Competition: Palmetto championship in the Congaree, 10.-13. June 2021
course: Congaree Golf Club, par 71, 7,655 yards. About an hour north of Savannah and halfway between Savannah and Charleston. Really in the middle of nowhere.
Wallet: $ 7.3 million total, $ 1.34 million to the winner
Defending champion: Yes, there is the catch. This tournament is a one-time replacement for the RBC Canadian Open. Which was canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns. Of course, it was also canceled in the early days of the pandemic in 2020. But this is not the RBC Canadian Open – is there a defending champion?
Fun fact: A new club, Congaree, was formed with a philanthropic mission. Founded by billionaires (including Bob McNair of Houston Texans), the land was bought and the space developed to provide opportunities for underserved youngsters from the lowlands. There is intensive golf training, but SAT preparation and college admission also help course participants. It’s an exclusive club whose members have invested enough to work with program participants. The Congaree Global Golf Initiative is truly a unique offer with an even more unique infrastructure and setting.
TV times: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. (CBS). So the usual GC / CBS setup, except without a half-hour break on the weekend between the networks.
‘Dawgs in the Field: 6. Harris English, Kevin Kisner, Keith Mitchell, Sepp Straka, Hudson Swafford, and the professional debut of the UGA graduate and 2021 All-American Davis Thompson.
There are a lot of premieres this week. It’s the first time the Palmetto Championship has been played (and no news on whether it will return in the future), the first time the Canadian Open has not been played since the World Wars in a row, the first time the state of South Carolina has hosted three PGA Tour tournaments (RBC Heritage in April, the PGA Championship in Kiawah in May), the exclusive Congaree Golf Club will be televised for the first time, and Davis Thompson will serve for the first time in a professional tournament as a professional.
The course will be the focus. It’s a Tom Fazio design, and while it’s only a few years old, it’s already ranked in the top 100 places in the United States. It’s a beast too – the par 4 8th hole can play 540 yards. There are natural areas (lowland sand) everywhere and they will play as natural areas (club grounding allowed). Water is in abundance, the lawn is firm and fast, and the greens will be lightning fast. As far as I can tell, it resembles Pinehurst # 2 (since the Gil Hanse redesign) and resembles Pine Valley. A gunsmith course and make no mistake.
The field has stars, but the week leading up to the US Open will always result in some professionals dropping out to prepare for our national championship. The fact that the US Open is being played in San Diego also plays a role – many players don’t want to face four days on a long course with a goal on Sunday afternoon when faced with an overland flight and subsequent jet lag.
But Dustin Johnson, the world number 1, will be there since he is a SC citizen. Other Palmetto State residents will also compete. Like Kisner, Dustin Johnson, Lucas Glover, Scott Brown, Jonathan Byrd, etc. Brooks Koepka will make it and probably bring a truck with Michelob Ultra to calm all the Columbia guys down. Jon Rahm will be in an unfamiliar place, weighing the value of vaccination and the good of society against reasons he didn’t have. It has only cost him $ 1.6 million so far.
On a US Open preview page, Greyson Sigg (currently third in Korn Ferry Tour points) and youngest UGA graduate Spencer Ralston shared third place in the Atlanta US Open qualifier on Monday. That was good enough to move on and both will play at the US Open in Torrey Pines next week. That brings a total of 8 Georgia Bulldogs to San Diego. We’ll be back with a US Open preview next week, but for now let’s check out Congaree and step on Davis Thompson for his full-time PGA tour card. And like always…
GO DAWGS !!!