There’s a new sheriff in town. Will Zalatoris’ win in the FedEx St Jude Championship saw him leapfrog Scottie Scheffler to the top of the FedEx Cup standings.
After near misses in majors and a string of top-10 finishes, Zalatoris got over the line to beat Sepp Straka in a play-off at TPC Southwind.
He now lines up as the hunted rather than the hunter, and it will be intriguing to see how he copes with being a winner. The way he reacted on the 18th at TPC Southwind after holing a 12-footer from left to right to get into the play-off suggested he will relish the challenge.
BMW Championship
Cantlay defends BMW Championship, Scheffler top seed for Tour Championship
21/08/2022 AT 22:29
Zalatoris has been criticised for his putting, which probably explains why he yelled “what are they going to say now?” after draining the tough putt. It’s unfair to say he is a bad putter. His long and mid-range putting are excellent, but he does look uncomfortable inside 10 feet.
But his putter held up at Southwind, and his power off the tee and excellent iron play will stand him in good stead at this week’s BMW Championship.
It is a new venue for the players this week, with Wilmington Country Club appearing on the PGA Tour for the first time.
There will be some feeling in the dark to an extent, but what is likely to greet players is a long test where accuracy off the tee will be rewarded.
The play-off with Straka was a nerve-jangler, with both doing their best to lose. Zalatoris’ driver was a little wayward at times on Sunday and at 14/1, which is just shy of half the price he was last week, we will happily take a watching brief on the American.
Rory McIlroy is the market leader, but he is a double-figure price after missing the cut last week, and it is enough to tempt us in.
The Irishman ranks high on the list of greatest drivers to play the game, but he was awful at TPC Southwind.
It came as no surprise he was rusty, as McIlroy said he had put the clubs away for some family time after his near miss at the Open.
We’re pretty confident that McIlroy will be sharper off the tee in Delaware this week. If that proves to be the case, his length could enable him to overpower the course.
McIlroy is much improved with his short irons, looks confident on the greens following good work with Brad Faxon, and expect him to make a big FedEx Cup statement this week. 11/1 lures us in.
Accuracy off the tee is going to be vital, and many will be tempted by Tony Finau who has had his ball on a string for weeks. But the bookmakers are well aware of this now and the value has disappeared.
Jon Rahm makes some appeal at 14/1. He became a father for the second time this month, so has had other things to focus on. His golf has not been as razor sharp as recent years, but the issues have come on the greens.
To say Rahm’s putter has been cold is an understatement, but he looked better with short stick in hand on Sunday at TPC Southwind. If that putter heats up, his accuracy off the tee and brilliant iron play could be rewarded.
Zalatoris’ victory last week took him off the list of ‘best player yet to win’ - and that tag has shifted.
Vying for that moniker is Sahith Theegala. The 24-year-old has had a brilliant rookie season, earning almost $3 million, and has been playing superb golf for weeks.
His silky swing makes the game look ridiculously easy. Getting over the line is not easy, just ask Zalatoris, but at 80/1 Theegala makes a decent each-way appeal.
BMW Championship
Morikawa hits two balls in the water, four-putts a green, takes 10 on one hole
21/08/2022 AT 21:00
BMW Championship
'He doesn't seem too happy' - McIlroy throws fan's remote-controlled ball into the water
21/08/2022 AT 15:05