The three-month coronavirus suspension meant a few PGA Tour events fell by the wayside, leaving the FedEx Cup race lacking its usual number of tournaments, and this week’s inaugural Workday Charity Open has been added to the schedule as a replacement.
In an unprecedented step, PGA Tour chiefs announced back-to-back events at Muirfield Village, Ohio, with the usual Memorial Tournament preceded by the Workday Charity Open.
Jack Nicklaus will host the Memorial as usual next week, but first punters can take in the WCO on the same legendary layout where Tiger Woods and other superstars have enjoyed so much success.
Greenkeepers have said they will be keeping the putting surfaces relatively slow for the WCO, allowing greater variety of pin position, before speeding them up for the Memorial. The rough will also be lighter for the WCO, too, and plenty of birdies should be up for grabs with decent weather forecast for all four competition days.
DeChambeau Leaves Stage Clear for Others
The man of the moment is Bryson DeChambeau, who has been rocketing up the ante-post Majors betting after his three-shot Rocket Mortgage Classic victory on Sunday. However, the Detroit champion is skipping the Workday Charity Open to recharge his batteries ahead of future combat.
The WCO field, though, includes five members of the world’s top ten, including Jon Rahm, who is still desperately seeking the number-one ranking which has so far eluded him.
The Spaniard, sat second in the rankings and
14/1* for victory this week, is joined by Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed for the opening leg of the Muirfield Village double-header.
Tiger Woods is expected to make his eagerly awaited return to action in the Memorial, having not competed since the middle of February, but this week’s focus may fall on
10/1 favourite Thomas and
Both are extremely well suited to Muirfield Village – Cantlay will defend his Memorial title next week – and their post-lockdown form has been encouraging.
Chilean and Canadian May Threaten an Upset
If American duo Thomas and Cantlay, two attractive market principals, fail to sparkle in the WCO, then two international raiders on offer at much bigger odds may take advantage.
Joaquin Niemann at
40/1 and Corey Conners at
80/1 are a pair of talented PGA Tour champions who are well equipped to handle the WCO mission.
Niemann finished sixth on this Memorial debut in 2018, having contended throughout, and the 21-year-old Chilean showed enough in the RBC Heritage last month to suggest he could make a serious impact at Muirfield Village again.
Fifth place at Harbour Town was a strong performance from Niemann, an excellent ball-striker who can struggle with the putter, the slower WCO greens should help.
Conners is a greens-in-regulation machine who may also take a liking to the straightforward WCO dancefloors this week.
The Texas Open champion went to college in Ohio and is good enough to secure a second PGA Tour title there on Sunday.
*All odds correct at time of writing.