Although the CJ Cup has a temporary home this year, the world’s best haven’t shied away with three of the top four in the world rankings teeing it up at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas this week.

The course is only 30 years old but is one of the most exclusive in the U.S. and the players can expect pristine conditions when the tournament gets under way on Thursday.

Rahm the rightful favourite 

Dustin Johnson’s withdrawal has left Jon Rahm heading the betting at 10/1. The world number two has been in sparkling form recently, with three top-sixes in his last four appearances. The Spaniard played pretty well at the US Open last time and his power should come to the fore this week with four par-fives as well as a driveable par-four.

He finished poorly at Winged Foot, though a break since might have done the 25-year-old good and he’s feared, but it’s world number four RORY MCILROY who gets the headline vote at 14/1.

McIlroy can roar in Vegas

McIlroy’s 2019/2020 season was very much one of two halves. During the first part of the campaign, the Northern Irishman’s form was superb with a tie for fifth his worst result in six appearances, including a win at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in November last year. However, since playing at the Charles Schwab Challenge in June, he’s only registered one top-10 in nine starts – a tie for eighth at the Tour Championship.

He would have taken encouragement from the performance at East Lake given his form prior to that and that new-found confidence showed with another good display at the US Open, where two poor rounds on Friday and Sunday cost him any chance of winning. He’s looked much more like the Rory of old in those two tournaments, though, and you feel this course might really play to his strengths.

As mentioned, there are plenty of scoring opportunities with two par-fives on each nine at Shadow Creek and McIlroy scores well on the longer holes, with the 31-year-old in the top 20 for par-five scoring last season. He’s arguably the best driver on tour when he’s on and that’s perhaps what cost him at the back end of last season, but recent videos on social as well as a change of driver suggest he might have got his mojo back.

For as good a player as McIlroy is, the lack of recent success is a surprise to all and he could easily record a more than overdue victory this week at a course that promises to suit.

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