Fortinet Championship 2022 Overview
The Fortinet Championship from Silverado Resort and Spa kickstarts the 2022/23 PGA Tour golf season. Last year this event kickstarted the rise of Max Homa, now famous for both his impeccable golf game, and top-class Twitter account.
The field this week is somewhat depleted compared to the 2021 renewal, this is a combination of the new LIV Golf Tour and the recent BMW Championships at Wentworth last week.
The Silverado course has seen vast improvements over the last 10 years, led by Jonny Miller. He has added length and a rerouting of holes since the original Trent Jones Jr design back in the 1960’s.
The North Course is a traditional, tree-lined course that has been arranged to be scoreable at the Fortinet Championship. The Par 72 course is not overly long at just over 7,120 yards, which has plenty of dog-legs and Napa Valley Oaks and Redwoods strategically placed to block approach shots, none of this will phase the players this week. The course’s main defence is the tight and narrow fairways, they are some of the hardest to hit on the PGA Tour circuit ranking in the top five hardest in 4 of the last 5 years. Given the narrow fairways you could be fooled into thinking this course suits players with precision off the tee, winner like Tway, Cameron Champ and Brandon Steele gives a twist to that narrative, all are super long off the tee and not the most accurate. The reason, quite simply the rough here on this resort course isn’t penal enough to stop the world best with a wedge in hand, something to bear in mind if making your own picks this week.
Expect a winning score in the high teens would be my prediction 15-20 under par, the field strength isn’t the best so I can’t see the player taking this course to pieces this week.
Let’s break down the key skill set required in order to lift that trophy come Sunday evening.
Key Skill Sets Required
- SG T2G – Although this is a resort course, it still demands solid T2G performance. I want to look for players who generally gain strokes over their competitors from T2G.
- SG Off The Tee – This is one of the hardest driving courses the players face all year, especially in terms of fairway width, where it ranks among the 5 hardest o tour. Ordinarily, you would think it is more about driving accuracy however that is not the case. The rough here isn’t too tough, meaning players can still attack pins from the rough as long as they miss on the correct side. Look for players who dominate the SG gained stats Off The Tee.
- Proximity 75-125 Yards – Over 30% of shots will come from this range, significantly more than the average PGA Tour event. The course is relatively short by modern-day standards and despite the narrow fairways the rough isn’t a huge punishment, therefore players can bomb it off the tee and try their luck from close to the greens with a wedge in hand.
- SG Around The Green – Not often do we see SG Around The Green as a key skill set on a resort course, but that’s the case this week. Silverado Resort and Spa has ranked in the top 10 hardest courses to get up and down from in 4 of the last 5 years.
- SG Putting – A mix of Bentgrass and Poa Annua to contend with this week for the players, which won’t be to everyone’s liking. Look for players who can excel with the Poa mix and those that consistently. Except for Brendon Steel’s win in 2018 and Grill in 2016 putting has been a significant factor in determining the outcome of this event.