News & Opinion

2020 Colonial: Featured pairings spotlight Nos. 1-2-3 in world

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka 2019 Memphis
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (left), who is ranked No. 1 in the world, will join American Brooks Koepka (right), who is No. 3, plus No. 2 Jon Rahm of Spain in the featured pairing Thursday as the PGA Tour restarts the season at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka will play in the featured three-ball as the PGA Tour returns Thursday at Colonial

The PGA Tour can be excused for showing off just a bit this week. After all, it has been three months since the Tour held a tournament, and with such a strong cast of contenders in Fort Worth, Texas, for the restart, why not highlight the best of the bunch?

Well, that's what we'll have this week.

After a three-month suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour will tee it up Thursday at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge. The field will feature 15 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, notably the top five. And among that world-class lineup, the top three in the world will be paired together for the first three rounds, the Tour announced Monday: No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, No. 2 Jon Rahm of Spain and No. 3 Brooks Koepka of the U.S.

Tee times are expected to be released Tuesday.

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka: They rank Nos. 1-2-3, respectively, in the world and form the ultimate power group for a regular-season event. McIlroy will be making his first start at Colonial. In three starts at Colonial, Rahm has posted two top-5 finishes, including a T-2 in 2017. Koepka finished second in 2018 during his lone appearance at Colonial, highlighted by 63s in the second and fourth rounds.

Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth: Among the three Americans, Thomas enjoys the hottest season, with victories at the CJ Cup and the Tournament of Champions, plus a critically acclaimed showing off the course. Fowler owns two top-10s in six starts, and Spieth, a Dallas native and lifetime resident, has one victory (2016) and two runners-up (2015, 2017) in seven starts at Colonial.

Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose: DeChambeau posted three top 5s in his most recent starts before the season was suspended, and Johnson is a 20-time winner on the Tour who was struggling early this year. Rose won at Colonial in 2018, when he also won the Tour’s Fed Ex Cup title.

Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland: Mickelson, who won two of his 44 PGA Tour titles at Colonial, will be paired with the defending champion in Na, who also won in Las Vegas in the fall. Woodland, the reigning U.S. Open champion, has posted four top-10s this season.

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