Rookies target Sanderson Farms Championship

This alternate PGA Tour event provides lesser lights a chance to shine

Nick Taylor defends Sanderson Farms
Nick Taylor defends Sanderson Farms
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With many of the PGA Tour’s best in China for the HSBC Champions, the Sanderson Farms provides the lesser lights a chance to shine. Nick Taylor defends the title.

So far on the 2015-16 PGA Tour, youngsters have dominated and two rookies: Emiliano Grillo and Smylie Kaufman, claimed the first two titles of the season. The rookies will be hoping to continue that success this week. Patton Kizzire could be one to watch – leading money winner on last year’s Tour, he was second to Kaufman in Las Vegas.

This event moved on the PGA Tour schedule last year to coincide with the WGC-HSBC Champions, prior to that the tournament had been contested in the same week as The Open Championship.

The tournament began life in 1968 as the Magnolia State Classic and has always been held as an alternate event. Between 1969 and 1993, it took place in the week of the Masters. Craig Stadler, Luke Donald and Bill Haas are among the former champions.

Luke Donald short game secrets:

Last year Nick Taylor of Canada took the title after a superb final round of 66. He was the first Canadian to win on the PGA Tour since Mike Weir claimed the 2007 Open.

As an alternate event, this tournament doesn’t carry quite the same incentives as a regular PGA Tour event. It has a smaller purse and the winner doesn’t receive an invite to play in next year’s Masters. Still, for those in the field, victory could be a career-changer as first prize is over $700,000.

The weather forecast for the week is mixed with the chance of some rain and thunder on Friday and Saturday.

Venue: Country Club of Jackson, Jackson, Mississippi Date: Nov 5–8 Course stats: par 72, 7,354 yards Purse: $4,100,000 Winner: $738,000 Defending Champion: Nick Taylor (-16)

TV Coverage: Thursday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm Friday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm Saturday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm Sunday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm

Player watch:

Patton Kizzire – Leading money winner on last year’s Tour, Kizzire was tied second behind Smylie Kaufman in the Shriners.

Boo Weekley – He’s started this season slowly but he was tied second in this event last year and could draw on that good result this time out.

Jonas Blixt – It’s about time the talented Swede showed his best form again. This event could provide the perfect springboard for the 31-year-old to push on again.

Key hole: 16th – A very demanding par-4 of 469 yards. Swamp waits all down the left side of the hole and it cuts in across the fairway some 80 yards short of the green. The safe tee shot is played to the right side of the fairway but this will leave a long shot in. The approach is just as testing as the drive – water waits left and a large bunker guards the putting surface to the right. A par here is a very good score.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?