The Caddie Line: 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
After a three-week stint in Asia, the entire PGA Tour has returned stateside for this week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin (the Sanderson Farms Championship was played last week in Mississippi, too, but opposite the WGC-HSBC Champions).
Patrick Cantlay returns as the defending champion.
If we know anything about watching tournaments at TPC Summerlin over the years, it’s this: you’re going to need to take plenty of gambles to hit the big payoff. In other words, this one is a birdie-fest.
With that in mind, we asked three caddies to anonymously give us their three favorites to win.
Here’s a look at the players they like…
- Troy Merritt, “Troy had three top-10 finishes last season, highlighted by his victory in the Barbasol Championship. The PGA Championship and the first two playoff events all resulted in missed cuts, but he’s ready to go now. He should be encouraged by his T4 at the Safeway Open to start this new season. He’s refreshed and playing great.”
- Sam Burns, “A young player with loads of talent, Sam is coming into Vegas after a T3 finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship – his best career finish on the PGA Tour. He’s got a killer instinct and if he’s rolling the rock, look out. In his only other Vegas start a year ago, he tied for 20th.”
- Cameron Champ, “Who’s more confident than this young bomber right now? Not only does he come into Vegas off his first career win and not only is he the longest driver on Tour, but his caddie also lives in Las Vegas… So, they’ve got the home-field advantage.”
- Tony Finau, “I’m sure he’s disappointed after that playoff loss in Shanghai on Sunday but expect Tony to shake that off quickly. He’s one of the most talented guys out here and it’s just a matter of time before he starts piling up some ‘Ws.’ He typically plays well in Vegas, so this could very well be a bounce-back week.”
- Gary Woodland, “Gary has started the year hot with a T5 at the CIMB Classic and a runner-up showing at the CJ Cup. I like that trend to continue in Vegas.”
- Bryson Dechambeau, “Bryson was spectacular last season with three victories, including two in the playoffs. He’s had time to decompress after a busy end of season and his first Ryder Cup appearance. He should be ready to go in Vegas, where he’ll have good vibes from a T7 finish a year ago.”
- Scott Stallings, “This guy is working hard and he’s due. He’s made some big improvements lately and he likes Vegas.”
- Tony Finau, “The man is due for a win. This would be the perfect place for him to pick up his second career win and first since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.”
- Rickie Fowler, “He’s only played Vegas a few times in his career, but when he has played here, he’s played well. Rickie has had a nice little break and I’m sure he’s excited to get going again this week.”