This week's CJ Cup at Shadow Creek is part of a short, two-week stretch of PGA Tour events in Las Vegas, and it's even more loaded than last week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. We get five of the top six players in the world, and will see a lot of superstars of the sport for the first time since the U.S. Open at Winged Foot nearly a month ago. Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa will be joined by a host of other monster names as an October and November full of world-class events begins to unfold.
Let's take a closer look at this week's contest, with odds and prop bets provided via William Hill Sportsbook.
What: CJ Cup at Shadow Creek
When: Oct. 15-18
Where: Shadow Creek Golf Course -- Las Vegas, Nevada
Three things to know
1. Brooks returns: For the first time in two months, we will see four-time major champion Brooks Koepka in action. He's been out since August with a lingering knee injury and missed the U.S. Open, where he had finished in the top two three times in the last three years. Nobody expects him to contend this week, but his preparation for a November Masters -- where he finished runner up last year -- will be intriguing.
2. Can Wolff stay hot? With most of the best players in the world in attendance this week, Matthew Wolff is No. 6 on the list of favorites this week, behind only D.J., Rahm, J.T., McIlroy and Xander Schauffele. There's good reason, too, as he's up to No. 12 in the OWGR and is coming in off of top-two finishes in his last two events (the U.S. Open and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open). He's the hottest player in the world that people are only kind of, sort of talking about.
3. No Match: The only other time we have seen Shadow Creek Golf Course was back in 2018 when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson participated in the first edition of The Match. Interestingly, there were very few patrons on site that week just as there will be this time around. The course itself is intriguing in that it's a bit of an oasis in the desert. You won't feel like you're watching golf in the middle of Vegas this weekend, even though that's a geographic reality. And while Shadow Creek is no architectural wonder, there will be plenty of intrigue based on the field alone for this tournament to be compelling
Grading the field
Again, it's elite. It's also a small-field, no-cut event that Jordan Spieth needed a sponsor exemption into. it fails to grab an A+ because it's missing two things. One of those -- Tiger Woods -- we'll see next week at the Zozo Championship, where he'll be the defending champion. The other -- Bryson DeChambeau -- we won't see again until the Masters in November. Grade: A
Want the sharpest DFS advice, picks and data-driven golf analysis? Listen below and subscribe to The First Cut Golf podcast where we explain what's happening on the course so you can win off of it.
1. Justin Rose top 10 (11/2): The thing about guys like Rose is that you don't necessarily know when it's going to pop. He recently finished 9th at the PGA Championship, followed by lousy performances (for him) in the playoffs and U.S. Open. Still, I'll take the talent here and hope he's figured out the game a bit.
2. Rory McIlroy top 10 (+138): McIlroy quietly (?) has three straight top 12s, and given that D.J. is 1-1 to finish in the top 10, it feels like you're getting some value here with Rory. Also, not to put too much into, you know, driving range heroes, but the swing looks outstanding.
CJ Cup picks
|Winner (14-1): This feels like a Xander special. He loves small-field events and has finished in the top five in each of his last two outings. He's also finished in the top 25 in five straight, and has arguably been the best player in the world over the last three months. That 14-1 number is a good one if you're looking for a little value at the top.|
|Top 10 (2-1): I am all the way in. Wolff has the feel of somebody who's a week or two away from another victory (he probably hopes four), and given his recent performance, it would not be surprising if that came this week, even in an elite field like this one. He's gaining nearly four strokes a round right now on the best players in the world. Unsustainable, for sure, but I only need it to last one more week.|
|Sleeper (40-1): Not necessarily trending in the right direction with a T37-MC start to his season, but there is definitely value here for somebody who has been playing at a top-10 clip for quite a while. I don't love him to win this week, but at 40-1, I do love the number you can get with him here.|