Martin Laird looks to continue his love-affair with TPC Summerlin as he defends his title at the Shriners Children’s Open. A handful of Ryder Cuppers from the victorious U.S. side will also make their return to the PGA TOUR for the first of two consecutive events in Las Vegas. THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT will be conducted the following week.
FIELD NOTES: Eleven of the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking are scheduled to compete, led by No. 8 Louis Oosthuizen… Brooks Koepka and Ryder Cup teammates Harris English and Scottie Scheffler also will play at TPC Summerlin, while two former Ryder Cuppers, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed, will make their return to action. Each will be making their first start of the season… Masters winners Danny Willet and Hideki Matsuyama are competing in Las Vegas… In all, nine major champions are set to play TPC Summerlin… A few members of Team Europe are returning to action on TOUR, as well, including Ian Poulter and Viktor Hovland and vice captain Graeme McDowell… Will Zalatoris, recently named the PGA TOUR’s Rookie of the Year, will look to build off his T5 in Las Vegas a year ago… Martin Laird returns to defend his Shriners victory from 2020 (captured after a dramatic playoff). Laird finished 75th in the FedExCup standings last season… Sponsor exemptions this year include Harry Hall, Kevin Yu, United States Air Force captain Kyle Westmoreland, and three-time European Tour winner Rasmus Hojgaard, who is just 20 years old. Yu finished fourth in this year’s PGA TOUR University rankings and parlayed that status into two top-10s in eight Korn Ferry Tour starts, including a runner-up.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: TPC Summerlin, par 71, 7,255 yards. For nearly 20 years TPC Summerlin has hosted the PGA TOUR’s Shriners Children’s Open. Bobby Weed designed the course – which is carved through rugged desert terrain – alongside Fuzzy Zoeller as the player consultant. It boasts raw landscape features, lush bentgrass greens, numerous water features, and meanders through canyons and arroyos.
STORYLINES: Funny enough, the winning score the last two years has been 23 under, with both the 2019 and 2020 editions of the tournament going into playoffs… Twelve golfers with ties to the Las Vegas area, including two-time Shriners winner Kevin Na, will look to take advantage of the familiar setting… The first couple of events on the PGA TOUR schedule are perfect opportunities for rookies to test their mettle against some of the best in the world and also earn valuable FedExCup points… This year’s Shriners marks the 25th anniversary of Tiger Woods earning his first PGA TOUR win at TPC Summerlin. He defeated Davis Love III in a playoff to win in just his fifth start as a pro.
72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Ryan Moore (2012), Webb Simpson (2013).
18-HOLE RECORD: 59, Chip Beck (3rd round, 1991 at Sunrise GC). TPC Summerlin record: 60, J.J. Henry (1st round, 2013), Rod Pampling (1st round, 2016)
LAST TIME: In the field on a sponsor’s exemption, Martin Laird broke a seven-year PGA TOUR victory drought at the Shriners Children’s Open. If you recall: Laird was on the tee box when Jonathan Byrd ended the 2010 tournament with a walk-off ace in a sudden-death playoff. This time around Laird, on the second playoff hole, drained a 23-foot birdie putt to defeat Austin Cook and Matthew Wolff. This was Laird’s fourth career TOUR title. His final round included a shot-of-the-year candidate eagle hole out on No. 9 (he popped one in from a plugged lie in the bunker). This was the Scotsman’s second win at TPC Summerlin. He also won here in 2009. Abraham Ancer finished fourth, while Peter Malnati, James Hahn, and Will Zalatoris rounded out the top five. Fifty-four-hole leader Patrick Cantlay finished T8 alongside Bryson DeChambeau, amongst others.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. (Featured Groups).
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 3 p.m.-8 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).