The PGA and LPGA Tour are competing together. We ranked the top teams

tony finau nelly korda sahith theegala and rose zhang

Tony Finau and Nelly Korda are teaming up at the Grant Thornton Invitational. So are Sahith Theegala and Rose Zhang.

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For the first time, we’re going to see a bunch of PGA Tour pros competing with, and against, LPGA Tour pros, in two months at the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational. It’s about time! After all, this is the time of year for experimentation. For fun golf. Silly golf. Different golf. See: The Netflix Cup and the PNC Championship. 

After trickling out various entries over the last few months, the event released its full field Wednesday, finally giving us an idea of who will be competing with whom at the Ritz-Carlton Naples in Florida. And what do we do when we see a bunch of newly formed golf teams? We rank them. Not necessarily in terms of who will win, but rather which teams we’re most intrigued by. 

Biggest threats to win

Team Sweden — Ludvig Aberg is coming after basically every title imaginable right now. He won on the DP World Tour in September after contending a bunch on the PGA Tour in the summer. Then he played a role in Europe’s Ryder Cup win before coming back and nearly winning a week later at the Sanderson Farms. Ultimately, you want to be on his team. You want to hit shots from where his tee balls land. Madelene Sagstrom, No. 52 in the women’s game, is no slouch either, fresh off a Solheim Cup victory of her own. The Scandinavian takeover of pro golf could continue with this event. 

Team Hit it Further than You — Tony Finau and Nelly Korda hit the ball really far. And when they hit it straight and putt well? They’re lethal. Nelly does that pretty much all the time. But if she can suddenly do it from where Tony can reach, they’re going to make a lot of birdies. 

Team Puma-Cobra — Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson are bound to be the fan favorites in Florida. Combining forces will get everyone out following their group, which is always good for the competitive juices. It also helps that Thompson found a bit of form at the Solheim Cup and had a great showing at the PGA Tour event she played. Fowler’s renaissance has been well documented. Bottom line: they should fare well. 

Team Cali Kids — Expectations are high for both Sahith Theegala and Rose Zhang, two kids who grew up in the LA area and were the unquestioned best collegiate golfers during their time at Pepperdine and Stanford. Both bagged their first wins in the last year, too. Years from now, we might be talking about these two as top 5 players on both their tours. 

Best Vibes 

Team 2016 — Were this event happening seven years ago, Jason Day and Lydia Ko would be overwhelming favorites. Unfortunately for them, it’s 2023. But that’s okay! These two have two of the best outlooks on the sport, probably because they’ve summited the mountaintop before and know how much of a journey a golf career can be. 

Team Dahmen-Vu — Okay so I couldn’t think of anything obvious Joel Dahmen and Lilia Vu have in common, so we’re just using their last names. Could we arrive at some sort of Dah-ja Vu pun during tournament week? Perhaps. Until then, they’re just a vibes play. When I informed Dahmen that his team has a combined two majors won in 2023, more than any other team, his response was, “That’s a lot of majors.” Sure is. 

Team Canada — It’s getting to be that time of year where Canadians go south and watch their golf. So chances are there will be plenty of Canadian fan support for Corey Conners and Brooke Henderson. Which might be just enough to push two of the best ball-strikers in the world to the top of the leaderboard. 

Team Don’t Overlook Them — Forgive me for the horrible height pun, but Denny McCarthy (5’9”) and Megan Khang (5’1”) are both on the shorter end of the roster here. But they’re also both playing the best golf of their lives. So overlook them if you must. But you shouldn’t. 

Could Surprise You!

Cameron Champ and Allisen Corpuz — Corpuz is a major champ. Champ is a major bomb threat. Combining the two could be great. 

Harris English and Celine Boutier — Both streaky players with team golf experience. What’s not to like?

Tom Hoge and Cheyenne Knight — Two of the best irons players on their respective tours. If it rains and becomes a closest to the pin contest, look out. 

Nick Taylor and Ruoning Yin — Taylor is playing the best golf of his life and Yin, well, she’s ranked No. 2 in the world. Has she ever hit a bad shot? 

Justin Rose and Charley Hull — This one’s for England. 

Lucas Glover and Leona Maguire — Two soft-spoken players who kinda both peaked at the end of summer? Keep it going. 

Russell Henley and Mel Reid — No one has gotten less appreciation for their golf in 2023 than Henley. Maybe there’s a cherry-on-top finish with an elite putter by his side in Reid. 

Billy Horschel and Andrea Lee — We’re really stretching for commonality at this point. They’re one of just 16 teams in this event, so their best golf will get it done. 

Sean Zak Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.