Following the season’s second major – the PGA Championship – at Bethpage Black a week ago, the PGA Tour heads back south to Texas for its annual visit to Fort Worth’s historic Colonial Country Club.
Known as the Charles Schwab Challenge today, the inaugural event at Colonial took place 73 years ago in 1946.
Justin Rose returns as the defending champion this week. In 2018, the Englishman managed a three-stroke victory over Brooks Koepka. Koepka won his fourth career major title on Sunday and isn’t in the field this week.
So which players have the best chance to slip into an official Scottish tartan plaid jacket, which the tournament awards its winner to honor the history of golf?
We asked three caddies on the ground in Fort Worth just that.
To protect their identity, the caddies made their respective picks anonymously. Here are the players they like and why…
- Francesco Molinari. “The world’s No. 7-ranked player, Molinari is making the first start of his career this week at Colonial. And I think the reigning Open champ is going to like it. His game is perfectly-suited for this golf course. He hits it straight as a string and keeps the mistakes at a minimum. It will be a welcome change from Bethpage Black a week ago.”
- Justin Rose. “See last year. The defending champ already has a win under his belt this season with friend and fill-in caddie, Gareth Lord. But now it’s time for Fooch – Rose’s regular, longtime caddie, Mark Fulcher – to get back in the winner’s circle after missing the start of the season to recover from a heart procedure. Colonial is going to bring back good vibes for player and caddie.”
- Kevin Na. “Kevin is one of the toughest players around and on a course where length isn’t a huge factor, I’d expect him to be right there. He’s got two recent, top-10 finishes here, including a solo fourth just last year. Don’t read much into his missed cut last week at Bethpage Black. That course was a beast and it was only Kevin’s third missed cut this season and first since Bay Hill at the beginning of March.”
- Jon Rahm. “His iron play and driving can dominate the golf course. He was also a runner up two years ago.”
- Rickie Fowler. “His creativity and putter can survive the nuances of Colonial. Rickie has been one of the most consistent players on Tour this season, having not missed a single cut in his 12 starts. Along with his win in Phoenix, he’s also got four other top 10s.”
- Ryan Palmer. “Ryan, who lives in the area, has played a ton of golf here. His knowledge and experience of the grounds with his driving and irons could be a force to reckon with. I can’t imagine there’s a player in the field this week with more local knowledge.”
- Jordan Speith. “He’s starting to find his form. The putts are falling again, and he looks like he’s having fun now. His T3 at the PGA Championship on a brutal golf course wasn’t only his best finish of the season – it was also his first top 25. That’s a helluva a place to play well and gain confidence. Afterward, he even said, ‘This is the best I’ve felt in quite a while.’ No doubt he can’t wait to put the tee in the ground on Thursday.”
- Rory Sabbatini. “He’s been playing well just about every week, it seems. In his last four starts, Rory has three top-10 finishes and his worst result in that stretch was a T18 in Hilton Head. Texas is where he resides, and he’s played a lot of golf at Colonial.”
- Chez Reavie. “Chez is a solid ball striker and will fly under the radar. This is a good course for him.”