The PGA and European tours took last week off because of the Ryder Cup, which Team USA won by a 19-9 margin over Team Europe. That is the largest margin of victory for either side since the event went to a USA vs. Europe format in 1979. There were few bright spots for the European side at Whistling Straits, but Sergio Garcia was one of them as he went 3-1-0 and formed a strong partnership with fellow Spaniard and World No. 1 Jon Rahm. Garcia (20-1) is the lone Ryder Cup participant from either team who will tee it up this week in Mississippi, but he does so as the Sanderson Farms Championship’s defending champion.
Sam Burns (16-1), from nearby Shreveport, La., made his PGA Tour debut in this event in 2017, and this week's shortest price finished T-3 here in 2018. Much has been made of the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team being the youngest and arguably most talented in recent memory. It will be difficult to crack that lineup of 12 players for the 2023 event in Rome. Burns and Will Zalatoris (18-1) are two talented 25-year-olds who will certainly be striving for it. Zalatoris no longer needs to worry about becoming an official PGA Tour player and can focus solely on earning his first PGA Tour victory. Sungjae Im (18-1) lost in a playoff here to Sebastian Munoz (50-1) in 2019. Corey Conners (18-1) also finished runner-up in 2018.
The Sanderson Farms Championship has been part of the PGA Tour schedule since 1968 when it began as the Magnolia State Classic. It has had a variety of names over the years, including the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic, Southern Farm Bureau Classic, Viking Classic and the True South Classic before Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer in the United States and based in Laurel, Miss., took over as the title sponsor in 2013. The tournament began as a satellite event (money earned counted, but wins were unofficial) but became an official Tour event in 1994. After spending nearly a quarter-century as an alternate event, it became a full tour event in 2019. The winner now gets full FedEx Cup points, a two-year tour exemption, and spots in the Masters, PGA, Players and Sentry TOC.