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The 2022/23 PGA Tour season finished, as usual, at East Lake in Georgia last month.
The 2024 season does away with any wraparound status and starts at Kapalua in Hawaii in early January.
So where does that leave the seven Fall events, the first of which takes place at Napa Valley in California this week?
The answer to what could be perceived as a no-man’s land is that we now enter the FedExCup Fall, a place where players can improve their status and also secure full playing privileges for 2024 by finishing in the top 125 on the FedExCup points list.
While those who finished in the top 50 last season have already banked their place in all the designated events in 2024, those outside that number can battle to be part of The Next 10 and finish from 51st to 60th.
Making it into that slot earns entry into the first two designated events of 2024.
If the structure sounds a little confusing, there’s plenty of familiarity for bettors this week as the Fortinet Championship is a well-established event played at this time of the year and on the same course.
That venue is Silverado in Napa Valley, a layout that demands strength in all parts of the game.
It’s been a good one for home American players as they’ve hoisted the silverware in the last seven editions at Silverado.
Max Homa, this week’s betting favorite, has captured the last two.
|Year||Champion and winning score|
Max Homa (United States) -16
Max Homa (United States) -19
Stewart Cink (United States) -21
Cameron Champ (United States) -17
Kevin Tway (United States) -14
Brendan Steele (United States) -15
Brendan Steele (United States) -18
Emiliano Grillo (Argentina) –15
Sang-moon Bae (South Korea) -15
Jimmy Walker (United States) -17 (held at CordeValle GC in California)
Homa has amassed $ 2.68 million in the last two years here having won the event in both 2021 and 2022 by a single stroke. He achieved the first with 19-under while last year his 16-under was enough after Danny Willett somehow three-putted the final green from inside four feet. Homa, who finished the 2022/23 season with five straight top 15s, must think that this is his lucky course.
Aside from Homa, Thomas is the only other member of Zach Johnson’s Ryder Cup team taking part and will want to justify his wildcard pick to the sceptics who believed his form wasn’t worthy of one. Thomas missed the Playoffs due to his poor play although he did at least sign off with a 12th at the Wyndham while he’s a course horse at Silverado with form of 4-8-3 on his last three visits.
Theegala quite didn’t make it to the TOUR Championship but performed creditably in the first two Playoff events with 13th at the St. Jude Championship and 15th at the BMW Championship. He’s 3-for-3 in this event and that includes a sixth place 12 months ago.
One reason why Theegala enjoys this tournament so much is that he’s a local with plenty of course experience both in tournament and casual play.
That makes him familiar with the Poa greens and general lie of the land and, as well as last year’s top six, he was 14th on debut in 2020, shooting a 64 on day three.
One of the most popular players with the galleries, Theegala always seems to thrive when playing in front of his fellow Californians.
He’s shown that with three top sixes in his last five starts in the Golden State: his sixth here, a fourth at Torrey Pines and a sixth at Riviera. Those latter finishes came early in 2023.
Form at Riviera, home of the Genesis Invitational, correlates particularly well with Silverado and this looks a great chance for Theegala to get his first solo PGA Tour win.
Akshay Bhatia was delighted to capture the Barracuda Championship on his most recent start in California in late July.
But less so later when told that due to his Temporary Membership status he hadn’t banked enough FedExCup points to make it into the Playoffs.
That should put some fuel on the fire and I’ll take him to take down Justin Suh in bet365’s 72-hole match.
Also in the top 10 at the Barbasol the week before his Barracuda win, Bhatia showed his liking for Silverado on his latest appearance in 2020 when ninth.
Suh has been much touted but he has course form of 58-MC and, despite being a regular cut maker, a 16th at Colonial in late May is his only top 20 since March.
Justin Thomas’ participation here will be of great intrigue to the watching golf world.
But justification can be a powerful force and JT’s determination to show that he deserved a Ryder Cup captain’s pick is something we can take advantage of.
His excellent course record - 4th, 8th and 3rd in his three latest starts at Silverado - suggests a punt on Thomas to finish Top 10 at +200 with DraftKings Sportsbook is justified.
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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