For the second week running there's a new event on the PGA Tour to digest, and Ben Coley thinks it's an ideal opportunity for Patrick Reed.
Nate Lashley's burn-up in the Rocket Mortgage Classic was some story, but as far as the purpose of this column it provides a warning: new event, new course, low scoring is a dangerous formula. Anything goes, really - and by anything, I mean a Wednesday night alternate getting a run, shooting nine-under the next day and never seeing another rival. Explain that one.
Lashley is actually a player who crops up most weeks when you run through some key statistical categories. He hits quality approach shots and putts really well, and he's among the best going when it comes to par-fours, which make up more than 50 per cent of every round. Yet the results weren't really there - until he stepped onto a course he clearly liked, but one which was ultimately easy, at the behest of anyone who happened to fire at the right moment.
This wasn't a surprise in that respect. My staking plan was made up exclusive of outsiders because of that very suspicion; that a short, easy golf course and a shallow field could throw up anything. In the end it threw up a dream for the player himself, those who've followed his career and anyone who writes the stories at the end of the golf, but it thew up a nightmare for the punter.
So where do we go from there? The answer is to Minnesota, and the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities, a course which has hosted a Champions Tour event until this year and one which could be even easier than Detroit.
This course, designed by Arnold Palmer at the turn of the century and since given a PGA Tour facelift, has been among the easiest on the senior circuit both in scoring and how many birdies it offers up. That's despite the constant presence of water which brings to mind Bay Hill, a long way from here but worth a glance at as Palmer's spiritual home and best-known redesign on the circuit.
In fact, the 18th hole at Twin Cities and the 18th hole at Bay Hill could be cousins, so similar do they appear from above, and one wonders whether Palmer and his design company used it as a template. The 17th holes have a little in common, too, and I can see a Floridian shade to this course which could provide a decent starting point. Still, in doing so we must remember that this will be nowhere near as tough, largely because fairways are much, much wider, and they've been made wider still by persistent rain of late.
Almost anywhere else, and I'd have been inclined to chance Jason Day this week. Here we have a player who is motivated following a barren 12 months, who will love these bentgrass greens and who has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, all of which suggest he could be the man to beat despite Brooks Koepka's place at the head of the market.
Day also arrives on the back of eighth place at the Travelers, where his sometimes troublesome iron play fired, and this new relationship with caddie Steve Williams should be nicely bedded in now. There's clear potential for Williams to help Day back towards the heights he reached in 2015/16 and in some respects this may not take much winning.
Then again, Day is undoubtedly better served by a more stern examination, one in which his ability to grind out a par counts for something. Here, it might just be that setting up chances is the number one requirement and while that improvement with his approach shots was impressive at TPC River Highlands, there's no guarantee he'll be able to back it up.
While I've cooled on Day, unlike last week there is one player towards the head of the market who makes plenty of appeal and that man is Patrick Reed.
Third place in the Rocket Mortgage Classic was a big step in the right direction for last year's Masters champion, who will be itching to get back in the winners' circle and could well do so now his work on the range is beginning to bear fruit.
Perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised that a low-scoring, Donald Ross test might suit a player whose first victory came at the Wyndham Championship, and it certainly shouldn't surprise anyone if he contends this week with his second win having come in 28-under at the Humana Challenge, where 36 holes were played on Palmer's PGA West.
That course designer speculation is given further weight by a runner-up finish at Albany in another shootout, but the key here really is that Reed has both found some form and is highly motivated.
Form-wise, right back to that Wyndham breakthrough his victories have come after a period of sustained good play. Reed has won six times now and before each and every success he's finished inside the top 25. For the most part, he's made even louder noise, such as 2-7-9 before the Masters, so finishing third in Detroit makes for a serious clue.
And then there's the motivational aspect. For a player who loves nothing more than to represent his country, and who will be desperate to right the wrongs of the Ryder Cup last September, Reed is languishing at 20th in the Presidents Cup standings and running out of time.
It's hard now to argue that he'd be an automatic pick for captain Tiger Woods, alongside whom Reed played poorly in Paris. Woods has grown to understand the value of team dynamics and saw first hand that for all his points-scoring contributions of 2014 and 2016, Reed could also be troublesome. Reed has to force his hand.
So, a player returning to form, over whom there are no concerns when it comes to winning, who we know loves a shootout, has plenty of incentive and winning form on a Palmer design... it all makes for a case so compelling that I can't leave him out despite the volatility of events such as these.
Charley Hoffman is another class act - in relative terms - who needs considering owing to his form across Palmer's body of work on the PGA Tour. Hoffman has won at TPC Boston and finished second at Albany, Bay Hill and PGA West, and as he too loves a low-scoring shootout perhaps he'll get back on track.
Last week I made a couple of cases around the part of the USA we are in, and the move from Michigan to Minnesota means those cases still apply. Cody Gribble in particular has a striking record in the northern states and it's not asking much to chance a 500/1 shot for two weeks rather than one, while Sam Ryder's form heading into that event was eye-catching and his iron play remained strong.
The latter is considered along with Sepp Straka, who fared much the best and was just a shot out of the places. Straka is improving, he's driving the ball well and putting with confidence, but I'm going to take a chance on Bronson Burgoon at a bigger price this time.
Burgoon is the sort of player who looks like he could be really good but hasn't yet shown it - somewhat like Lashley, albeit without the stats to quite back it up. What he does have is a pair of runner-up finishes on the circuit, both in shootouts, and one of them at around this time last year in Illinois at the John Deere Classic.
We could be served up a similar tournament here and Burgoon might have figured things out in time. Two weeks ago, he emerged from a slump with a first-round 64 in the Travelers, bogey-free, and in the early stages of the second round he'd progressed serenely to 10-under before coming unstuck at the 18th.
It was a messy weekend after that, but Burgoon took another step forward last week in Detroit. Despite starting the tournament with a double-bogey, he came home in 30 on day one to shoot six-under again, and this time hit the ball really well throughout the rest of the week - particularly on Sunday.
At the Travelers, Burgoon mentioned that he'd been back to work in Texas with his coach to figure things out and he was encouraged, as am I, by the fact that he burst into life at this time last year with a run of contending three weeks running, which culminated in that runner-up finish.
With so many unknowns once again, I'm happy to take a small chance on a player capable of going really close under these conditions now that he appears to have turned a corner.
Back up the betting, Scott PIercy looks a good fit for this and is a big enough price at 50/1.
The Las Vegas man was very popular in Canada a few weeks ago because he'd won at the course in 2012. Despite the field including Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson - none of whom feature here - Piercy was shorter in the betting.
Now, being too short there doesn't make him a default bet here, but I do like the course fit as he's at his best when free to unleash driver and when the onus is on low-scoring, while he's also the sort of golfer who knows his place - that is to say he's won four low-scoring events absent of depth and world-class quality.
Beyond Koepka, you have to go down to 40/1 chance Kevin Na for the next player to have won on the PGA Tour this year, so this really isn't strong. It's exactly the sort of event Piercy should be ready to go ahead and win - similar, in fact, to the Byron Nelson, where he went bogey-free and finished second.
It's true that Piercy has cooled slightly since that extraordinary effort, but two of his four starts were in majors, and he played just fine at Colonial to finish 19th.
Last time out, he shot an opening 67 at Pebble Beach before finishing mid-pack in the US Open and it's no stretch to imagine a return to his best in these calmer waters, particularly now he's had a break having been on the go all spring to qualify for the season's third major.
Finally, I just want to return to that idea that Bay Hill could be a pointer here, because there's just a hint that it might be.
As well as looking alike and both having been heavily influenced by Palmer, it's notable that Kenny Perry, a three-time winner of the 3M Championship here, has won at Bay Hill, too.
So has Paul Goydos, who won the 3M in 2017, so has Tom Kite, who won the 3M in 2004, while 2010 winner David Frost was once runner-up at Bay Hill and Tom Purtzer (2005) has been third.
Many of these names also crop up at Colonial, which has no obvious link otherwise but is worth noting for helping to bring Adam Hadwin onto the radar.
Sixth two starts ago in Canada and 29th in the US PGA a fortnight before that, Hadwin looks to be playing nicely and he'll enjoy plenty of support here in Minnesota, too, as he goes in pursuit of his second PGA Tour title.
Low numbers ought not to be a problem for a member of the '59 Club' who has been a fixture at the lights-out CareerBuilder Challenge, and rounds of 70-70 for a missed cut last time aren't a concern - he's never played well at River Highlands.
An excellent putter who is almost always in play from the tee, expect this to suit Hadwin, who has his own Presidents Cup business to attend to from 19th in the International standings.
Posted at 2215 BST on 01/07/19.