The start of the PGA Tour’s revamped fall series is finally here as the Fortinet Championship kicks off a fall series that will culminate at the RSM Classic. After the RSM Classic, players inside the top 125 will receive their PGA Tour cards for the 2024 season. During the fall series, winners will receive the full 500 FedEx Cup points and an invitation to the Tournament of Champions to kick off the 2024 PGA Tour Season.
Players who can move up inside of the top 51 to 60 in the FedEx Cup Rankings during the fall series will receive invitations to the first two signature events in 2024. The new rules are part of why Justin Thomas tees it up this week at the North Course at Silverado Country Club.
Thomas will be joined by six players who finished the season inside of the top 50 in the FedEx Cup rankings. Max Homa, who has won back-to-back Fortinet titles coming into this year, is the headliner, but he will be joined by Cam Davis, Sahith Theegala, Andrew Putnam, Brendon Todd and Eric Cole. The weather looks like it will be partly cloudy, with temperatures in the low-to-mid-80s all week. The course shouldn’t play nearly as fast or as difficult as it did last year with this forecast. The Par 72 only measures a little over 7,100 yards with very little rough to deter players from pulling driver to set up wedge shots into the green.
The course as it is set up doesn’t favor bombers or accurate drivers of the golf ball. It favors players who can dial in their wedge shots, even if it is from the rough, while taking advantage of their birdie opportunities.
Sahith Theegala +2000 didn’t have the huge season I think we all expected in 2023, but he started to put some things together in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He finished T15 or better in his last two tournaments, with his best ball-striking performance at the BMW Championship. He gained more than 5 strokes tee to green that week, which should give him confidence heading into the fall series. He has three straight made cuts here, with his best finish coming last year as he finished sixth.
Cam Davis +2500 had a nice end to his season as he put up two top 7 finishes in the final weeks to push himself into the BMW Championship. He struggled with his putter at the BMW Championship, losing more than 5 strokes on the greens, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that. He has also won at Detroit Golf Club, which correlates well to the North Course at Silverado Country Club.
Eric Cole +3500 had a fantastic year in 2023 in almost every category except off the tee. The struggles off the tee held him back from contending at most places, but shouldn’t be much of an issue here. He made eight straight cuts before finishing in the top 31 in his FedEx Cup Playoff tournaments.
Team No Putt
JJ Spaun +3500 gained strokes off the tee in his last seven tournaments played while also gaining strokes on approach in 12 of his last 14 tournaments. When he lost strokes on approach it was a very small number. Spaun’s big issue in 2023 was his putter, as he lost a stroke or more on the greens in seven of his last eight tournaments. If he can right the ship with his putter, he could ball strike his way to a win this week.
Doug Ghim +5500 gained 5.78 or more strokes ball striking in five of his last eight tournaments in 2023. He lost more than 9 strokes with the putter at the Wyndham Championship, which will kill anyone’s stats with their putter.
Garrick Higgo +6500 gained strokes off the tee in all but one tournament since the RBC Heritage in April. His split from his swing coach saw him finish in a better finishing position in four straight weeks before missing his last cut at the Wyndham Championship.
Nate Lashley +10000 missed only two cuts since mid-April in 2023 and gained over 4.5 strokes on approach in four tournaments to cement his reputation as a classic ball striker. He has two top-17 finishes in the last five years and has some nice upside at this huge number.
Max Homa $11,000 is in play this week if you can stomach playing a few guys in the low 7K range that may have some warts on their game. Homa is head and shoulders above this field in both course fit and current form. I’m not a fan of betting him to win at 7.5-to-1 to win, but paying $11,000 is a discount when it comes to DFS.
Stephan Jaeger $10,200 had a great season in 2023. He didn’t miss a cut since the RBC Heritage, and he had six top 20 finishes during that time, with his final T20 coming in his last tournament at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. He gained over 4.6 strokes tee to green in four of his last six tournaments.
Cam Davis $10,100 See above.
Sahith Theegala $9,800 See above.
Eric Cole $9,500 See above.
Beau Hossler $9,300 has never been consistent during his time on the PGA Tour, but he may have found a way to compete more consistently in 2023 as he became a better golf ball driver. He gained strokes off the tee in 13 of his last 16 tournaments. He gained over 7 strokes tee to green in his last tournament.
JJ Spaun $9,200 See above.
Akshay Bhatia $8,700 gained more than 2 strokes off the tee in six of his last eight tournaments, with one being a win at the Barracuda. Over the last year, his putter has been an issue, but I like his upside at this price.
Mark Hubbard $8,300 pops up in my model every time I run it. Hubbard has three top-21 finishes in his last four tries and is an excellent wedge player from the fairway or the rough.
Doug Ghim $8,000 See above.
Peter Kuest $7,900 took full advantage of his special temporary PGA Tour membership in 2023 while having some nice runs off the tee and on approach and showing signs he can get hot with the putter. He played well at the Rocket Mortgage and John Deere, which bodes well for a nice showing here.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout $7,800 keeps showing up in the top 10 in my model this week. He didn’t have the best season in 2023 as he struggled off the tee and around the greens, but he was still consistent on approach and put up solid putting numbers, which has been a key to his success as a professional.
Taylor Pendrith $7,800 made the cut each of the last two years here and profiles as a player that could surprise this week as he has popped at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. It looked like he turned a corner in early July as he gained 7.8 or more strokes ball striking in back-to-back tournaments, but he regressed as the pressure got greater down the stretch.
Garrick Higgo $7,700 See above.
Ryan Palmer $7,500 is not a name we are used to seeing tee it up this week, but he needs the FedEx Cup points if he wants to play in the tournaments he loves in 2024. He struggled with the putter last year, and age may be catching up with him, but I like taking a gamble on a hungry Ryan Palmer on an easy course.
Nate Lashley $7,400 See above.
Charley Hoffman $7,300 had a nice year in 2023 with his approach game as he battled back from injury. He gained over 10 strokes tee to green at the Wyndham Championship his last time out and will be looking to keep that momentum going this week.
Aaron Baddeley $7,100 has finished T36 or better on four of his last five trips here. Bads makes his living with his putter and his short game. His lack of firepower off the tee doesn’t hurt him here while his wedge game has always been pretty good.
Scott Stallings $7,100 had a rough time in 2023. His best finish since March was his T26 at the Masters. I’m rooting for a bounceback for Stallings, and I will sprinkle him in slime lineups at this low price.
Cameron Percy $6,700 has made four straight cuts here, three being top 25 finishes. He makes his living in weaker field events where ball striking is key. Preston Summerhays will get a lot of love down here, but I would rather look at guys like Percy or Zac Blair ($6,800) this week.
(Photo of Sahith Theegala: Michael Reaves / Getty Images)