The PGA Tour schedule giveth, and the PGA Tour taketh away.
Last week, it gave us the CJ Cup, which featured 15 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. Rory McIlroy won to rise to No. 1.
This week, we have zero top 20 players at the fourth edition of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
It’s understandable given the last two weeks were no-cut, guaranteed money events that drew in the stars.
Bermuda is a more remote place to get to, and one that requires visitors to be vaccinated.
We’ve got a field of 132 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
PRGC has hosted each year. It’s a Robert Trent Jones design that opened in 1969 on Bermuda’s west coast in Southampton.
It’s one of the shorter courses on the PGA Tour schedule, measuring 6,850 yards for a par 71. Scores tend to be benign in Bermuda, especially if the wind is down. The course is relatively straightforward and the greens are undulating but not overly tricky and slower than average.
It should come as no surprise that Bermudagrass proliferates Port Royal from tee to green.
This is a common surface in the southeastern U.S., so if three years of course history at this event are not enough for you, a predictive tool for this week is to find guys who tend to thrive on the Florida swing.
Weather for the week does not look promising. Chances of storms are expected all week with temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit and double-digit mile-per-hour winds.
Let’s dive into this week’s top 10:
Most of my picks this week are up-and-coming names who may not necessarily have success at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
That’s not the case with Brian Gay, who is as big of a horse for course picks as you can have.
Even though he’s far past his prime of the late 2000s when he became a multiple-time PGA Tour winner and top 50 player in the world, the 50-year-old has a way of turning back the clock in Bermuda.
Gay finished T-3rd at the inaugural event in 2019. He posted 69-65-65-67.
In 2020, the former Florida Gator notched PGA Tour win No. 5. Gay posted 70-68-67-64 and beat Wyndham Clark in a playoff. He finished T-8th in the field in driving accuracy (58.93%) and almost hit 70% greens in regulation.
Gay defended his title admirably last year. He bounced back from an opening 75 to post 67-64-68 to be one of the best players over the final 54 holes and finish T-12th. A walk-off hole-out eagle on the par-4 18th was a fun way to finish.
Gay was third in the field in putts per green in regulation (1.581) and T-7th in birdies (19).
“I think it’s a combination of, you know, the weather, just similar to Florida. I don’t mind the wind,” Gay was transcribed by Tee Scripts in 2021.
"“I grew up on in bermudagrass, which the whole course is bermuda here. It’s not necessarily — it’s not a bomber’s course, you don’t necessarily have to hit it far, and there’s plenty of opportunities. Just stay out of trouble on a few holes where you’ve got to be careful and plenty of birdie chances out there without — you don’t need a lot of length to play well here.”"
Gay is mostly playing on the PGA Tour Champions these days. He’s coming off a T-6th finish last week at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. His last PGA Tour appearance was a withdrawal at the Wyndham Championship.
Gay’s last made cut on the PGA Tour was T-51st at the RBC Heritage, another short hitters’ paradise.
One of these years the run at the Bermuda Championship will end. I see Gay squeaking out one more top-10 at Port Royal.