The CJ Cup: Willett Into the Hole

Written by: Matt Cooper
Updated October 19, 2022
6 min read
  • The tournament visits Congaree GC - the third course in as many years
  • Rory McIlroy defends the title he won in Las Vegas
  • Jon Rahm makes his first start of the 2022/23 season

The CJ Cup Odds

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Rory McIlroy+700
Jon Rahm+900
Scottie Scheffler+1200
Justin Thomas+1600
Viktor Hovland+2000
Matt Fitzpatrick+2200
Sungjae Im+2200
Max Homa+2500
Cameron Young+2800
Jordan Spieth+2800

The CJ Cup Picks and Predictions

Jordan Spieth each way at +3000 with Unibet

Danny Willett top 10 at +1100 and top 20 at +450 with FanDuel Sportsbook

Collin Morikawa to beat Keegan Bradley at -120 with BetMGM

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The CJ Cup Predictions

The CJ Cup Profile

There is something of an obvious split in the names of past winners of this tournament, which started as the PGA Tour’s regular visit to South Korea before relocating to the U.S. after COVID.

Rory McIlroy defends the title and, like Justin Thomas who is a two-time winner, he is a staunch defender of the traditional tours and especially the legacy of the old-time events.

The other two past winners are Brooks Koepka and Jason Kokrak who have both joined LIV Golf (in fact the former won on that circuit last week in Saudi Arabia) and both have been straightforward in explaining that money is why they made the decision.

Since the tournament moved to the States it has been hosted by a different course each time.

In 2020 it was at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, it then moved across town to The Summit Club, and now it heads east to Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina.

The field is strong and includes both McIlroy and Thomas plus Jon Rahm, who won in Spain two weeks ago, and the World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler.

Course Report

A Tom Fazio design, Congaree was inspired by the heathland courses in England and the sandbelt layouts around Melbourne, Australia.

Dustin Johnson said of it last year: “It's different, especially for a course in South Carolina. We don't really play golf courses that look like this very often. There's not really any rough, but it’s firm.”

Brooks Koepka added that scrambling will be a key factor. “You miss the greens around here, you could end up 40, 50 yards away from the hole with an interesting chip,” he said. “With the greens and the run-offs, it’s probably quite linksy.”

The Favorites

None of the top three in the betting has experience of the course but Rory McIlroy does boast a fine record on Tom Fazio courses.

His win last year at The Summit Club was on one and so, too, his later wins at Quail Hollow, which Fazio renovated.

McIlroy won the Tour Championship at the end of last season and has since then landed three top-four finishes in Europe.

The Spaniard Jon Rahm endured a difficult 2021/22 season on the PGA Tour, managing just one win at the Mexico Open.

He’ll be hoping to change that this season and he arrives fresh from triumph in the Open de Espana on the DP World Tour.

The American Scottie Scheffler is not in bad form - his last two results have been third in the BMW Championship and second in the Tour Championship - but he’s lost a little luster from his early season brilliance.

He won four times in just six starts from mid-February and he’ll be desperate to rediscover the winning touch in his seasonal debut.

Spieth Will Enjoy the Greens

Jordan Spieth is never happier than when he can use his imagination around the greens and he has proved it with a stellar links record that includes victory in 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale.

So, the fact that this week’s putting surfaces resemble the seaside courses of Britain and Ireland will suit him down to the ground - literally!

It has also been said by some that this week looks like Augusta National from the tee and Spieth loves it there as well.

When last seen he was going 4-for-4 in partnership with Justin Thomas at the Presidents Cup and he landed a 100% record with a 4&3 singles wallopping of Cam Davis.

He’s already won once in South Carolina this year (at Harbour Town) and will like his chances of making it two this week.

Take him each way in the outright at +3000 with Unibet which pays out six places.

Willett into the Hole

It’s well-known that after Danny Willett won the Masters in 2016 he endured a career slump that left his game in a dark place.

Yet his best golf kept reappearing in conditions, not unlike this week.

On the links? He finished sixth at 2019 Open and won the 2021 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

On the heathland? He’s finished third and first in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The bad news is that when playing those two tournaments in the last month he missed the cut. But in the same period, he was ninth at Crans in the European Masters and second in the Fortinet Championship at Silverado when he really should have won.

And his prices this week are big.

Take him to make the top 10 with the FanDuel Sportsbook offering +1100 and add the top 20 at +450.

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Morikawa Can Pounce

It’s not been the best season for Collin Morikawa but we can still get him onside by backing him in a match bet with Keegan Bradley.

The latter was a winner last week in Japan, the first triumph in over four years and one which required a huge mental effort throughout the final round.

He was then seen on social media taking a very emotional call with his partner which left him in tears.

He also revealed that he would be spending Sunday night partying and watching NFL at 2 am.

Add in the physical difficulty of jetlag and he might be pushed to perform this week.

Morikawa leads the career head-to-head count 30-18 and is 5-1 up in their last six shared starts.

Take him at -120 to win the match bet with BetMGM.

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How to Watch The CJ Cup

TournamentThe CJ Cup
LocationCongaree Golf Club, South Caroline
TimeThursday, October 20 - Sunday, October 23
How to watchThursday, Friday & Saturday 3-6 pm ET, Sunday 2.30-5.30 pm ET (Golf Channel). And all four days on Sky Sports.
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Image for Matt Cooper

Matt Cooper

Golf Betting Analyst

Betting Picks
Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics.
Nationality: British
Education: Bachelor of Arts (History)
Favourite Sportsbook: bet365 Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: BetMGM Casino
16 years
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