The PGA Tour schedule resumes this week on the heels of a thrilling Ryder Cup with the Sanderson Farms Championship. Sergio Garcia will be attempting to win back-to-back events at the Country Club of Jackson, but he'll have plenty of competition this year in addition to facing the difficulty of getting back up for an event one week after an incredibly emotional Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
Let's take a closer look at this week's contest with odds provided via Caesars Sportsbook.
Event: Sanderson Farms Championship | Dates: Sept. 30 - Oct. 3
Location: Country Club of Jackson -- Jackson, Mississippi
Par: 72 | Purse: $7 million
Three things to know
1. Play Sergio? Conventional wisdom would say that it's difficult to back Sergio Garcia this week because he'll be exhausted from Whistling Straits. However, he has a lot of things going for him. First, he won here just a year ago. Also, he's leading this field from tee to green over his last 20 rounds. Finally, he almost plays well in starts following the Ryder Cup, although certainly most of them have not come in the week directly following that event.
Sergio in his 1st start following the Ryder Cup since 2008:— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) September 28, 2021
2008 - 2nd
2012 - T-9
2014 - T-2
2016 - T-17
2018 - Won
Defending champion this week at the Sanderson Farms.
2. Big bombers or small ball? The Country Club of Jackson is difficult to reconcile. It rewards distance off the tee and does not reward accuracy (compared to other PGA Tour courses). According to its statistical profile, players like Brandon Hagy, Taylor Pendrith and Trey Mullinax are helped the most. That's interesting when it comes to thinking about who's going to play well here and also winners in the recent past are two of the 20 longest players on the PGA Tour -- Garcia and Cameron Champ. However, some of this course's best players ever are guys like David Toms, Robert Streb and Aaron Baddeley, who are not long at all. It's probably safest to lean toward the former group, but it's certainly not a place where you can completely discount the latter.
3. Mito, Mito, Mito: One of the darlings of the DFS community is Mito Pereira, who nearly won a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Pereira is coming in off a third-place finish at the Fortinet Championship and is in the top 35 in this field in every single strokes-gained category over his last 20 rounds. He's a complete player, a great ball-striker and it seems like he'll soon be a winner on the PGA Tour.
Grading the field
It's not the greatest field, but the Sanderson is in a difficult spot. If not for Garcia winning last year, it's doubtful any of the players on either Ryder Cup team would have showed up. Still, you get some extremely good young talent in guys like Will Zalatoris, Matthew Wolff and Sam Burns playing. All three could be on the next Ryder Cup team when the event goes to Rome in 2023, and all three are potential winners of this event. Corey Conners, Keegan Bradley and Sungjae Im will also play this week. Grade: D
2021 Sanderson Farms Championship picks
|Winner (20-1): I'm probably overreaching here, but I think Zalatoris probably watched the Ryder Cup last week and thought, "I'm doing that in 2023." Of course, that doesn't mean he's going to win -- or even play well -- this week in Jackson, but you can pair it with somebody who's ninth in this field in strokes gained tee to green in his last 20 round and a level of talent that may be surpassed by only Garcia of all the players in this field.|
|Top 10 (+333): Bradley finished T4 here last year and is sixth in the field from tee to green over his last 20 rounds. However, he's third of guys that have at least 10 measured rounds, behind just Garcia and Im. He has not played since the BMW Championship in the second round of the FedEx Cup, so he'll be well-rested coming in (which, given how much he plays, rarely happens). Bradley is also my one-and-done pick this week.|
|Sleeper (100-1): Over his last 20 rounds, Theegala is 40th in this field in strokes gained and he struck the ball wonderfully in his last outing at the Fortinet Championship. He has a tremendous pedigree as a three-time All-American at Pepperdine. He's finished in the top 10 in two of his last three starts worldwide (both Korn Ferry Tour events), and at 100-1 I love him in an event that's not too far above the talent level of those tournaments where he's been thriving.|
Who will win the Sanderson Farms Championship, and which long shots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard and best bets, all from the model that's nailed seven golf majors and is up almost $10,000 since the restart.