The PGA Tour will resume play next week when Colonial Country Club plays host to some of the world’s best golfers for the 73rd edition of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Headlining the annual stop in Fort Worth, Texas will be each of the top-5 ranked golfers in the world, including (in order) Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Dustin Johnson.
McIlroy, who enters off seven consecutive top-five finishes, including a WGC win in Shanghai China last fall, is the strong favorite to take home the title despite making his debut at Colonial.
Known as a shotmaker’s golf course dating back to its opening in 1936, Colonial – the former home to Ben Hogan, more often than not, serves up a winner who is able to creatively craft shots – hence the nickname “Hogan’s Alley.” Think players like former recent champions Kevin Na (2019), Justin Rose (2018), Kevin Kisner (2017), and Jordan Spieth (2016).
Here are some more details to get ready for this week’s PGA Tour stop in Texas.
Tournament: Charles Schwab Challenge
Dates: June 11-14, 2020
Where: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Colonial Country Club
Distance: Par 70, 7209 yards
Architect: John Bredemus/Perry Maxwell (1936)
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $1,350,000
Defending Champion: Kevin Na
Top-10 Betting Favorites: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman, and Webb Simpson.
TV and Online
Colonial Country Club is permanently tied to this event, but interestingly enough, the course got its professional start as the 1941 U.S. Open venue. The course showed its teeth right away, as the U.S. Open field was outright beat down. The winner of the tournament, Craig Wood, finished at +4. The tournament was so difficult that those at +15 finished in a tie for 10th.
At just over 7,200 yards, Colonial was considered lengthy at the time. Today, it plays as one of the shorter tracks on tour.
In the 1946 inaugural event, known initially by the name of the Colonial National Invitation, Ben Hogan stepped right up and claimed the first title, and then repeated again the next year. He scored five victories overall in this event, including the only back-to-back victories (1952-53). As a result of that success, Colonial is often referred to as “Hogan’s Alley.”
In addition to Hogan, event winners have included legends such as Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, and Jordan Spieth.
Nobody has won more than twice, with the exception of Hogan’s five. Ten players own a pair of titles, with Zach Johnson (2010, 2012) accomplishing it most recently.
As an “invitational,” the Fort Worth event has a more exclusive field than most tournaments (121 golfers this year), and is given more freedom with its invites. The tournament famously has a “Champion’s Choice” invitation, where the previous year’s champion gets to grant two spots to players of their choice who otherwise did not qualify.
A Champion’s Choice has won on just a single occasion, when Dave Stockton took the 1967 title, finishing as the only man in the field under par (-2).
History: Title Sponsors
2019-19: Charles Schwab Challenge
2018-18: Fort Worth Invitational
2016-17: Dean & DeLuca Invitational
2007-15: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
2003-06: Bank of America Colonial
1996-02: MasterCard Colonial
1995-95: Colonial National Invitation
1989-94: Southwestern Bell Colonial
1946-88: Colonial National Invitation
History: Recent Winners
2018: Kevin Na (-13)
2018: Justin Rose (-20)
2017: Kevin Kisner (-10)
2016: Jordan Spieth (-17)
2015: Chris Kirk (-12)
2014: Adam Scott (-9)
2013: Boo Weekley (-14)
2012: Zach Johnson (-12)
2011: David Toms (-15)
259 (-21) Zach Johnson (2010)
5 – Ben Hogan (1946-47, 1952-53, 1959)
2 – Zach Johnson (2010, 2012)
2 – Phil Mickelson (2000, 2008)
2 – Nick Price (1994, 2002)
2 – Corey Pavin (1985, 1996)
2 – Bruce Lietzke (1980, 1992)
2 – Ben Crenshaw (1977, 1990)
2 – Lee Trevino (1976, 1978)
2 – Billy Casper (1964, 1968)
2 – Julius Boros (1960, 1963)
Kevin Na shot a Sunday round of 66 at Colonial Country Club to capture the newly-named Charles Schwab Challenge.
Na finished his final day in Forth Worth, Texas with two bogeys offset by six birdies, highlighted by a final-hole gain to reach 13-under par – four clear of runner-up Tony Finau (68).
It was Na’s third PGA Tour title, and second in less than a year (2018 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier).
Final Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Kevin Na -13 (-4)
2. Tony Finau -9 (-2)
3. Andrew Putnam -8 (-4)
3. C.T. Pan -8 (-1)
5. Jonas Blixt -7 (-2)
The 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge is the relaunch of the 2020 PGA Tour season and a pivotal event for a number of prominent players.
There’s star power at the top of the field, with seven of the world’s top-10 ranked players teeing it up at the historic track, including all of the top-5.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy enters off seven-straight top-5 posts, although he hasn’t teed it up since the first round of the PLAYERS. The Northern Ireland star is the clear favorite at 7-1.
Jon Rahm – now ranked No. 2 in the world – is next on the board at 9-1. The 25-year old Spaniard is coming off two top-3s and one T9 in his last four appearances. Meanwhile world No. 4 Justin Thomas is next, and offered at 14-1. Prior to the shutdown, JT was hot and cold, mixing two cuts with a W (Kapalua), T3, and T6 in five starts.
Brooks Koepka on the other hand enters with only ice-cold recent results, including T47, MC, T43 in his last three tournaments.
Another player looking to rebound will be world No. 5 Dustin Johnson, who’s posted T48, T10, and T32 in a trio of less-than-stellar starts.
World No. 7 Patrick Reed and No. 9 Webb Simpson are the other top-10 names to watch – and both are (or were) hot. Reed owns a T15 and a victory in his last two tournament starts, while Simpson has posted five top-10s in his last six, highlighted by a win in Phoenix and two additional top-3s (Sony and RSM).
Including defending champ Kevin Na, 12 former Colonial winners will be in the field this week, headlined by 2016 winner, Jordan Spieth, who has fallen all the way down to No. 56 in the world rankings. In eight starts on the 2019-20 season, the 26-year old Texan owns just two top-10s (T8, T9) alongside six finishes outside the top-40 (T66, T43, T55, MC, T58, T59).
Also, keep an eye on 2017 winner, Kevin Kisner, who is always dangerous at tight tracks like Colonial.
FULL FIELD & ODDS
A look at the full field in Texas, ordered by book rank.
Place your bets on the Fort Worth Invitational at Fanduel.
Carey Hoffman contributed to this preview/post. | Credits: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images