Damien Kayat shares with us a comprehensive preview for the Barracuda Championship taking place at the Old Greenwood Course, Tahoe Mountain Club, California.
2022 US PGA Tour/DP World Tour
Old Greenwood Course, Tahoe Mountain Club, California
With golf’s elite descending on St Andrews this week for the 150th Open Championship, it’s understandable that very little fuss is being made of this quaint little opposite-field event. In actual fact, this will be the only time this season that the PGA Tour will host an opposite-field event during a Major Championship.
This event started life in 1999 as the Reno-Tahoe Open and it has always been an alternate-field affair. Like last week’s Barbasol Championship, this will be a co-sanctioned event with the DP World Tour.
I was rather disappointed with the performance of my pick last week: Adam Svensson. He held the 36-hole lead only to dissipate as the weekend progressed. At least I was in the mix, as these events can often be murderous to predict.
The hodgepodge of players is hard to sort through: you have your grizzled veterans; you have your Korn Ferry acolytes; you have all the players who narrowly missed out on Open Championship qualification. Which one of these will be most motivated this week?
This event was long contested at Montreux Golf and Country Club outside Reno, Nevada. It moved to its current location, Tahoe Mountain Club, in 2020. This par-71 looks like a monster at 7,480 yards. But that’s extremely deceptive as the course is situated at around 6000 feet above sea level.
This Jack Nicklaus design is a picturesque trip through the High Sierras. The fairways are lined by pine trees and the undulating greens are lightning-fast (quite a contrast to those expected at St Andrews this week).
But low-scoring is really the name of the game with three-par fives and three drivable par 4’s. Or should I say high-scoring? This event is unique in that it utilizes the Modified Stableford format.
Players are awarded points for holes. This makes it one of the few events where you want a positive score. Scoring is as follows: Double Eagle 8, Eagle 5, Birdie 2, Par 0, Bogey -1, Double Bogey or worse -3.
This obviously incentivises the type of attacking golf that saw Erik Van Rooyen rack up 50 points last year.
Maverick McNealy is the hot favourite this week to pick up his maiden US PGA Tour victory (not to mention DP World Tour victory).
Cameron Davis and Doug Ghim have picked up some impressive results of late. Rasmus Hojgaard must be feeling devastated after his T10 at last week’s Scottish Open.
He finished a shot back of Brandon Wu (who picked up the final qualifying spot for the Open itself). He is joined by very few of his DP World Tour alumni (Matthias Schwab and Johannes Veerman leap off the page).
These events have the ability to launch careers (just look at Collin Morikawa’s 2019 victory in this event).
2021: Erik Van Rooyen- 50 points
2020: Richy Werenski- 39 points
2019: Collin Morikawa- 47 points
2018: Andrew Putnam- 47 points
2017: Chris Stroud- 44 points* playoff
Betting Favourites (To Win):
Maverick Nealy (11/1)
Alex Noren (18/1)
Cameron Davis (18/1)
Nick Hardy (20/1)
Doug Ghim (25/1)
Andrew Putnam- To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)
Andrew Putnam is as close to a tournament specialist as you are going to get this week. He won his first PGA Tour title in this event in 2018 (though that was at a different course).
But he played here last year and nearly picked up his 2nd victory with a strong runner-up performance. He is in decent form, making four out of his last five cuts. That form- combined with course experience- should make him a factor this year.
Austin Cook- To Win (66/1), To Place (14/1)
Austin Cook just couldn’t quite get himself into last week’s Barbasol Championship. He played decently, ultimately picking up a 27th place finish. But it does continue a trend of strong form for Cook.
He has now made four successive cuts (which included a 16th at the John Deere Classic and a 13th at the Canadian Open). He also has some course form, picking up a creditable 15th place last year.
The Man to Beat- Cam Davies- To Win (18/1), To Place (39/10)
Cam Davies is just too technically good for this field.
The underachieving Aussie won his maiden US PGA Tour title at last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. He has also been playing pretty well of late (picking up a 3rd at the Heritage and a 7th at Colonial).
He actually finished 8th last time out at the John Deere Classic. I just feel like Davies will seize this opportunity to show what he is capable of.