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Restoration Hardware ๐Ÿšœ

Published about 1 month agoย โ€ขย 8 min read

Just out of reach...

Not every Sunday sweat swings in our direction. I walked with Bryson and Viktor inside the ropes the entire final round. The excitement, jubilation, anxiety, and admiration from the Kentucky crowd was palpable. That was five hours of my life I will never forget. Bryson finished runner-up and lost to a very worthwhile champion. It was amazing to witness him wind up and strike the ball. If it looked entertaining on TV, then I am here to confirm that being there was even better. Congratulations to all of the determined Xander backers, you are a special breed to believe after two years.

The LPGA sweat was just as close. Gabby Ruffels, our longshot (+6500) lost to six-time winner Nelly Korda by just a couple coming in third. In the last five weeks, we have predicted FOUR wins, TWO runners-up, and a THIRD-place finish. Our process is proven, and we will continue to sweat each and every Sunday!

From Valhalla we will venture to one of the longest PGA TOUR venue relationships on the schedule. Colonial Country Club started hosting the Charles Schwab Challenge 78 years ago! Nestled in Fort Worth, Texas, this ball strikerโ€™s playground just went through a number of changes. Famed golf course architect Gil Hanse has restored Hogan's home to its roots. How will that change playability, scoring, and influence winning? Keep reading to find out.

Charles Schwab Challange starts in...

Count down to 2024-05-23T11:15:00.000Zโ€‹

Ground game

Perry Maxwell is the original designer of Colonial Country Club. His initial vision has been muted in many ways. Colonial CC is a flat flood zone bordered by the Trinity River. Many of the modifications over the years were not necessarily improvements as much as they were done to protect the flood plain. Cement walls to block erosion, earth moved to preserve Perry's putting surfaces, and well you get the point. The original design had been lost and golf's greatest designers in recent years was hired to reestablish the routing. Par (70) remains the same and so did the yardage. Probably the greatest testament to Gil's genius is the fact he didn't add 500 yards for the PGA TOUR to come here and compete.

Length and score aren't everything. Proof can be seen in the average total score of the tournament. Over the past decade, the winners averaged only 12 under par. Hopefully that will keep the scoring hypocrites happy. Maxwell/Hanse will keep the competitors in check with strategic doglegs and the re-introduction of an interesting ground game. The PGA TOUR schedule promotes weeks of aerial architecture one week after another. Although it takes tremendous skill to win on TOUR, a little variety is nice from time to time. Colonial will be played on the ground this week. Hanse's handy work will bring back intriguing green complexes and the need for a successful game plan.

Of course, every time we make the golf course more difficult it favors Scheffler. (Although, we may have another Scottie strategy ready for our readers.) With an average cutline of +1 over the last ten years, Gil wouldn't have to go far to increase the challenge. You are going to see a lot of ragged edges on the screen. The original design really moved with the terrain even though it was relatively flat. Tributaries of the Trinity are also much more incorporated into the design. Overall, we have a new test and that's fun. Fun for the field of 132 and fun for us as fans and viewers.

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Course conditions

โ€‹Colonial Country Clubโ€‹

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"How to watch?"

โ€‹Coverage timesโ€‹

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Real-time weather

โ€‹Ft. Worth, Texasโ€‹

Northeast Texas is not far from Louisville. The same storms that plagued the setup at Valhalla have moved through the Dallas region as well. Fort Worth has received over three inches of rain in May, and more is coming this week. Temperatures will reach the low 90s, and wind somewhat manageable at 14-16 mph. Any wind would pose a dilemma when your average green size is 5,000 sq/ft. Some of the smallest on TOUR, gaining GIRs on the field is priority number one this week.

Colonial has been a nice balance of scoring and bogey avoidance in the past. I'm sure that trend will continue as historically we've seen 11 holes have a birdie rate over 15%, and nine holes have a bogey rate over that same value. It's great to see concrete walls replaced with cool looking cliffs and creative slopes. Overall, the changes were well overdue and will improve the playability. Watch for the best thinkers to gain an advantage this week toward the $9.1 million dollar purse. I've got my eye on some mid-range ball strikers. The average winner's pre-tournament odds are +4100 over the last decade.

Read The Line recap ๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ

For the second year in a row, the Charles Schwab Challenge ended in a playoff. This time, Emiliano Grillo took home the tartan jacket. Scoring keeps the field close at Colonial. Grillo gained an edge through his putter and iron game. He lost strokes OTT and ARG. Ultimately gaining over eight shots across the par 4s, he outlasted Adam Schenk in the playoff and the rest of the field over four days.

A unique approach

There's some mystery to the million dollar question this week, what will it take to win? The books have the total score over/under at 12.5 and that will be due mainly to the soft conditions. Scoring takes some serious skill at Colonial, and I highly doubt Mr. Hanse is going to make that any easier. The conversation begins and ends on approach. Forty-five percent of the iron shots are sent in-between 125-175 yards. For these guys, that is an eight or nine iron for the most part. Certainly, some sort of wedge on the low end. The best short iron players have always shown up here and therefore we have the very best across our entire card.

In recent years, the winners have averaged a negative gain against the field for around the green play. Believe it or not, the last five winners averaged -0.4 strokes gained with their short game. That is all going to change. Gil was brought in to recreate the ground game at Colonial. Players will now have to adapt to small subtleties around the green in order to score. I believe this is the small edge most betting pundits will pass over. You have to actually look at the course to predict the value of around the green acumen. Most writers will only react to the historical numbers, and I bet it will get overlooked.

One thing that can't be overlooked is the importance of putting. Those same ten winners over the last decade have gained an average of six strokes on the greens. Eight of the 10 have gained well over five strokes. Gil will only increase the gain in this category. The subtleness of his architecture takes incredible expertise to excel on. Watch the best putters separate. The reason? Better putters are better green readers. Accuracy on finding the correct aimpoint will be a big factor on new putting surfaces. If all 132 are starting from scratch, I'll take the skill leaders every time.

The guys will face 12 par 4s (average 431 yards) at Colonial. The last five winners have gained over nine strokes playing that variety of par. I used the word variety since Colonial's 4s come in all shapes and sizes. We have three over 475, four under 425, and five in-between. These holes are where you can create an advantage over your opponents. Positional doglegs require accurate approaches to score. Colonial has so many strategic par 4s for the field to figure out. I love classic golf course like this with character even though the terrain is flat.

Even though our winners have averaged 12 under par over the last 10 years, those same players have averaged 20 sub-par scores en route to winning. Bogey avoidance counts around Colonial. Our outrights are capable of keeping a round going with a killer ability to get up and down to save that scorecard. Soft conditions will help the severity of balls rolling off green surfaces, but everyone will need at least one or two tough up and downs each day in order to remain in contention.

Colonial needed a serious facelift, and they got it. It is better prepared for the modern game, and we will witness it this weekend. The outrights below are all great with their scoring irons. Their putter has been trending and they played well at Valhalla. Trust me, I watched all of these guys in anticipation of this week. Let's go one better than Brysonโ€™s runner-up and get our fifth win of the season at one of the most history heavy venues on the PGA TOUR.

Outright Winners - Charles Schwab Challenge

Say what you want about Tom Hoge's history at Colonial, it just doesn't matter. All 18 scoring opportunities (greens) have been redesigned.

  • Hoge's accuracy from 100-175 yards is ridiculous. He averages just over 21' from the pin in that entire range.
  • Tom's putting has been on point in 2024. In 15 measured events this year, he's gained with the flatstick 11 times.
  • Hoge has played great this year and as a TCU alumnus, he loves playing in Texas.
  • TCU is in Ft. Worth.
  • In this field, Hoge is ranked fourth in BoB%, fifth on approach and opportunities gained, sixth in proximity, and eleventh in putting.

Taylor Moore has not missed an individual cut since last July! That's 18 events in a row for a guy nobody pays any attention to.

  • Twelfth at Valhalla, Moore's scoring ability has been solid. He gained nine strokes on the field last week.
  • A winner at Valspar, Innisbrook is a great comp course for Colonial.
  • Watching Moore practice last week in Kentucky, I saw a nice consistency in his ball striking.
  • Scrambling and scoring with determine our winner on Hanse's restoration. Moore is one of the best at both in the field.

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