Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of LIV Golf Chicago taking place at Rich Harvest Farms.
2022 LIV Golf
LIV Golf Chicago
Rich Harvest Farms
Who knows if the LIV Golf tour has been a success or not? The last event in Boston ended in spectacular fashion, with DJ knocking in a long-range eagle putt to hold off Lahiri and Niemann in a three-man playoff.
One would think that’s the type of finish that could catapult the rebel tour to stardom. But I honestly heard nary a word after that victory. It’s like this is no-consequence golf.
Be that as it may, Greg Norman and his cohorts will once again have the opportunity to pit themselves against the PGA Tour this week. They will benefit from the fact that the US PGA event in Napa Valley features one of the weaker fields we are likely to witness all season.
This gives LIV the opportunity to expand its questionable brand, with eleven Major Champions in the field in what is sure to be another garish spectacle.
Rich Harvest Farms
Rich Harvest Farms is the brainchild of owner Jerry Rice and architect Greg Martin. Originally founded in 1990, the course is yet to host a US PGA Tour event.
Having said that, it has hosted various other events such as the Solheim Cup and NCAA Division 1 championship. Refereed to as the ‘Augusta of the Midwest’, Rich Harvest was apparently modelled on Dr Alister MacKenzie’s Georgian masterpiece.
It can be stretched to over 7,700 yards and features sprawling Bentgrass greens. One would probably favour distance over accuracy this week. But I think approach play might be the key stat this week.
These massive greens will require surgical operators who are able to find the proper contours from the fairways.
DJ makes for an understandable favourite after his heroics in Boston. He has proven to be by far the most consistent LIV golfer and this course does superficially seem to suit the American.
Cam Smith had a positive first outing in Boston, ultimately sharing in a tie for 4th with Englishman Lee Westwood. Westwood shot an incredible closing round of 62 in Boston (the lowest round in the short history of LIV Golf).
The likes of Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer return from their controversial hunt for world ranking points at Wentworth. This is a power-packed line-up that will once again attempt to command the attention of the golfing world. But does anyone care?
To Win Outright:
Dustin Johnson 9/2 | Cameron Smith 5/1 | Joaquin Niemann 15/2 | Talor Gooch 9/1 | Patrick Reed 16/1
Matthew Wolff- To Win 28/1 | To Place 6/1
This one is certainly based on the notion that the bombers will thrive this week. Wollf was sixth in Driving Distance on tour last year and he should benefit from that length this week. He has also been quietly picking up decent results since his switch to LIV. He has finishes of second, eighth and 13th in his last three events. As I said, he is arguably the longest hitter in LIV (depending on which DeChambeau shows up). I think he represents excellent value this week.
Sam Horsfield- To Win 45/1 | To Place 19/2
Sam Horsfield is actually one of a handful of participants this week who has some previous experience at Rich Harvest Farms. He started here during the 2015 Western Amateur Championship, finishing third after four rounds of stroke-play action. The three-time DP World Tour champion is also coming off an encouraging display at Wentworth. Amidst all the turmoil, the Englishman shot rounds of 70, 68 and 67, finishing in a tie for 18th. He also shot a final round of 65 in his last LIV round in Boston. Horsfield is a powerful driver who should thrive in these conditions.
The Man to Beat- Cam Smith- To Win 5/1 | To Place 11/10
Cam Smith took to LIV like a duck to water, falling just one shot back of reaching the playoff in Boston. He is a laidback character who doesn’t seem to get too phased by any of the off-course chatter. We all witnessed Smith conquer the Old Course with a virtuosic putting display. But it was his approach play that really saw him dominate the early part of the 2021/2022 US PGA Tour season. He ended last season ranked fifth for Shots Gained: Approach.