Sunday, June 26, 2011

Looking For The Next Tiger Woods? Found Her.

To be considered a golf prodigy you have to win tournaments at the highest level and do so at a relatively young age. Rory McIlroy pushed his way into the conversation with his third win and first major at last week's US Open. Rory's 22 years old. At 24, Tiger Woods captured his fourth major victory. Annika Sorenstam, with 10 career majors on her trophy shelf, garnered her fourth major at 31. So, to win your fourth major at 22, you'd be considered the quickest starter of all and on a beeline to the Hall of Fame. Welcome Yani Tseng. Tseng trounced the field at the Wegman's LPGA Championship with a -19 final score, fully 10 shots ahead of  runner-up Morgan Pressel. Suzann Pettersen, Paula Creamer, and defending champion Cristie Kerr were locked in a tie for 3rd at -8. Tseng led the tournament wire-to-wire, but saved her best for last with a final round 66 that obliterated any challengers by the turn. It was then a nine hole race for 2nd place. Full Field Final Scores

The US Women's Open will be contested soon, July 7-10, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. At 7,047 yards, par 71, it will be the longest course in the event's history. Expect the long-hitting Tseng to be the odds on favorite here. The women complete their majors on July 28-31 at Carnoustie for the Ricoh Women's British Open. Guess who defends? Yup, Yani Tseng. It wouldn't be out of the question for her to end her summer with six major trophies under her belt or in her trophy case, such as it were. She's so far ahead of the field, and so young, that it's tough to estimate the kinds of records she may set. In the meantime, enjoy the show.

Remember... They make more.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 US Open Finale - Rorified Air.

To put things in perspective, Jason Day finished the 2011 US Open at -8, with a total of 276, the third lowest in Open history. Rory McIlroy pasted him by 8 strokes. If this had been a fight, they'd have stopped it after the the second round. McIlroy vanquished the ghosts of Augusta and destroyed the field on his way to his 1st major victory in the 2011 US Open at Congressional Country Club. Be assured it won't be his last. He compiled 12 US Open scoring records in addition to snagging the trophy, not the least of which was a -16, 268 final total that rendered all previous Open records irrelevant. At 22 years young, and with a seemingly great head on his shoulders, I'd expect him to still be hoisting trophies long after I've stopped playing.Final Full Field Scores

Who in their right mind could have predicted that the only Americans to finish this year's Open in the top ten would be Robert Garrigus and Kevin Chappell. Before you yell Aberration!, keep in mind that international players have captured the last five majors, 75% of which are held in the good ole' USA. The Schwartzels, McIlroys, and Oosthuizens are clearly better than the Mahans, Kuchars, and Johnsons. A shift in golf supremacy has occurred. The fabric of the game is international now. Mickelson, Stricker, and Woods are aging or injured and their wake has been filled by Euros, South Africans, and Germans. These things tend to work in cycles, so expect shifts in dominance to happen. Regardless, it appears American pros are satisfied with big money for 3rd place, while our international counterparts are interested in winning, knowing that the rewards will be there. Just my opinion.

Although a blow-out, the 2011 US Open was compelling viewing. We got to observe first hand a special young man with special talent enter the conversation of great players. I'd love to know what odds you could have gotten two years ago on the next two winners of the US Open being from Northern Ireland.

Swing hard, look up.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 U.S. Open - Odds and Expert Picks

The 2011 version of the strictest test in golf, The US Open, will be contested at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. As per usual we here at Average Golfer will list the betting favorites, comment on their chances, and throw a few picks out there to enhance your wagering prospects. The Robert Trent Jones design, last renovated in 2006 by Rees Jones, will play up to 7,574 yds. and par 71. That makes it the 2nd longest Open in history after Torrey Pines.

Without further ado, here's our synopsis....

Phil Mickelson, 14:1 - After so many Open close calls, Phil's the obvious sentimental choice. His game's been a bit shaky this year and I see him possibly contending on Sunday, but doubt he'll win it.

Lee Westwood, 14:1 - Co-favorite. Been world #1 recently. Rock steady putter needed to win an Open. Not his forte. Don't see it.

Luke Donald, 14:1 - Co-co-favorite. World #1. Has the tools, especially around and on the greens. Rain would hurt with his lack of length on this behemoth. Possible.

Rory McIlroy, 20:1 - If he's in it on Sunday we'll get to see if he's shaken off Masters debacle. Can make birdies in bunches. Possible for him to win if his major championship memory is short.

Dustin Johnson, 25:1 - Long enough. Needs to show a maturity he hasn't shown in previous majors. LaCava on the bag should help. Possible, not likely. 

Nick Watney, 25:1 - Great all around game. Showed gravitas of late on bigger stages. Could win.  

Hunter Mahan, 25:1 - All the tools. Would have to elevate to this stage. Certain aloofness that seems to hold him back. Not this time.   

Matt Kuchar, 25:1 - Guaranteed top ten whenever he tees it up. Like him a lot this week.

Steve Stricker, 25:1 - Perhaps tour's best clutch putter. Game's peaking at the right time. Accurate with great course management. My pick for this year's champ.

Martin Kaymer, 33:1 - Disappeared after becoming world #1. Not sure he desires to be the best. Rather passive demeanor. Maybe next year.

KJ Choi, 33:1 - Loves it here with good reason. Playing very well of late. Can handle slick Open greens. Could win. 

Justin Rose, 50:1 - Seems like long odds on great player. Laser-like iron game. Would tale a lot, but could win.

Graeme McDowell, 50:1 - Uncharacteristic blow-up holes and rounds have cost him this year. Defending champ would require an epiphany and return to last year's game. Too much to ask I'm afraid.

Bubba Watson, 50:1 - Another where odds seem out of whack with performance. Definitely can handle the length. Shown he knows how to win with two this year.Good value bet.

Jim Furyk, 50:1 - Tough to ever count him out, but hasn't been the Furyk of old. Will struggle with length. Won't win.

Jason Day, 50:1 - Nice talent. Hot and cold. Cold too often to win here on this stage.

David Toms, 50:1 - Two months ago I'd have say "No way". Looks like the Toms of old. Distance shortage here won't help. Won't win.


1. Steve Stricker
2. KJ Choi
3. Nick Watney

Dark Horse..... Sergio Garcia

Keep in mind, as a US Open, the field is stuffed with great players. Odds are only estimates by bookies to even out the betting to guard against a catastrophic loss when a ton of money is placed on the winner. As an indication of such, here's some players with a decent shot to win whose odds are 66:1+....... Scott, Schwartzel, Goosen, Ogilvy, Casey, Fowler, Baddeley, Els, Quiros, Garcia, and Yang. Strength of field is what makes this a true championship.

*As per usual, Average Golfer is not responsible for any betting losses and this column is not intended to be a testimonial for any one golfer. Additionally, Average Golfer would expect any winners using this column to profit from said picks to forward a reasonable cut of their winnings. 20% is considered customary. Odds provided by Ladbrokes.

Bet early and often,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 U.S. Open - Early Odds and Sharp Opinion

June, for a while there I wasn't sure we were going to make it this far. From snow here in May to doomsday predictions, June seemed like the longest of long shots. Regardless, here we are and the 2011 version of the US Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD will apparently occur. The venerable British betting house Ladbrokes has an early line. The odds quoted here were as of this morning. I curiously noted however that the US Open board is temporarily down on Ladbrokes site. Perhaps due to the recent withdrawal of said Tiger Woods, who evidently needs more time in the shop before he re-emerges on a golf course. No mind though, we have enough early info to form some strident opinions.   

As of this morning Woods was traded at 14:1. Odds are 1,000:1 that he undergoes a miracle cure and persuades the USGA to re-enter him.    

Phil Mickelson at 12:1 seems to me to be a bit of a sucker bet given his recent play and the need to locate Congressional's stingy fairways from the tee box.

Luke Donald shares lowest odds with Phil at 12:1. Sounds good to me. Donald can dissect a course and that may be the required procedure here.     

Donald's fellow Brit Lee Westwood is listed at 14:1. His putter coupled with Open bathtub greens may spell less than 1st.  

Rory McIlroy's offered at 16:1. His play certainly warrants it and there's only one way to tell if his Masters' scab has healed. Would be interesting to see the lad in the mix on Sunday. 

Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer at 25:1.  Wasn't it not that long ago that Kaymer was the World #1? Did it not suit him? Johnson can win any time he tees it up. Hopefully Joe LaCava can show him how to put the stupid decision pills back in the bottle.

It's not often you see the defending champ at 33:1, but that's where Graeme McDowell rests. A statement on the recent condition of his game methinks. Hope he does well. He seems like a genuinely good dude.

Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker 25:1 Nick Watney 33:1. These beg to be opportunities to make money. Kuchar's an automatic top ten everywhere. Stricker's a pin-seeking, putt-making machine and Watney's tasted victory with a swing that's the sweetest this side of Elkington. Bet 'em all hard.

David Toms at 40:1 may be a wish, but WTH? 

See above for Geoff Ogilvy. Former champ at 40:1.

Feeling risky? Here's a trio at 50:1 that could fatten your wallet. Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, and Sergio Garcia. Oh, BTW, Furyk's won one of these.   

Where does the time go? picks....  Former champs Retief Goosen, 66:1 and Ernie Els, 80:1.   

Extreme value picks.....  Stewart Cink and Jeff Overton at 125:1. Davis Love III and two time winner this year, Mark Wilson, at 200:1.

We'll update as the Open approaches and post Average Golfer's final expert picks on June 13. 

Swing hard, look up,


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rory McIlroy, Chris (Remember Me?) Riley Share Early Lead at Memorial

Last we heard of Chris Riley, in a familiar sense, was when he was too fatigued to appear for his afternoon matches in the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills. 7 years later, a sparkling 66 at Jack's place left him locked with budding superstar Rory McIlroy after the 1st round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, OH. Negotiating a tough course with a major-like feel in only 25 putts will do that for you. McIlroy followed the same prescription, needing 25 putts on the way to his 66. Chris DiMarco, another blast from the past, held up 2nd with Josh Teater, both recording 67s, -5. 9 players followed with 68s in a group including Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, and Rocco Mediate. Fowler's "Sybil-like" round featured 5 bogeys, 7 birdies, and an eagle. Just 4 pars on his card. Notables included Phil Mickelson with a rather pedestrian 72, Fred Couples' 79 that may be injury related, and Kenny Perry's 80, a sign that his tremendous streak in his late 40s has vanished. 1st Round Full Field Scores

Players love The Memorial Tournament. The constant buzz is that it's the best treatment they receive on tour and the golf course condition is second to none. I know they can't play them all, but Kaymer, Westwood, and McDowell would have been well served by being here. After all, it's Jack.

Swing hard, look up,