60/161.00 Long will like test and has incentive
16/117.00 2019 winner Todd loves this type of track
55/156.00 Merritt has found form in Fall Series
The PGA Tour stays outside the US mainland again this week by making a fifth visit to the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
Bermuda acts as both location and grass type and the course, Port Royal, is one of the shortest around at this level. It measures just 6,828 yards and plays to a par of 71.
Not that it's a complete pushover though. Erik van Rooyen won last week's World Wide Technologies Championship on Tiger Woods' new course with 27-under. The last three runnings here produced winning totals of -19, -15 and -15.
The wind dictates plenty on this Robert Trent Jones design set by the Atlantic Ocean. Greens are slow just in case it really whips up although the early forecast suggests nothing too extreme this week.
This is the sixth of the seven Fall Series events and 53rd tournament of 54 on the lengthy 2022/23 season which began last September.
That means there are still playing privileges to be secured and, to prove how FedEx Cup motivation can add an extra angle, Van Rooyen was ranked bang on the bubble in 125th before winning last week.
Strokes Gained stats haven't been recorded here in the past so we're back to old skool DD, DA, GIR, Scr and PA.
It's the latter, Putting Average, that comes out best when looking at past editions as the four winners have ranked 3rd, 6th, 10th and 3rd in that category.
On first glance, it looks like a glitch in the stats when noting that Adam Long had 100% driving accuracy last week.
But it's true. The American found 56 out of 56 fairways on Tiger's track and, although they were generous, that's still fairly bonkers.
Of course, the stat that really counts is his finish and although tied 23rd was decent, it suggested he didn't really cash in.
Long scrambled and putted well enough but his iron play wasn't up to scratch, although note that he was 18th for Greens In Regulation on his previous start when tied 35th at the Shriners in Las Vegas.
In other words, if he can sharpen up his approaches, the pieces are there.
That includes motivation as Long enters the penultimate event of the season ranked 138th in the standings, a player on the outside looking in.
The good news is that at least Long will be able to decide his fate on two courses that should suit: this one and Sea Island, the scene of next week's RSM Classic.
Long, who ranks 41st in Strokes Gained: Putting, was 16th in the latter two years ago, his third straight top 35 there, while on his one start in Bermuda he shot three rounds of 68 to finish 44th. That doesn't look mindblowing but he was in poor form either side.
Looking at correlating form, Long has a fifth and an eighth in two of his last three starts at the Corales Puntacana. And even better, he boasts a second and a third at El Camaleon, the former host venue of the World Wide Technology Championship.
Those strong performances at coastal locations outside of the United States have to bode well, as does a 12th at Harbour Town last year.
With current form, correlating form and incentive on his side, he's well worth a punt.
It might be fair to describe Brendon Todd as an each-way cheat code in events like this.
The 38-year-old has the perfect game for a short, coastal test and he's in the sort of form to flourish here once more.
Let's start with this tournament as Todd won it on debut in 2019, shooting 24-under to capture the inaugural edition.
On his very next start a fortnight later, he hoisted the silverware at El Camaleon, a similar test to this one. Todd added eighth and 11th there on his next two visits.
Add in top fours at Sea Island and Harbour Town along with four top 20s in the Sony Open, the latest which came earlier this year, and we're very much in Brendon Todd territory.
With putting a key element here, it again looks ominous that Todd ranked first for SG: Putting on his very latest start: a sixth place at the Fortinet Championship.
That was his third top seven (we're seven each-way places this week in the field of 132) in six starts, the others coming via a second place in the John Deere and a seventh at the Wyndham Championship.
This is a tournament he loves and an island he adores too. "My parents honeymooned here and vacationed here at least once. I knew it was going to be nice when I came.
"I would say it actually exceeded expectations just by how clean and nice everything is here. The golf course sets up well for me."
At 47th in the FedEx Cup standings, Todd is already exempt into all the Signature Events next year so, in relaxed surroundings, he should be able to freewheel.
That makes him one to be on the right side of.
Troy Merritt entered the Fall Series with his card in jeopardy but he's moved up the standings to his current position of 119th.
He's not safe yet but one more good week will complete a successful dash to the line.
Merritt made his move with back-to-back top tens: a seventh in the Fortinet Championship in California followed by a ninth at the Sanderson Farms in Mississippi.
He's consolidated by making cuts at both the Shriners and the World Wide Technologies.
While down the field in both, he gave himself some momentum by finishing off with a 65 in Mexico last Sunday.
Merritt has made the top five in Driving Accuracy in each of his last four tournaments and DA was a key stat for the first two editions here. For his and Long's sake, let's hope it is again.
The two-time PGA Tour winner was 40th on his only start in Bermuda three years ago but he has some useful correlating form.
In the final two editions of the WWT Championship to be held at El Camaleon, he was third (2022) and 15th (2021) while he has a third, a 10th and a 12th at Harbour Town, once shooting a 61 there.