be a good thing with pride on the line.

Lightly-owned Pick: Vincent Whaley - Looking at the other options, perhaps he won't be lightly used, but he's still largely unknown, so I can't imagine he'll be on a lot of teams. Whaley is a good play for this format, as he's seemingly assured of making the cut and plays fairly well on Saturdays and Sunday, so he should produce something around a top-20. If he happens to put it all together, then who knows, maybe something special happens this week.

Buyer Beware: Dustin Johnson - If Koepka is using this event as a tune-up then DJ could win this thing with his eyes closed. I say "could" because he's got more talent than anyone in the field, and with the exception of Koepka, it's not really close. However, there are two things working against him, and that's his focus and his form. He could put it together out of the blue of course, but I doubt his focus will be on Congaree unless he finds himself in good position heading into the weekend.

Last Week: Matt Fitzpatrick - MC - $0

Season Total: $4,048,001

This Week: Vincent Whaley - That's right, I'm doing it! I leaned on a couple reasons to make this pick. First, as mentioned several times already, there just aren't many good options. Second, the golfers who look like good options are most likely gearing toward the U.S. Open. I want a guy who is in good form and will put everything he has into this tournament, and that's Whaley.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Matt Fitzpatrick ($11,700)
Middle Range: Ian Poulter ($10,600)
Lower Range: Vincent Whaley ($9,200)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Corey Conners - T53

Streak: 5

This Week: Vincent Whaley - Two months ago I didn't even know who this guy was, and now I'm doubling up on him. Yeah, I know, it's a recipe for disaster, but survivor picks during events like this are extremely tough because you have no idea who wants to be here. Throw in a new course and you are dealing with all kinds of unknowns. I'm going to go with the guy who has made 10 consecutive cuts. I don't care that he's still an unknown quantity.

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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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