So after the Northern Trust open and WGC Accenture Match Play we have another first time winner coming in the form of John Merrick with his win at the Northern Trust along with another win for the new 8th best player in the world Matt Kuchar last week in Arizona. Tips wise over the last couple of weeks we saw Bill Haas pick up a 3rd place finish and 8.5pts of profit, and also narrowly miss out that week with a 2nd place finish in the Africa Open with Jaco Van Zyl. Along with that came a mixed bag of results at the Accenture Match Play last week with 3 winning 2-ball bets and 3 losing whilst Ian Poulter who was tipped at 25/1 got to the semi’s but finally fell to last years winner Hunter Mahan. So a very slight profit over the last two weeks thanks to the 2-balls and Bill Haas, so let’s hope this week can bring profit as well.
This week we see another strong field at the Honda Classic, whilst on the European Tour we get to see the first ever Tshwane Open at the Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate, again in South Africa. This week @Golf_Guru_ ‘s tips will be included in this write up so be sure to check out both sections as we both look to different players with one player being tipped by both.
The courses: The Honda Classic will be played at the PGA National Champions Course where it has been hosted since 2007. The course is a par 70 and plays at over 7,000 yards. The course is situated in Palms Springs Florida, which will no doubt please the players who played in Arizona last week where snow was an issue. There have been 10 different winners in the last 10 years at the Honda Classic, but it has been moved between several courses .
The Tshwane Open will be hosted by the Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate which is a par 72 7,791 yard course so definitely one that the bigger hitters can take advantage of. The course was designed by one of South Africa’s biggest star Ernie Els. As this is the first time this tournament has been played course form does not come in to play and current form will be a big factor.
Defending Champion: Last years Honda Classic winner was World No.1 Rory Mcilroy who beat Tiger woods by 2 shots to take the title. Tiger shot -8 on the last day to make a real charge to try and and snatch it away from Mcilroy who posted a -1 round on day 4 to make sure the trophy was his. Both players had disappointing weeks last week in Arizona, both going out in the first round, Rory being beaten by Shane Lowry and Tiger by Charles Howell III. That is now two poor results for Mcilroy this year, Tiger however already has a win under his belt. Obviously the worlds 1 & 2 are market leaders with Tiger coming in at 8/1 (General) and Rory available at a best price of 12/1 (General).
With Mcilroy and Woods both being in the field this week it offers better value for numerous big names on tour, some who are showing good form and others who are yet to get going on tour so far this year. It has been noted that previous winners of this event have made the move to the Palm Beach County, quickly becoming a hotspot for golfer’s with Mcilroy, Donald, Villegas and Els all opting to reside and practice in the area. Players who have recently made the move include South African duo Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen so if you believe in the trend they are both in the field this week. So on to this weeks picks from myself and @Golf_Guru_.
Graeme McDowell 35/1 (Boylesports) 33/1 (General) 1pt e/w: G-Mac had a decent run in the matchplay last week before losing to 3rd placed Jason Day in the Quarter Finals. G-Mac overcame some tough tests, firstly a win over Padraig Harrington in Rd 1 and then went on to defeat Alexander Noren in extra holes and Shane Lowry who had knocked out Mcilroy in Rd 1. McDowell has fairly decent form here at the Honda Classic coming 9th, 6th and 31st in his last three attempts. Had he of not shot an opening round of 3 over his week may of been very different last year, so he did well to post a top 10 in the end. He finished off 2012 with an off season win at the World Challenge, an event he had won before in 2010. He then went on to take a 10 week break, in which he moved into his new Orlando home. He has said that he is looking to commit too 14 events on the PGA between February and August before finishing his season in Europe. Although his US Open win in 2010 does count as a PGA win, I’m sure he is looking to break his regular tour duck and with a bit of form coming into this week, matched with his course form he looks a good bet this week.
Rickie Fowler 40/1 (General) 1pt e/w: Fowler will be keen to put his foot on the gas now and pick up another win on tour. He struggled at the end of last season with a back injury but so far this year it hasn’t seemed to of been a factor. Fowler has got previous form here coming T7 last year shooting a -4 66 on the last day to get within one shot of a top 5 finish. After finishing T6 in his first two events he followed it up with a disappointing missed cut at the Waste Management in Phoenix. He also suffered a first round exit last week against Carl Petterson which in the end could of gone either way. He is still a player that hasn’t quite lived up to his potential that in the past has seen him mentioned in the same breath of Rory Mcilroy and with Rory currently suffering a dip in form, now is the time for Rickie to stand up and be counted. There is no doubt that the talent is there, he beat Rory in a play off to pick up his first win on tour at Quail Hollow and should when he does get that 2nd win, 40/1 will not be a price you will associate him with.
Nicolas Colsaerts 70/1 (SkyBet) 1pt e/w: A good solid performance at the match play was just what 2012’s Ryder Cup surprise package needed after a less than spectacular start to life in his first full season on the PGA Tour. Coming 44th and missing two cuts was not how Colsaerts would of wanted to go into last week but he seemed to put that behind him, defeating Bill Haas and Justin Rose with relative ease. Of course we need to take into account that not every week is match play and this is where he tends to excel, but he has also shown what he can do week in, week out and I’m sure his form will start to pick up. With a long course being the challenge that poses him this week, he will definitely be one of the players looking to take advantage of his natural power advantage of the tee and this week could see a turn in fortune for the powerful Belgian.
James Hahn 100/1 (General) 1 pt e/w: Hahn has not missed a cut so far in his rookie season, and we all know how well he did when he was 135/1 at pebble beach, so why pick him this week. Well after a below average week at the Northern Trust, questions may be asked as whether he is going to slip away now with all the early form just being a phase, but I’m not so sure. His scoring on the par 5s this season is unbelievable. He is 2nd in par 5 performance and 4th in total birdies which go hand in hand. His score two weeks ago was killed by his struggles on the par 4s and he will look to improve on that this week. A big price for someone who looks happy every time he plays and just looks to be enjoying every moment so far. Of course that won’t last forever as the novelty will wear off and bad results may get to him, but for now I’m happy to see what he can do to prove he can still compete at a high level.
Tshwane Open Tips:
Jbe Kruger 45/1 (StanJames) 1pt e/w
Romain Wattel 50/1 (General) 1pt e/w
John Parry 125/1 (Bet365) 1 pt e/w
Total Points staked: 14
Profit/Loss 2013: +45pts
Tiger Woods 8/1 (General) 5pts win
Graeme McDowell 35/1 (BoyleSports) 33/1 (General) 1pt e/w
Hennie Otto 33/1 (PaddyPower & Ladbrokes) 1pt e/w
Fredrik Andersson Hed 80/1 (Ladbrokes) 1pt e/w
Total Points staked: 11
Profit/Loss 2013: -25pts
An interesting week of golf ahead, with a strong field at the Honda Classic and a new tournament in the shape of Tshwane Open, there is sure to be some excitement and I hope it can be a profitable one for both myself and @Golf_Guru_. Follow me on Twitter for any views, questions or comments you may have. @TomJacobs8