The excitement for the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge grew exponentially with the news that world No. 1 Rory McIlroy would be making his Colonial debut.
This would be the reigning FedEx Cup champion’s first appearance at either of the two DFW-area PGA Tour events. He has played in Texas at the Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Valero Texas Open in San Antonio and the Houston Open.
The world's top-ranked golfer @McIlroyRory is expected to make his Colonial debut next month (per his website). Last world No. 1 to play? Adam Scott, who won the 2014 event. https://t.co/F0bTYGovL6
As of May 13, McIlory’s website lists him playing the first three events: Charles Schwab Challenge, RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links and Traveler’s Championship at TPC River Highlands.
“That’s my plan, play the first three. I think it will be nice to get back out and play,” McIlroy said on PGATour.com. “Obviously we’re going to have to take as many precautions as possible to be able to put TOUR events on again, but I think the PGA TOUR has got a very robust plan in place, and if they can execute it the right way, I see no reason why we can’t start June 11. If we do, I’ll be ready to go in Fort Worth.”
In his last six events, McIlroy has finished in the top five, including a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
He won three times in the 2019 season including The Players Championship and the Tour Championship en route to joining Tiger Woods as the only players to win the FedEx Cup twice since it began in 2007.
McIlroy is set to play this weekend in the TaylorMade Driving Relief alongside Dustin Johnson as they take on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.
McIlroy joins a list of golf luminaries playing at Colonial that already includes Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Max Homa, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau and Matthew Wolff.
McIlroy’s inclusion means that six of the top 10 in the world rankings are committed to play in the PGA Tour’s scheduled return at Colonial, the week of June 8-14.
The remaining top 10 players who have yet to commit are No. 2 Jon Rahm, No. 4 Justin Thomas, No. 6 Adam Scott and No. 7 Patrick Cantlay and it is possible that they could all be in the field when it becomes finalized in June.
Rahm has played at Colonial the past three years and is the only two-time winner of the Ben Hogan Award (given to the best college golfer in the United States) that is annually presented during the Colonial week’s festivities.
Thomas was committed to play in last year’s Charles Schwab Challenge prior to an injury that also caused him to miss the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black and recently told ESPN “I’m 120% comfortable and confident. I’d start next week if I could.”
Scott has had success at Colonial in the past including winning the event in 2014 when he was ranked No. 1 in the world.
Cantlay has played at Colonial twice, including in 2018.
As for those outside of the top 10?
No. 11 Tiger Woods and two-time Colonial champion Phil Mickelson are lined up to play in The Match: Champions for Charity alongside Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The Match will be played at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla. on May 24, so expect any announcement about either of them playing at Colonial to come after that event.