This article is part of our Weekly PGA Preview series.
The PGA Tour heads to Northern California for another edition of the Fortinet Championship.
While we are now using the new schedule -- which is at least somewhat similar to the old schedule -- this event remains part of the 2022-2023 season, as the PGA Tour has finally ditched the awful fall start. Yes, come January of 2024, every golf pool in the world will start fresh, just the way it should have been all along.
We're back to it after a mini-break, and I know, it's tough to focus on a golf tournament at this time with football season in full swing and the Ryder Cup on the horizon, but it's been a while since we had a full-field event, so let's enjoy it. Recent form is going to be tough to gauge, as we haven't seen most of these guys in a while, but plenty of course history will make things a bit easier. The field is predictably light, but there is some star power at the top, and as always, there are plenty of young players trying to solidify a spot for the upcoming season.
All in all, there is plenty reason to tune in this week.
All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook as of 5:00 PM ET Wednesday.
Max Homa (7-1)
No surprise here, as Homa is one of a few big names in the field and perhaps the only one that's in the proper form at the moment. He's also the two-time defending champion, which is huge not only because we know he can get around this course but also because we know he will be dialed in. Something to look out for during the fall is motivation, as a lot of these better golfers will play to stay sharp, but might not be as invested in winning as they generally are. Homa looks like a good play at this number.
Justin Thomas (18-1)
I was hoping to see some longer odds on Thomas and proclaim him a sneaky long shot, but alas, he's installed as the second favorite, which means there's absolutely no value in this play. Thomas will turn it around at some point, and quite honestly I expect him to play well with the Ryder Cup looming. However, I don't expect him to win, and with odds like this that's what you are looking for.
Sahith Theegala (18-1)
Okay, so maybe there are only two big names in the field, as while Theegala might be a star someday he still has plenty of work to do. Theegala is an interesting play because he comes in with some momentum from the FedExCup Playoffs, but he hasn't played for a month. He posted a T6 here last year, so while this price doesn't offer much value, he's worth a long look because I like his chances to wind up in the winner's circle.
THE NEXT TIER
Stephan Jaeger (22-1)
Jaeger knows how to win. He's done it plenty of times. He hasn't done so on the PGA Tour, but that could change this week. With the way the FedExCup Playoffs are set up, there aren't many players in this field that come in with momentum. However, there are a couple guys that played well leading up the TOUR Championship and didn't reach that event. Jaeger is one of them, as he posted a top-20 in each of his last two starts but didn't have enough points to reach the finale.
Eric Cole (30-1)
Cole had a great rookie season -- which is technically still going I guess -- and I don't think he will slow down anytime soon. Unlike some other rookies that started well but faded, Cole finished fairly strong with a T25 at the BMW Championship. The only thing missing from his rookie season was a win, though he came close at The Honda Classic in February. Perhaps he finds that first victory this fall.
Andrew Putnam (40-1)
If this event were held a few weeks ago, Putnam would be a great option, as he was trending the right way before being forced to take a break. Unfortunately, his last start was a month ago now, so we can't be sure what form he is in. If he can pick up where he left off he should find himself in the mix.
Lucas Herbert (45-1)
We haven't seen Herbert for a while, as his most recent stateside start was in June. However, he played well that week at the Travelers Championship and notched a T15 in a loaded field. Herbert won an event in Japan during the spring, so he's no stranger to the top of the leaderboard. He just hasn't finished there in the U.S. Like many in the field he's hoping that will change this week. Herbert isn't the most consistent golfer, but he has a knack for popping here and there and playing very well from time to time.
Justin Lower (170-1)
Lower might be one of those guys that just plays well during the fall but can't quite seem to carry that over to the heart of the season. He finished T4 here this past year and went on to post another top-10 in Bermuda a few weeks after. As for the rest of the campaign? Well, there's a reason he's listed at this price.
Highly-chosen Pick: Sahith Theegala - I have to assume that most OAD pools ended with the TOUR Championship, but if your league is still going Theegala is a great option. If you are still playing, Homa is long gone and Thomas probably is too.
Moderately-chosen Pick: Stephan Jaeger - Jaeger was a highly-touted rookie two years ago, but he kind of fizzled out. He played pretty well this past year, though, and looks to be on his way back up. Jaeger is someone who should definitely be available, as there weren't many spots to deploy him prior to this.
Lightly-chosen Pick: Justin Lower - When you are looking for darts in a field like this you are really going down the list. Luckily, I found a potential diamond in Lower. He is not the most reliable golfer out there, but he has decent upside for someone in this range.
Buyer Beware: Justin Thomas - The tough part about this section is finding someone people might be high on, and in a field like this there aren't many who qualify. It's basically Thomas or Homa, and I'm not worried about the latter. I expect Thomas to play better this week, but he has been pretty bad for a couple months now, so I wouldn't expect too much.
This Week: Sahith Theegala and Eric Cole - We're in a bit of a tricky spot with the schedule in flux, so rather than focus on one player I will list a couple options to consider if your league is still going -- or just starting. I used Theegala in this event last year, so he's technically not available for me. However, he's my favorite option. Cole also looks like a quality one if you can go with him.
This Week: Sahith Theegala - I didn't use Theegala in this format from last year's Fortinet event through the TOUR Championship, so I'll casually go with him here. He played well here this past year, so I would expect him to be fully engaged once again. Besides, he hasn't built up enough cachet to overlook any event, and he needs to continue stacking up quality results.