The Palmetto Championship at Congaree is a temporary, one-year replacement for the Canadian Open, which has been canceled due to the difficulties in holding a PGA Tour event north of the border while still maintaining Covid-19 protocols. The Canadian Open is expected to return in 2022 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, the site of the event in 2010.
Located 30 miles north of Savannah, Georgia, Congaree is the third course in South Carolina this season to host a PGA Tour event — the other two being nearby Harbour Town Golf Links, which hosted the RBC Heritage and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, which hosted the PGA Championship just a few weeks ago. World number one in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and South Carolina native Dustin Johnson is expected to play in advance of next week’s U.S. Open on the opposite coast at Torrey Pines.
He is joined in the field by OWGR number 7 Brooks Koepka and 10th ranked Tyrell Hatton. With the tournament wedged between the high-profile Memorial Tournament and the third major championship of the calendar year, it was difficult to attract many of the top players on Tour.
Only three of the top ten, five of the top 25, and eight of the top 50 players in the OWGR are in the field, which could give plenty of other players the opportunity to pick up a win or a high finish on a golf course none have played competitively on Tour. It was also a chance for players just out of college to pick up valuable sponsor exemptions as they attempt to work their way onto the Tour.
It’s time for Dustin Johnson to return to form in advance of a major championship.
Last Week at the Memorial
Although Jon Rahm’s Covid-19 related withdrawal caught most of the headlines, Patrick Cantlay was able to overcome Collin Morikawa on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to pick up his fourth PGA Tour title at the Memorial. Both players benefitted from Rahm’s withdrawal after he had built a six-shot lead following Saturday’s third round.
Favorite Picks at Congaree
It’s time for Dustin Johnson to return to form in advance of a major championship, and a stop in his home state could be what he needs to start playing up to his expectations. He was dominant to begin the 2020-2021 season, picking up his second major title at the Master in record fashion along the way.
Brooks Koepka, visibly not 100% in the PGA Championship on his way to a runner-up finish, hasn’t played since and, along with Johnson, is clearly the class of the field. The four-time major champion gets very focused around major championships, and with the lack of star power at Congaree, he stands a strong chance of coming out on top.
The 25th ranked player in OWGR, Sungjae Im, has been hanging around leaderboards all season and could be a significant factor this week. The former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year is a workhorse on Tour and may benefit greatly from the fact that the course will be unfamiliar to virtually everyone entered in the one-time stop on Tour.