The Sanderson Farms Championship this week in Jackson, Mississippi, represents the second consecutive tournament that had previously been considered less than full-strength on the PGA Tour but now includes all the spoils -- FedEx Cup points, major championship invites and money -- of a normal PGA Tour event. It's another opportunity for players to put some distance between themselves and the superstars who are hitting pause between the U.S. Open and the Masters.
Let's take a closer look at this week's contest, with odds and prop bets provided via William Hill Sportsbook.
What: Sanderson Farms Championship
When: Oct. 1-4
Where: Country Club of Jackson -- Jackson, Miss.
Three things to know
1. Scheffler, back: Following his withdrawal from the U.S. Open because of a positive COVID-19 test, one of the hottest players in the world, Scottie Scheffler, will be back at it this week in Jackson. This will actually be his debut for the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, and he comes in with six straight top 25s, three of them top fives and four of them top 15s. He is far and away the favorite this week, and it will be intriguing to see how he reacts to that after mostly being considered a chaser throughout last season's FedEx Cup Playoffs.
2. Zalatoris star power: There are only three golfers that Data Golf gives more than a 2.5% chance to win this tournament: Scheffler, Sungjae Im and Will Zalatoris. The former Wake Forest superstar is coming in off top 10s at the U.S. Open and Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, and he has very quietly been playing some of the best golf of anyone in the world on any tour. I see no reason why this changes this week as he starts to circle special temporary membership on the PGA Tour (something around a top-four finish this week in Jackson would get it done).
3. Jumping off point: Last year, Sebastian Munoz used a win here to jump from outside the top 150 to nearly inside the top 100. But he didn't stop there. Munoz parlayed all the good starts he got from the win to get into the top 80 in the world and finished T8 at the Tour Championship. What players do right now has lasting effects through the next 10 months, and Munoz is proof of that as he returns to defend his title at the Country Club of Jackson.
Grading the field
Here is a non-exhaustive list of big names in the field this week who have not played as well over the past few years as they have historically: Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Nick Watney and Hunter Mahan. When you combine this with a nice top three as well as some good young players -- Doug Ghim, Sahith Theegala, Davis Riley -- you get a nice early-October field in an event with few true modern stars. Grade: C+
1. Sebastian Munoz (-118) over Doc Redman (-105): Weird matchup here as Redman has only played twice since the PGA Championship in August. He's finished T3 in two of those events, but I'm going with the defending champ this week and trying to ride the good run he's been on.
2. Scottie Scheffler (-120) over Sungjae Im (+100): I'm a little wary of Scheffler having gone cold following his heater in August, but there seems to be a bit of value in here as Data Golf has Scheffler with a 57% chance of winning this matchup.
Sanderson Farms Championship picks
|Winner (18-1): This is turning into a Collin Morikawa-Matthew Wolff situation rather quickly. You could argue he's the biggest talent in the field who is playing the best golf, and you probably would not get a lot of pushback. You maybe worry about how much he's played of late, but if that's the biggest concern, then it's a good pick.|
|Top 10 (25-1 to win): Top 10 at the Safeway Open and hits the crap out of the ball off the tee, which plays disproportionately well at this golf course. He's an interesting pick to win at 25-1, but I like him better to top 10. Tied for the second-lowest round of the tournament here last season.|
|Sleeper (50-1): Another big bopper who has win equity. Davis has made five straight cuts on the PGA Tour and semi-contended for a bit before Dustin Johnson ran away with The Northern Trust in August. Finished inside the top 30 here last year and he's won worldwide in two of his last three full years.|