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5 Things for the Charles Schwab: Star power, underdogs, Hogan and Texas-sized rides


Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, has been one of the PGA Tour’s landmark stops for three-quarters of a century.

And this week, it’s time for the 75th edition of the Charles Schwab Challenge, which, again, possesses plenty of star power, underdog stories, history and souped-up rides.

Here’s five things you need to know for the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial.

Major star power

If you’re looking for an encore of last week’s PGA Championship, you may be in luck.

Two of last week’s contenders, Will Zalatoris and Mito Pereira, who both were a hair short of claiming the Wanamaker Trophy, will be looking for vengeance at Colonial.

Plus, some of the game’s most notable names, such as Jordan Spieth, (who was runner-up at Colonial to Jason Kokrak last year), Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns, Viktor Hovland and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler will look for a bounce back week after a lackluster PGA.

All eyes, however, will be on the most recent major champion, Justin Thomas, who’s looking to become the first player to win a major and again the following week since Tiger Woods in 2006 (PGA/WGC-Bridgestone Invitational).

Full-field tee times from Charles Schwab Challenge

History class

The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial is the longest-running non-major annually contested at the same course.

Ben Hogan won the tournament’s first two editions and got his 64th and final Tour win at Colonial in 1959. The Texan has the most wins at Colonial (five) — the course is often referred to as “Hogan’s Alley” — and is the last to successfully defend a title there (1952, ’53). Of any active Tour event, it has the longest back-to-back winner drought.

Along with Hogan, the tournament has crowned top-flight champions such as Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Spieth.

Colonial’s history, though, goes beyond its past champions.

It hosted the 1941 U.S. Open — the first time the championship was held in the south. The ’91 U.S. Women’s Open was also played there. At the ’03 Charles Schwab, Annika Sorenstam became the first woman to compete in a Tour event in 50-plus years. And in 2020, the tournament was the first after the Tour was forced into a 13-week lull due to COVID-19.

A Texas-sized prize

This week’s champion won’t just take home the winner’s trophy, a lump sum of cash and a tartan jacket, but they’ll also pimp their ride, receiving a 1979 Firebird.

In 2019, the first year Charles Schwab sponsored the event, Kevin Na, that year’s champion, was presented with a 1973 Dodge Challenger, which he gave to his caddie.

No vehicle was awarded to 2020 winner Daniel Berger due to COVID. However, last year, Texas native Kokrak took home a 1946 Dodge Power Wagon.

“I’ve probably got about 550 miles on it now,” Kokrak said Tuesday ahead of his title defense. “Picked my son up from school in it the day I left for the Byron Nelson, so driving up to the school, everybody is like — they knew I was coming. They didn’t know I was going to do it and drive the truck, but they were like, I can hear you coming in that thing.

“It’s pretty funny, people will stop in like the middle of the road when I’m stopped at a stop sign and take pictures of it, and you get the thumbs up all the time from the road crews and whoever is watching. It’s been a really fun thing. Our Christmas card with me and my family was all based around the truck.”

Glimpse into the future?

Three of this year’s sponsor’s exemptions include youngins who already possess ample hardware. They come to Colonial looking to become the first player since Sergio Garcia in 2001 to win in their Charles Schwab debut.

Let’s start with the reigning U.S. Amateur champion: James Piot. The fifth-year senior at Michigan State has made three Tour starts this year (Arnold Palmer Invitational, Masters and RBC Heritage) but has missed the cut in all of them. Will the 23-year-old make his first Tour cut this week — and maybe more?

Piot will be joined in the field by the second most recent U.S. Amateur champion: Tyler Strafaci.

And finally, John Pak. The New Jerseyan won the Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Fred Haskins Award award last year and finished his final year at Florida State (2021) first in the PGA Tour U rankings.

After his standout college career, Pak got his feet wet on Tour rather than accept eight Korn Ferry Tour exemptions, and made two cuts in seven starts. This season, he’s playing a full KFT schedule and has only one top-30 finish. In three Tour starts this season, he’s made one cut (Arnold Palmer Inv., T-52). But maybe in his Charles Schwab debut, Pak, 23, has a breakout week.

Erik Compton

The 42-year-old’s story is one of golf’s most inspirational.

Compton, who has viral cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart becomes inflamed and cannot properly pump blood, is a two-time heart transplant recipient. His first came 30 years ago in 1992 and his second in ’08.

Even though he’s been told multiple times that his career was over, he continues to defy the odds. Compton has played over 20 times a year on the KFT since 2017 and has gotten exemptions into five Tour events since ’16, making one cut.

That cut? A T-20 in 2021 at Colonial.

Back this year on a sponsor’s exemption, the Golf Writers Association of America’s 2009 Ben Hogan Award winner would certainly love to be another indelible moment in Hogan’s Alley’s history.