October 14, 2020 | 5:01pm
The PGA Tour remains in Las Vegas with a smaller, but elite field of 78 players for the CJ Cup. This event was moved from its annual spot in South Korea to Shadow Creek Golf Course due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty of the Top 25 in the Official World Golf Rankings are in this week’s field. It was 21 before favorite Dustin Johnson withdrew Tuesday after testing positive for COVID. Jon Rahm (8/1) is the favorite at BetMGM, whose live odds will be showcased on the Golf Channel broadcast of the event. Justin Thomas is next at 10/1, followed by Rory McIlroy (11/1), Xander Schauffele (12/1), Matthew Wolff (18/1), Collin Morikawa (22/1) and Patrick Cantlay (22/1).
Here are some players who are worth a wager this weekend:
Xander Schauffele (12/1)
X has marked the spot in no-cut events. Three of his four PGA Tour wins have been in smaller, yet elite fields in no-cut events. Just last month, Schauffele bested the Tour Championship field by three strokes but unfortunately doesn’t get a trophy for that due to the FedEx Cup Points changes. He finished in the top 5 at yet another major in his last start at the U.S. Open. He has talked about moving to Las Vegas since his girlfriend’s family lives there, and the CJ Cup trophy would be a great housewarming gift for his potential new abode.
Matthew Wolff (18/1)
Wolff lost a three-way playoff to Martin Laird last week at the Shriners, but did finish -23, including a third-round 61 that featured three eagles. Typically a player the week after a near-miss would be one to fade, but Wolff seems to be in a good place mentally despite having runner-up finishes in his last two starts (U.S. Open, Shriners). At age 21, he doesn’t have extensive experience with any particular course designer, but the Karsten course he played on at Oklahoma State for three years was designed by Tom Fazio. Wolff is typically high on the stat sheets for everything but putting; however, he was 15th for Strokes Gained: Putting in last week’s field. The tee-to-green game is in tip-top shape and he looks primed for a second PGA Tour win.
Collin Morikawa (22/1)
Morikawa missed the cut by one at the Shriners. His ball-striking game was good as usual, but the putter let him down as he lost a little under 3.5 strokes in the Thursday/Friday rounds. It’s not as large of a dip as we would like, but it is an odds dip nonetheless and this looks like a good buy spot on the drift.
Joaquin Niemann (45/1)
A bogey at the last on Sunday costs Niemann a top-10 finish and he ended up T13. The Chilean is third for Driving Distance, fourth for Ball Striking and sixth for Total Driving last week at the Shriners. Niemann also performs better on Bentgrass greens.
Jason Day (60/1)
Day seemed as if he were returning to his form of three years ago when he was one of the best players in the world. He posted four straight finishes of seventh or better at the Workday, Memorial, WGC-FedEx St. Jude and the PGA Championship. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep that form and has missed two of his last four cuts including last week on an easy course at TPC Summerlin. Nevertheless, he’s still worth a shot here considering that he arguably has the best and most consistent record on Tom Fazio designs as any player.