How bout that ride in? I guess that’s why they call it Sin City. The Tour makes its annual stop in Las Vegas this week for the Shriners Hospital for Children Open as we try to keep the hot hand coming off another profitable week.
Before we get into the thick of things, I want to apologize in advance for the number of Hangover references, but it just feels so right to be betting on a tournament in Las Vegas. The Shriners Hospital for Children Open takes place at TPC Sumerlin and will host the best field we’ve seen since the U.S. Open. The course stretches out to over 7,200 yards and plays to a par 71. This one is going to be another shootout, meaning the irons and the putter will be crucial.
It’s nice to see some of the big dogs coming back into the public spotlight, some with their eyes set on winning a tournament, others hoping to cash in at the blackjack tables. I have a running theory with this tournament about fading those that theoretically enjoy a night out on The Strip – Anthony Kim, Phil Mickelson I’m looking at you.
However, because of the unprecedented times we are in, we can throw my theory into the garbage. I can’t imagine any of the players risking it and possibly contracting COVID-19 just to win some pocket change at the casino. With that in mind, let’s get into this week’s edition of Hot or Not for the 2020 Shriners Hospital for Children Open.
Hot: Matthew Wolff
You know I had to start with the one-man Wolff pack and it’s not without good reason. Players who play well at TPC Sumerlin have the propensity to really fall in love with the course. I don’t see why Wolff can’t become one of those horses for the course. Since the PGA Championship, Wolff has dominated tee to green, gaining nearly 35 strokes on the field over just four tournaments. TPC Sumerlin was kind to Wolff last year and despite losing strokes with his irons, he was still able to finish inside the top-20. I can’t envision Wolff losing strokes with his irons this go around and should like his odds coming into the week.
Hot: Patrick Cantlay
As mentioned above, this course really seems to suit some player’s eyes. If I had to compare Cantlay to a horse, he’d be the Secretariat of TPC Sumerlin. In three appearances, all that he has done is finish 1st, 2nd, and lose in a playoff. That’s a pretty good track record if you ask me. It’s all but guaranteed that Cantlay will strike the ball well, having not lost strokes tee to green since 2019. Yep, he’s gone a full year, albeit a quirky year, without losing strokes in the combined ball striking and around the green department. He knows these greens, he knows the sight lines, and it wouldn’t shock anyone if Cantlay adds another great finish to his Shriners resume.
Not: Rickie Fowler
Rickie could be a sneaky pick for some. He struck the ball very well at the U.S. Open, only to have one of the worst putting performances of his career. I’m not buying it though and think he’ll get rick rolled this week. I still believe there’s a lot that Rickie needs to figure out in his swing and that his performance at Winged Foot was just a flash in the pan. He does hold a good record at The Shriners, posting a 4th in 2018 and a top-25 in 2015. However, when diving deeper into those starts, you can see that he gained nearly 13 strokes on the greens and was just average with the irons. With his current form being so up and down and having to rely on the putter more than he would like, I’ll be looking elsewhere to lose my money.
Not: Scottie Scheffler
I liked Scottie a lot heading into the Sanderson Farms Championship…and boy was I wrong. It wasn’t a horrible week for the heroic, COVID-19 survivor, but it was underwhelming to say the least. What really concerns me about Scottie are his irons. Typically a very solid ball striker, Scottie lost more than three strokes with his irons down in Jackson. He looked disinterested most of the week and the more I watch him more, the more it seems like Scottie doesn’t know what’s going on half the time. With only one, unmemorable showing at The Shriners, Scottie doesn’t have the course history or form for me to roll the dice on him.