Updated throughout each tournament week, 'The Starter' will provide key news, notes, and other nuggets prior to the first tee time on Thursday morning. Think of it as an all-in-one resource to help guide you in the days leading up to the start of the tournament, as you prepare your fantasy golf lineups and entries. As soon as we receive valuable news updates on things such as tee times, featured groups, withdrawals and other course reports we’ll be sure to post them all here.
Rory McIlroy defended his title at The CJ Cup (albeit at a different course) for his 23rd career victory on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy overtook Scottie Scheffler to become the new number one ranked golfer in the world. This is the 9th time in his career that Rory has been world number one.
McIlroy also became the first golfer since Tiger Woods (2008 Farmers Insurance Open) to win his first start of the season after winning the FedExCup.
Scottie Scheffler lost 4.32 strokes with a new putter in the bag at The CJ Cup.
Scheffler is now the 2nd ranked golfer in the world; had held the top spot since winning the WGC Match Play (March, 2022).
Sam Burns ranked 1st in SG: PUTT (+8.56) at The CJ Cup; finished T-7 overall for the event.
Rickie Fowler ranked 6th in SG: T2G (+8.93) at The CJ Cup, but was last in the field in SG: PUTT (-7.06).
Taylor Montgomery added +4.81 SG: PUTT (6th in CJ Cup field) to his hot putting streak to start the season. Montgomery has gained 27.08 total strokes putting across his four starts so far this season. He's finished T-15 or better in all four events he's competed in.
Jon Rahm finished T-4 despite saying that he was fighting swing thoughts this past week. Rahm has now finished top-5 in his last three events worldwide.
Rahm led the field in SG: ARG (+5.04).
Brendon Todd led CJ Cup in SG: APP (+8.09).
K.H. Lee (+7.31), Billy Horschel (+7.12), Cameron Young (+7.04), Tom Hoge (+6.24), Lee Hodges (+5.80) were the next highest in SG: APP at The CJ Cup.
Port Royal Golf Course - Southampton, Bermuda
Event #6 of 2022-23 FedExCup regular season
Full-Field Cut Event
The Bermuda Championship is a relatively new PGA Tour event. It debuted during the 2019-20 season as an alternate field event and has been played at the same course all three years.
Port Royal Golf Course is one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour schedule. It's another one of these venues outside of the United States where the PGA Tour does not bring Shotlink--meaning, there's no detailed strokes gained data.
Because it's located on a relatively small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Port Royal GC is very exposed to the wind. It's not the longest or most difficult course, but the wind has shown to be the biggest variable in determining what the scoring will look like here.
2021 winner: Lucas Herbert -15; field scoring average: 70.76 (-0.24)
2020 winner: Brian Gay -15; field scoring average: 71.15 (+0.15)
2019 winner: Brendon Todd -24; field scoring average: 69.83 (-1.17)
In all three years driving accuracy has been around 10% lower than average on the PGA Tour:
2021: 55.90% (9.7% lower than TOUR average)
2020: 48.70% (16.9% lower than TOUR average)
2019: 54.30% (11.6% lower than TOUR average)
In 2021, Lucas Herbert won after having back-to-back missed cuts in his two previous starts. Herbert ranked 53rd in driving accuracy (29/56 fairways hit) and 7th in driving distance for the week. He was also 59th in GIR% (45/72 greens hit), indicating that golfers can certainly get away with some off-line shots around Port Royal.
On other other hand, Brian Gay and Brendon Todd both found success in short but accurate ball-striking the years they won. In 2020, Gay ranked 5th in driving accuracy and 19th in GIR%; in 2019, Todd ranked 4th in driving accuracy and 10th in GIR%.
Anders Albertson, Peter Malnati, Davis Thompson, and Vince Whaley are all out from the original field list. They've been replaced in the field by Cody Gribble, J.J. Henry, D.J. Trahan, and Ben Crane.
Seamus Power is the only OWGR top-50 ranked player in the field this week. (That alone might say all you need to know about the strength of the field at the Bermuda Championship).
There are only five OWGR top-100 golfers in the field: Seamus Power (No.48), Adrian Meronk (No.61), Denny McCarthy (No.83), Lucas Glover (No.92), and Erik Van Rooyen (No.97).
A few other interesting names worth highlighting:
Adrian Meronk is the 61st ranked golfer in the world who plays on the DP World Tour in Europe. Meronk won the Horizon Irish Open last July. He had a stretch of seven events earlier this year in which he finished top-5 in five of them. Meronk's recent finishes on the DP World Tour are T-45, T-22, and T-11.
Akshay Bhatia is only 20 years old and won on the Korn Ferry Tour last year. He turned pro in September, 2019--chose to forego playing college golf. Bhatia came fairly close to earning his TOUR card for this season (finished 30th on the KFT season-long points list, but needed to finish in the top-25). He missed the cut in each of the three Korn Ferry playoff events in August and September.
Harry Higgs is a fan favorite, known for producing some fun viral moments both on and off the course. He finished 147th in the FedExCup standings last season and lost his TOUR card. Higgs attempted to regain his card through the KFT playoffs but missed the cut in each of those three events. Higgs also missed the cut at both the Fortinet Championship and Sanderson Farms Championship, which he had sponsor exemptions into for this season.
Erik Van Rooyen (OWGR 97th)
Erik Van Rooyen announced on August 11th–via his social media–that he would take some time off due to a minor back injury. He returned two weeks ago on the DP World Tour and played in the Anadalcuia Masters in Spain (finished T61); Van Rooyen also played last week at the Mallorca Golf Open but missed the cut.
Van Rooyen is in the field this week for the Bermuda Championship.
OUT OF FIELD
Peter Malnati (OWGR 322nd)
Peter Malnati withdrew from the Bermuda Championship yesterday. This is now the second time Malnati has WD’d from an event over the past month without any reason being given. Though Malnati is not a big name or highly ranked golfer, we will continue to monitor his health status.
Bermuda Championship golfers with the highest "True Strokes Gained" (avg. adjusted strokes gained) at Port Royal Golf Course (min. two appearances):
Brian Gay (+2.13)
Russell Knox (+1.22)
David Hearn (+1.05)
Kramer Hickok (+1.05)
Denny McCarthy (+0.97)
Brian Gay is the only former winner of the event competing this week. Although he seems to be transitioning into primarily playing Champions Tour events, the 50 year old has finished 12th, 1st, and 3rd at the Bermuda Championship.
David Hearn finished Tied 8th in both 2019 and 2020. (Ryan Armour also finished T-8 in both of those years but then finished T-67 in 2021).
Russell Knox has finished T-16 or better in all three years of the Bermuda Championship.
Seamus Power has made the cut in all three years of the Bermuda Championship (T-31, T-37, T-12).
Early week reports are indicating that there may be "tropical disturbances" forming around Bermuda. Clearly the weather report right now shows the potential for a lot of rainfall and wind between Thursday and Sunday. The weather in Bermuda will be something to definitely monitor as the week goes along because it looks like it may have an impact on the event.