What's on Tap: The Sanderson Farms Championship
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Silly Season Sunset?
After two weeks of intense international match play competition between the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup, we need a breather from the intensity. Fortunately, we’re going to be gifted with one last stretch run of PGA Tour stroke play events in the fall that gives off plenty of “silly season” vibes. This week’s Sanderson Farms championship may not have the star-studded field of events earlier on the calendar, but I would contend these are the best weeks to pick winners and walk away on top! So let’s get to forecasting and finding ourselves the winning formula.
As we turn the page to the sunset of the 2023 PGA Tour calendar, I can’t help but recall the ten outright winners given out in these pieces. I’m needing inspiration to find a second gear after a less than desirable Fedex Cup Playoffs stretch of picking, so we’re getting back to the horses for courses and tournament first players that got us winners earlier this year:
Donald Ross Devilish
The Sanderson Farms Championship has been contested at Jackson Country Club for close to a decade, and it’s a classic layout designed by Dondald Ross. If you know one thing about Donald Ross courses, it’s those devilish humpback greens that run off in almost every direction. It’s a calling card feature and it allows for maximum levels of short game chaos, even for the world’s best. Tournament winners are typically in the -15 to -20 range, and there’s historically good performers at this course, but no distinct pattern to what type of player wins here.
This week’s field is headlined by a couple of European Ryder Cup winners in Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard. Now, as of publishing I’m not 100% confident they nurse the celebratory hangover and peg it in the ground on Thursday, but they’re both young enough to recover faster than most of us might, so expect them there.
Forecasting The Sanderson Farms
It’s a wild card to know who wins this week, but this is a really good week to stock up high finishes on your squad and walk a winner. With the history of this event being strong it allows to find some previous high finishers that should glide their way around the course nicely this week. Horses for courses is the mantra this week, let’s not overthink it.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top 10 streaks and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding a player that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
No winner in the bag for my Fortinet Championship picks a few weeks back, but we posted two top ten finishers so it warrants a B- grade overall. Now we focus on finding winners one week at a time, starting here in M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.
The Tier Plays
Tier 1: Emiliano Grillo - I’m not counting on a jetlagged Aberg and Cole doesn't know the course like a PGA Tour vet does - give me Grillo!
Tier 2: Adam Svensson - No one in this tier plays great here, so give me the best short game and putter of the bunch.
Tier 3: Dylan Wu - As an honorary Wu crew member, I’m going with the rested tour pro that played the course last year and is putting well.
Tier 4: Ben Griffin - Stickingloosely with the horses for courses mantra, Griffin seems to finish higher than the others at Jackson CC in recent tries.
Where to watch: The Golf Channel has coverage all week, and don’t be surprised to see a flock of Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans in the crowd…except for Saturday. afternoon.
Why to watch: If you’re looking for a football break, the PGA Tour is in action at a tricky course that has a history of ending in sudden death playoffs.
What to eat: If you’ve never treated yourself to Mississippi Mud Pie, do yourself a favor and get one this week.
Purse: $8.1 million
Winner's Share: $1.46 million
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