The CJ Cup is the second consecutive tournament to take place in Las Vegas, with Sungjae Im capturing the Shriners Children’s Open at nearby TPC Summerlin last week. The Summit Club is hosting the event for the first time, with Shadow Creek serving as the site in the same city last year after the tournament was moved from South Korea due to Covid-19.
A limited field of 78 golfers will tee it up at the 7,431 yard, par 72 Tom Fazio layout that provides great views of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s the first time the PGA Tour players will tee it up at The Summit, but two-time major winner and Ryder Cup player Collin Morikawa is a member there, and several others have ties to Sin City.
Jason Kokrak is the defending champion, defeating Xander Schauffele by two shots at Shadow Creek for his first win after competing for over nine years on the PGA Tour. He’ll be joined in the field by multiple champion Justin Thomas, who won two CJ Cups when the event was held in South Korea.
Since only the top 60 finishers in the 2021 FedEx Cup race, top players from the Asian and Korean tours, along with eight sponsor exemptions, qualify for the tournament, it presents the deepest field of the young season. Thirty of the top 50 players in OWGR are playing as well as 17 of the 24 participants in the recent Ryder Cup competition.
The betting favorite, which has been the trend over the past couple of seasons when he’s in the field, is Dustin Johnson at +1000. Although he didn’t finish 2021 the way he started the season, DJ’s performance in the Ryder Cup might have signaled a return to form.
Schauffele, last year’s runner-up at a different course, is at +1200, along with Thomas, followed by four-time major champion Rory McIlroy at +1600 with U.S. Ryder Cup stars Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa at +2000. Sam Burns, who won earlier this season at the Sanderson Farms Championship, is joined at +2220 by Louis Oosthuizen, who is still in search of his elusive first victory on United States soil.
Dustin Johnson has won every season he’s been on Tour and hasn’t picked up a victory since the 2020 Masters that was delayed until November due to the pandemic. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the 24 time Tour winner make it 25 and take off any pressure he might feel to continue his impressive streak.
As a member, Morikawa will bring the most course knowledge to the tournament of any Tour player, which should serve as an advantage to someone as talented as he is and with the momentum from an outstanding Ryder Cup performance. He seemed to slump a bit after his Open Championship victory in July, but at +2000, the two-time major champion is a bargain.
Jordan Spieth is showing signs of a return to the form that he exhibited from 2015 to 2017 when he racked up ten Tour wins, including three major championships, and seemed to sink every putt he attempted inside 25 feet. With such a strong field, this tournament has a WGC or major feel to it, and Spieth is hungry for a signature win.