Sobel’s Charles Schwab Challenge Matchup Preview: The Market Is Overreacting to Jordan Spieth
Peter Casey, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jordan Spieth
- Jordan Spieth finally got back on track at Bethpage Black last weekend, but a deeper look at his stats suggests it may have been a mirage.
- Jason Sobel wonders if the market is overreacting to Spieth's finish, rather than his play.
Just one week ago, the narrative around Jordan Spieth was that something was broken, as he hadn’t finished in the top-20 anywhere since last summer.
He went off at 66-1 for the PGA Championship and while he didn’t exactly seriously contend, a share of third place helped alleviate some criticism and give him some confidence.
It also turned the tables on his pricing.
He opens this week at +1200, just slightly behind Justin Rose and Jon Rahm, on a Colonial CC course where he owns a win and two runner-up results in his young career.
That might be too much, too soon, as he enters the week in a matchup against a player who’s clearly fared better so far this year.
Rickie Fowler over Jordan Spieth (-115)
What a difference a week makes. Prior to last week, Spieth was a massive underdog in matchups against the likes of Patrick Cantlay, who is a talented player (and tied him), but doesn’t quite have Fowler’s pedigree. One T-3 later and Spieth is a pick-‘em in this one, despite the fact that Fowler has been the much, much better player lately.
As I wrote in my tournament preview, Spieth’s resurgence at Bethpage came largely on the greens, where he gained more than 2.5 strokes per round on the field. If we believe that type of number isn’t sustainable – and it’s not – then he’ll need to fall back on his ball-striking, which still left something to be desired last week. I think Spieth is clearly taking huge strides in the right direction, but this number is clearly an overreaction to his performance last week.
I love Fowler in this one, off his T-14 finish here last year.
Paul Casey over Tony Finau (-120)
The nice thing about being a very good player, but not a great one yet, is that the general population tends to give you a pass when you’re slumping a bit. Just ask Spieth, who would’ve welcome such a free pass over the past few months.
Other than at the Masters, Finau hasn’t had anything close to his best stuff so far – and I can’t imagine he finds it here, on a course that should feel claustrophobic and where he owns mediocre results in three starts. It should, however, be a nice venue for the straight-ball, high-ball hitting Casey, who owns three finishes of 13th-or-better in five career starts here.
Chez Reavie over Billy Horschel (-115)
Back in 2011, Reavie finished T-5 at this tournament; two years later, he was T-5. Since then? There’s been a whole lot of nothing, but I’m banking on those results changing this week.
He’s the type of player who might only have a legit chance of contending on 6-8 venues per season, but this is certainly one of ‘em. Nothing against Horschel, who’s had a solid-not-spectacular campaign. This one just screams Reavie, though, who owns a slight advantage in ball-striking statistics this year.