Celebrities got things started last week with a raucous party-type atmosphere at Edgewood Tahoe, where Tony Romo came out a winner.
Now, golf in the area gets a little more serious as PGA Tour pros arrive in Truckee, California, for the 24th Barracuda Championship.
The four-day event begins Thursday at the Tahoe Mountain Club on the Old Greenwood course.
Six former Barracuda champions are in the opposite-field event: Richy Werenski (2020), Andrew Putnam (2018), Chris Stroud (2017), Greg Chalmers (2016), JJ Henry (2012) and Scott Piercy (2011).
Local standout Ollie Osborne, a Bishop Manogue High School graduate who later played at SMU, is in the field on a sponsor exemption.
David Longmire, who won the 2022 Reno Open, a mini-tour event, in June, also earned a spot in the tournament.
One player who will not be at the Barracuda is defending champion Eric van Rooyen. He earned his first career PGA Tour win at the 2021 Barracuda Championship and that earned him a spot in the British Open this week at St. Andrews.
He became the first player with a winning score of +50 since the Modified Stableford scoring system was introduced in 2012. He is the sixth consecutive first-time winner of the Barracuda Championship but the first since Collin Morikawa in 2019 to win the tournament in his debut.
Van Rooyen’s score of +50 (+7/+17/+10/+16), set a record for the Modified Stableford format event. Geoff Ogilvy finished the 2014 Barracuda at +49.
The Barracuda is the only PGA Tour event that uses that scoring system. It’s also the only Tour stop held opposite a major championship.
The field includes 50 players from the DP World Tour.
Top players to watch
Maverick McNealy, who has top-20 finishes in back-to-back events, and is the 12-1 favorite according to Tipico. McNealy ranks third in eagles, 18th in birdie average and 34th in scoring average this year.
Other top contenders include Alex Noren, Cam Davis, Mark Hubbard and Taylor Pendrith.
Hubbard is coming off his best finish of the season with a third place at the Barbasol Championship. He has made 14 cuts with six top-25 finishes in 18 events.
Noren, who is from Sweden, has 11 wins as a professional, none on the PGA Tour, with most in Europe. He finished ninth in the Barracuda in 2020. He’s coming off a 30th-place finish at last week’s Genesis Scottish Open, which ended a streak of missed cuts in three straight tournaments.
Fans watch the 2020 Barracuda Championship at Tahoe Mt. Club’s Old Greenwood golf course from a back porch in Truckee, California. (Photo: Tom R. Smedes/Special to Reno Gazette Journal)
Matthias Schwab could be another top player to watch this week, although he is listed at 35-1 odds. He’s coming off a 16th-place finish at the John Deere Classic. Schwab was in eighth after three rounds before shooting 1 over in his final round. Schwab earned his PGA Tour card last year and has three top-10 finishes in his rookie year. He has made 14 of 18 cuts, with five top-25 finishes this season.
More top contenders include Rasmus Hojgaard, who finished tied for 10th at the Scottish. He has only missed one cut through 12 starts on the DP World Tour and ranks 11th in driving distance for the season. Cam Davis is coming off an eight-place finish with four rounds in the 60s at the John Deere.
A first for crypto
The Barracuda Championship is the first PGA Tour event to accept cryptocurrency payments for tickets as well as hospitality and sponsorship packages. More than 300 different cryptocurrency are accepted, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin.
“We are incredibly excited to take this first step in innovating the sport we all know and love, and to offer our spectators a new way to enjoy the tournament,” said tournament director Chris Hoff. “The professional golf landscape continues to innovate and evolve, and we are honored to usher the PGA Tour into this new space.”
The Barracuda is also offering an exclusive VIP experience only to those golf fans who purchase with cryptocurrency. The VIP package will include private hospitality, an official tournament pro-am team and honorary observer experiences.
Begin approximately 7 a.m. local (10 a.m. ET) Thursday and Friday and 8:30 a.m. local (11:30 a.m.) Saturday and Sunday after the 156-player field is cut to the top 65 and ties.
Modified Stableford scoring
The Barracuda is the only PGA Tour event to use the scoring system, in which players earn points for aggressive play.
A double eagle is worth 8 points, an eagle is worth 5, a birdie earns a golfer 2, par is 0 points, bogey is minus 1 and double bogey or worse is minus 3.
The purse is $3.7 million with $666,000 going to the winner.
The Golf Channel will televise the Barracuda on Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. ET, Saturday and Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. ET.
1999 Notah Begay III
2000 Scott Verplank
2001 John Cook
2002 Chris Riley
2003 Kirk Triplett
2004 Vaughn Taylor
2005 Vaughn Taylor
2006 Will MacKenzie
2007 Steve Flesch
2008 Parker McLachlin
2009 John Rollins
2010 Matt Bettencourt
2011 Scott Piercy
2012 J.J. Henry
2013 Gary Woodland
2014 Geoff Ogilvy
2015 J.J. Henry
2016 Greg Chalmers
2017 Chris Stroud
2018 Andrew Putnam
2019 Collin Morikawa
2020 Richy Werenski
2021 Erik van Rooyen