Golf Pick ‘Em is back for another season of picks and prizes in the NBC Sports Predictor app.
The free-to-play game has returned in 2021 and continues this week with the Charles Schwab Challenge. Each week participants will choose between a series of head-to-head matchups, plus select an overall tournament champion and winning score.
Participants can compete for weekly cash prizes, with a $50,000 jackpot available for any participants who earn a perfect score (increasing up to $100,000 during some of the biggest events of the year). There will also be at least $1,000 awarded each week in cash and prizes, even if there is no player with a perfect score.
Here’s a look at some of the keys to this week’s set of 10 matchups at Colonial Country Club, where Daniel Berger returns to defend the title he won last summer when Fort Worth was the site of golf’s mid-pandemic return to competition:
Keys: The last time we were at Colonial, Berger lifted the trophy after Morikawa lipped out a short putt in overtime. Both have won this year, with Berger’s title at Pebble Beach and Morikawa winning at The Concession, and they’re coming off another major week in which Morikawa rallied for a T-8 finish while Berger struggled to a T-75 showing.
Keys: The longtime friends reunite on the Predictor app. Spieth missed out on another chance at the career Grand Slam at Kiawah but returns to his home state, not to mention a course where he won in 2016. Thomas won The Players in March but missed the cut at the PGA and finished T-10 last year at Colonial in his tournament debut.
Keys: The PGA champ against the Big Rig. Mickelson surprised the entire sport last week at Kiawah, winning his sixth major title at age 50, and he’ll return to a course where he won in both 2000 and 2008. Higgs might have been the happiest person on the Ocean Course outside of Lefty, having turned his major debut into a T-4 finish and a Masters berth. He finished T-38 last year at Colonial, while Mickelson missed the cut.
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Keys: Two former champions who may be teammates later this year at the Ryder Cup. Garcia won at Colonial 20 years ago in his tournament debut but is making just his third appearance since 2013, having missed the cut last week at the PGA. Rose blitzed the iconic layout en route to victory back in 2018 and continued to rekindle his game with a T-8 finish at Kiawah that included a final-round 67.
Keys: Two of the best ball-strikers in the field, both of whom were in the mix until the final round at the PGA. Niemann continued his Tour-best run of consecutive made cuts but faded to a T-30 result, while Conners held the 18-hole lead and ultimately finished T-17. Niemann has finished T-32 or better in each of his three appearances, while Conners has a similar record with three finishes of T-31 or better.
Keys: This matchup features plenty of local knowledge, with Palmer a longtime Colonial member and Kisner the 2017 champion of the event. Both men missed the PGA cut but will look to bounce back amid friendlier confines, with Palmer boasting four finishes of T-6 or better since 2012 and Kisner with three top-10s including his win four years ago.
Keys: Two notable veterans coming off a major missed cut. Kuchar’s springtime momentum stalled out at Kiawah but he has had some success at Colonial, including a runner-up showing in 2013. Johnson is even more decorated in Fort Worth, with wins in both 2010 and 2012 to go along with a third-place showing in 2013. Both are lean in recent results, both here and overall, but will look to get back on track at Hogan’s Alley.
Keys: A pair of Texans, both in search of their first career PGA Tour win. Scheffler shot a 59 during the playoffs last year and was a runner-up in the WGC Match Play this year in Austin, while Zalatoris was a runner-up at the Masters. Both men are coming in with some momentum after T-8 finishes at the PGA. Scheffler finished T-55 last year in his first tournament appearance, while this will be Zalatoris’ debut at Colonial.
Keys: They may not be flashy, but they’re likely to contend come Sunday. Both are coming in off top-20 finishes at the PGA, as Ancer shot the round of the week with a final-round 65 and Im finished the week T-17 at Even. Ancer finished T-14 here last year and has made the cut in all three trips to Colonial, while Im finished T-10 last year after four straight rounds in the 60s.
Keys: Two notable names who are coming off successful (albeit quiet) weeks in South Carolina. Finau rallied for a T-8 finish on the Ocean Course, his fourth straight top-10 at a major, while Reed notched a T-17 result. Finau has cracked the top 35 in all five Colonial starts, including a runner-up in 2019, and Reed has gotten incrementally better in four starts highlighted by a T-7 finish last year.