Workday Charity Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
THE PGA Tour arrives at Muirfield Village for the first of two tournaments with the Workday Charity Open, which replaces the John Deere Classic. Next week we have The Memorial Tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus, where there are still plans to admit 8,000 spectators per day as golf attempts to return to some kind of normality.
But this week we are still behind closed doors as the Tour tackles one of the finest golf courses on the planet. This is another full-field tournament in partnership with Workday, Inc. a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and Human Resources.
Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods have all chosen to sit this one out - it is expected that all three will be in the field for the Memorial. But apart from those three notable exceptions, there is yet another world-class field in attendance, with several of the best players on the planet still looking to rediscover their very best form after the layoff.
Muirfield Village is a course that is made for Justin Rose and the Englishman is in the field. For once, they are playing a golf course that requires proper strategy and that is why Rose will expect to do well. Unusually, he has been struggling with his long game, but there are signs that his very best game is not very far away - and he has been putting magnificently. Matthew Fitzpatrick will also relish the challenge. He is one of the shorter hitters among the world’s top 50 but he finds lots of fairways, is one of the best iron players in the business and possesses a fabulous short game. If he get the short stick working he is certain to be in contention.
Brooks Koepka is another who has finally started to show signs of reawakening. He struggled horribly after returning from injury and the shutdown probably came at exactly the wrong time for him. But he says that he is now pain-free for the first time in months and a coaching session with Butch Harmon has got him back on track. He is desperate to get back to winning ways - and the signs are that he won’t have to wait long.
Sungjae Im is also teeing it up again. This is his 19th start of the season, which is remarkable when you consider the shutdown. He simply loves playing. In those 19 starts he has one win, one second place, three third places and six top 10s and nine top-25 finishes. It is an extraordinary record. The South Korean is an unassuming character who has few weaknesses and his greatest strength is his mental approach to the game. Nothing ever gets him down.
And look out for a big week for Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama. He has changed his swing, doing away with the pause at the top of his backswing. He now looks a far more natural player and has been striping it since the return but has struggled on the greens. He knows that when he starts holing putts again - and he will - that everything else will click into place.
Featuring a 156-player field and $6.2m purse (50% less than will be on offer at The Memorial), the Workday Charity Open is a one-off tournament and has attracted another strong field. “We are extremely pleased to join with Workday and Muirfield Village Golf Club to present this new event as we continue our Return to Golf efforts,” said Andy Pazder, Chief Tournament & Competitions Officer for the PGA Tour. “Our special thanks go to Workday for partnering with us as title sponsor and for their pledge to make a significant charitable impact with the event. Memorial Tournament host Jack Nicklaus has always done what is best for the game of golf and in these unprecedented times, we are most appreciative of his Muirfield Village Golf Club hosting the event the week prior to the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.”
Charitable impact will be an important aspect of the new event as Workday is committing $1 million in support of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. In addition, Workday is donating $500,000 to the Oakland-based Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation founded by three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and entrepreneur, host and The New York Times bestselling author Ayesha Curry.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to bring viewers one of the first live golf events of this truly unprecedented year,” said Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and CEO, Workday. “We’d like to use this moment to not only unify the golf community through this tournament, but to drive awareness and support for these and other notable causes.”
Recognized as one of the country’s top pediatric facilities, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is an important charitable partner to the PGA TOUR. Since its inception, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide has generated more than $22 million in charitable giving to Nationwide Children’s, with over $14 million generated since Nationwide began its partnership with the Memorial in 2011. Through the addition of the Workday Charity Open, Nationwide Children’s will benefit further from the PGA TOUR’s 2-week stop in Dublin.
Eat. Learn. Play. is designed to help ensure an equal road to success for all kids, rooted in three of the most vital pillars for a healthy childhood— nutrition, education and physical activity. Stephen, Ayesha and their partners believe that children are the future, and they are deeply dedicated to empowering them and opening doors for their futures. It is their hope that Eat. Learn. Play. will positively impact children in the Oakland, San Francisco, and Bay Area communities and beyond to live out their dreams.
The Workday Charity Open will be operated by the staff of Muirfield Village Golf Club, the Memorial Tournament and HNS Sports Group. The new event will lead into the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, one of three elevated events on the PGA Tour that offers a three-year exemption to its winner and a limited field of 120.
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Justin Rose. Adores this layout
Hideki Matsuyama. Now swinging the club superbly
Brooks Koepka. Finally playing pain-free
Justin Rose. Close to his best again
Hideki Matsuyama. Just needs to start holing a few putts
Brooks Koepka. Capable of winning anywhere
Phil Mickelson. Still convinced he can win despite turning 50
Jon Rahm. Desperately trying to shake off the ring rust
Justin Thomas. Seldom has a poor week
Matthew Fitzpatrick. One of the straightest hitters out there - with a stunning short game
Rickie Fowler. Showing some encouraging signs
Viktor Hovland. Destined to be a huge star
Sungjae Im. Another week, another top 10 you suspect
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