Even though the fall leg of the PGA Tour is four events in, the CJ Cup from the Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina, feels like the unofficial start to the season. That’s because it’s the best field we’ve had thus far, and many top golfers are making their 2022/23 season debut.
Of those in this field are 15 of the top 20 golfers in the world, including odds-on favorite Rory McIlroy, who is the +700 favorite to defend his 2021 CJ Cup win that was the kickstarter to his FedEx Cup Championship last season.
CJ Cup Event Overview
This is a very tough event to handicap, first off, since it’s only been around since 2017. The CJ Cup was started by South Korea based the CJ Group, and thus it was originally designed to be held at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island in South Korea.
Justin Thomas took two of the first three CJ Cup tournaments in 2017 and 2019 when they were held in South Korea (Brooks Koepka the other in 2018).
Since the travel restrictions from the pandemic hit, this tournament has rotated, first at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, won by Jason Kokrak, then the Summit Club in Vegas, where McIlroy won last season, and now Congaree.
About Congaree Golf Club
McIlroy has value as the odds-on favorite just because he’s one of the best golfers in the world, not because he was the CJ Cup champion a year ago because this event is at a totally different course.
Only one other TOUR event has been held at the Congaree Golf Club, the 2021 Palmetto Championship. Garrick Higgo won that event at -11 while a contingent of Hudson Swafford, Doc Redman, Jhonattan Vegas, Tyrell Hatton, Bo Van Pelt, and Chesson Hadley tied for second a stroke back.
Hatton (+400) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (+2200) are the only golfers who finished in the top 10 at the Palmetto Championship in 2021 who are playing this year’s CJ Cup.
A Very Competitive Field
It’s the best field of the season in Ridgeland, but you can find fault with nearly every one of the favorites. McIlroy, Thomas (+1400), and Fitzpatrick, for example, are all making their season debut.
Scottie Scheffler, the world #1, had a meltdown on the final day of the TOUR Championship last season and carried that over to a horrible 0-3-1 showing at the President’s Cup.
Jon Rahm (+900) could be fighting fatigue after winning the Spanish Open last weekend, while a whole slug of golfers in this field like Sungjae Im (+2200), Cameron Young (+2500), Collin Morikawa (+2800), and Tom Kim (+2800) played across the globe last week at the ZOZO Championship in Japan.
The CJ Cup betting strategy should focus on guys who have the intangibles on their side. Golfers who have played events this season but have also had some rest – especially not playing last weekend in Japan. Two big names stick out that match that criteria, Sam Burns at +2200 and Max Homa at +2500.