Written by
Mike McAllister
May 23 2023
- 5 min
Brooks Koepka Orlando Bynder

POTOMAC FALLS, Virginia – Brooks Koepka just won his fifth major, but as much as I’d like to make him the player to beat this week, the Smash GC captain is not in my top five going into LIV Golf DC.

Don’t yell. I’m not even sure Brooks would rate himself as a good bet at Trump National DC.

After winning the PGA Championship on Sunday, Koepka outlined the next few days while talking to his buddies at Pardon My Take. Attend the Panthers’ Stanley Cup Playoffs game on Monday against Carolina (which he did, wearing his No. 94 Ryan Lomberg jersey). Miami Heat playoff game Tuesday. Panthers playoff game Wednesday. Fly to DC on Thursday, when he’ll arrive in time to play 9 holes in the afternoon with his pro-am partners. Then first round on Friday.

“I don’t know how well that LIV event is going to go,” Koepka admitted.

(As it turns out, Koepka's plane was delayed Thursday and he didn't arrive in time to play the pro-am. So not sure how much of the course he'll have soon before he tees off Friday.)

Some of the other LIV golfers who played last week’s PGA may be saying the same thing. LIV Golf DC will be their third consecutive week in action – not an impossible task in terms of playing well, but certainly a challenge that the rest of the field isn’t facing. Add in what appears to be a brute of a course with some demanding elevations, and the impact might be felt at some point.

Even so, that didn’t stop me from picking several of them to play well in D.C.

So, with that in mind, here are the picks for our top five players and top four teams this week:


1. BUBBA WATSON (RangeGoats GC). After missing nearly nine months of competition due to his knee surgery, the rust is gone. That’s what the captain of the RangeGoats said when I asked him about it at Tulsa. He was T8 that week, his best result since coming back. Should do well on a course that’s nearly 7,500 yards.

2. BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU (Crushers GC). Yes, he’s one of the guys playing in his third straight week. Was in contention at Oak Hill, ultimately finishing T4. He’ll want to be in top form going into the U.S. Open in two weeks, and a strong finish in D.C. would provide momentum.

3. CAMERON SMITH (Ripper GC). Speaking of top form, the Ripper captain has heated up. Made the playoff in Tulsa after a final-round 61, then T9 at the PGA with a closing 65. Has finished top-7 in points in his last three LIV starts. He’ll be hoisting a trophy soon.

4. MATTHEW WOLFF (Smash GC). Was debating between Wolff and his Smash teammate Jason Kokrak. Wolff hasn’t contended lately after starting the season strong; Kokrak has been very consistent with four consecutive top-12 points finishers. Expect Wolff to bounce back.

5. PATRICK REED (4Aces GC). Much like the Wolff-Kokrak selection, it was a toss-up between Reed and 4Aces teammate Peter Uihlein (oh and did somebody say DJ?). Reed played at the PGA and was T18; Uihlein was not in the field. Both have been very consistent. Who knows, maybe both will finish in the top 5.

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Harold Varner III (RangeGoats GC) is playing some terrific golf right now … Tulsa champ Dustin Johnson (4Aces) should thrive on any course, and no one would be surprised if he becomes LIV Golf’s second back-to-back winner … Henrik Stenson (Majesticks GC) won last year on a Trump course at Bedminster, and nobody in the League hits more fairways.


1.RANGEGOATS GC. Second in Adelaide. First in Singapore. Third in Tulsa. Bubba’s RangeGoats have clearly found the next gear after starting the season with three consecutive 8th place finishes.

2. 4ACES GC. The points leaders and defending champions from 2022 have five podium finishes in the first six events and came within a stroke of forcing a playoff in Tulsa. You never go wrong picking the Aces.

3. RIPPER GC. If this season’s trend of a new team winner for each event holds true, then the Rippers seem ready to break through. Cam is Cam, and Marc Leishman and Jed Morgan can handle the course’s length.

4. SMASH GC. If it’s not the Rippers, then maybe it’s Smash’s turn to win its first in 2023. Wolff and Kokrak should have good weeks, and if they’re in the hunt Sunday, Brooks could end up making the difference.

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Stinger GC comes off its first team win of the season, but four of the first five winners failed to finish inside the top 6 in their next start … Torque GC leads the League in team driving distance, which should be a huge benefit this week.