NAPLES, Fla. — In the time of great PGA Tour Champion players, it is indeed hard to pick a winner for the 2023 Chubb Classic.
But by looking at each player’s game, their strengths and weaknesses, and comfort playing in Southwest Florida, here are six that should be frontrunners on the leaderboard Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club’s Black Course in order of their probability of victory.
Stricker, the 2021 Chubb winner, knows the courses down here as he used to be a member of Quail West.
In addition, he has the greatest short game and pitching game of the field. Why? His secret is he has very little wrist cock on his backswing. This allows him to control his distances better than most players. Winning at his level demands a great game 120 yards and in and he has that. Stricker is a control player as his swing has minimal wrist cock even with his full swing. I would expect most of his drives to be in the middle of the fairway.
If anybody is capable of following up on last year’s win it would be Langer Langer. His main strength is in his head, not in his technique. He is the first person since Jack Nicklaus who has the ability to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. His swing won’t get him the Hall of Fame but his brain will.
This guy has it all: great swing, great clubhead speed, great short game. In my opinion, he could still win on the PGA Tour. When his game is off he tends to get too fast from the top to impact. If you learn anything from Harrington it would be to slow down your transition from the top.
Furyk doesn’t allow his upright loopy swing to interfere with his ability to get the ball in the hole. What the average player can learn from this is what Arnold Palmer said about the golf swing when he said, ”Swing your swing.’”
Els has the tempo in his swing to offset any possible mechanical issues. His tempo would be good to copy.
Couples hits a nice controlled fade left to right. He hits the ball a long way because of his long swing arc and his aggressive opening of his hips. If you are looking for more distance, bump your hips laterally on the downswing and then rotate your hips quickly to the left. Couples has a swing designed for distance.
Remember that all tournaments are decided by two things:
How good your scoring clubs are
How well you putt
That being said, any one of the 78 players in this tournament could win. The guy that putts the best will win.
Dr. Jim Suttie is a former National PGA Teacher of the Year and is rated in the Top 50 Teachers by Golf Digest, and Top 100 Teachers in America by Golf Magazine. He runs the Jim Suttie Academy at TwinEagles.