This week’s 2023 Shriners Children’s Open already in the spotlight
This week’s 2023 Shriners Children’s Open has garnered attention due to one particular player in the field – and it’s not defending champion Tom Kim or rising superstar Ludvig Aberg. It’s none other than Lexi Thompson, who has received a sponsor’s exemption to compete and will become only the seventh woman ever to play in a PGA Tour event.
This announcement has caused quite a stir on social media, with many expressing their consternation. However, let’s address a few misconceptions. Firstly, Thompson is not “taking a spot” from a potential PGA Tour regular. Sponsor’s exemptions are invitations extended by sponsors to select players, and they have every right to invite whomever they choose. These exemptions are a way for sponsors to generate awareness and interest in the tournament.
Surprisingly, it’s not the professionals themselves who complain about these exemptions going to non-regulars. It’s primarily those who are not involved in the game who criticize these choices. Sponsors often use their exemptions strategically to draw attention to their events. Therefore, it’s unfair to place blame on Thompson for accepting this opportunity.
Another objection raised is that Thompson won’t make the cut. However, the “make/miss cut” criteria should not be the sole measure of success or failure. Players, regardless of gender, can make the cut and still feel unsatisfied with their performance, or they can miss the cut and take positive experiences from the tournament. This week, Thompson’s success should be measured by the impact she has on young girls attending or watching the event, especially since the tournament’s charitable efforts focus on children.
Some may argue that Thompson’s recent controversies, such as her refusal to answer media questions at the Solheim Cup, raise valid concerns about her participation in this event. It’s also fair to question her selection over other accomplished female players. However, Thompson’s recent LPGA results should give her confidence, even though she has limited experience in Las Vegas.
The consternation surrounding Thompson’s inclusion in the field is not completely unfounded, but it should be directed towards the sponsor’s decision rather than Thompson herself.
This Week’s Selections
Outright Winner (Short odds)
Adam Schenk (+4000)
Adam Schenk is my top pick for this week. He has consistently showcased his potential to win at this level, with strong performances in recent tournaments. Schenk’s record at TPC Summerlin, the venue for this event, is also impressive. I expect his confidence and previous successes to work in his favor.
Outright Winner (Long odds)
Webb Simpson (+11000)
When it comes to the Shriners Children’s Open, I’ve noticed that players who stay away from the distractions of Las Vegas tend to perform well. Webb Simpson fits this profile and has a track record of strong performances in this event. Although he might not be the favorite, I believe Simpson has the ability to outperform his ranking.
Ludvig Aberg (+1100)
Ludvig Aberg’s recent performance at the Ryder Cup demonstrated his exceptional skills, even though he had a slight dip during the tournament. Aberg is undoubtedly a talented player who could dominate this field. If you’re looking for a safe and straightforward choice for one-and-done pools, Aberg is your best bet.
Taylor Montgomery (+7500)
Although Taylor Montgomery’s recent form hasn’t been stellar, returning to his Vegas roots might be the catalyst he needs to turn things around. Montgomery displayed his potential in his rookie year, and I believe he still has the ability to deliver a strong performance in this tournament. If you want to avoid using a top-tier player like Aberg, Montgomery offers significant upside potential.
Placement Market Bets
Davis Thompson (+1000 for a top-five finish)
Go ahead and surprise everyone by choosing Davis Thompson for a top-five finish. While Lexi Thompson isn’t exactly making waves in the field, Davis Thompson could be a dark horse contender who exceeds everyone’s expectations.
Daniel Miller takes readers to the greens with his passion for golf. He offers coverage of major golf tournaments, player achievements, and insights into the sport’s rich history, making him a trusted source for golf enthusiasts.