DJ Absence Worrying Ahead of Masters

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The Zozo Championship is next up on the PGA Tour and a change in venue makes for an enthralling tournament!

Dustin Johnson

Johnson Remains Sidelined

Dustin Johnson is still suffering from a lack of energy in the wake of coronavirus and the world number one faces a race against time to find top gear again for the Masters at Augusta next month.

The giant Carolinian tested positive for Covid-19 in the build-up to last week’s CJ Cup in Las Vegas, withdrawing from the Shadow Creek event and going into quarantine, and he has not sufficiently recovered to take his place in the 78-man line-up for the Zozo Championship.

The inaugural Zozo was staged in Japan last year, but the worldwide pandemic has convinced PGA Tour chiefs to move it to Sherwood Country Club, California for this edition. Sherwood was home to the World Challenge from 2000 to 2013 – and Tiger Woods won on the course five times.

Woods, who has been struggling for fitness and form this year, is a 30/1 chance for a successful Zozo title defence. The Sherwood greens were renovated in 2016, so his course advantage may be overplayed.

The betting community will be assessing the condition of Johnson when he finally reappears, which is scheduled to be the Houston Open, the week before the Masters.

Schauffele Still Popular

Xander Schauffele blew another fantastic opportunity to end his victory drought on Sunday, but he continues to see support whenever he tees it up.

Schauffele closed the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek with a bogey six at the 16th hole, a par three at the 17th and a par five at the 18th, a miserable stretch which allowed Jason Kokrak to land a maiden PGA Tour success.

Schauffele has not won since the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the start of last year and he is on a streak ever since of regularly finishing second or third. Formbook students love the fact he is getting into contention so often though – his last three outings have yielded results of 2-5-2 – and the 10/1 for the Zozo Championship will do for plenty.

Rahm Must be Respected

Jon Rahm turned up at the CJ Cup last week complaining of being rusty on the greens – he had not competed since the US Open and the courses near his home were not in a good enough state for him to practice. The undulating Shadow Creek dancefloors were not ideal for the Spaniard to get his putting stroke in order and he finished 60th of the 78 runners in the putting statistics.

Rahm still managed to finish 17th in the tournament though – his swing was in good order – and there is every reason to expect him to contend at Sherwood. The five par-fives at this layout will allow Rahm to open his shoulders and get his favourite club – the driver – in his hands.

He can be expected to make mincemeat of the long holes and 9/1 could look a juicy price come Sunday night. The first two PGA Tour titles of Rahm’s career came in California.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Steve has been a Racing Post columnist, golf tipster and punter for most of his working life. One of the most well-known tipsters in the country, his columns featuring golf betting tips have been must read material for years.

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