Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Honda Classic - Odds and Expert Picks

Jack Nicklaus' winter digs, maiden appearance by E. Woods, throw in a McIlroy and a Westwood and we might have ourselves a golf tourney. PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, FL is the setting for The Honda Classic. All four 2011 major winners are joined by the aforementioned Mr. Woods, Keegan Bradley, and the defender, Rory Sabbatini.

We'll examine the front runners from Ladbrokes and help you earn some pocket cash from the comfort of your recliner. As you'll readily see, this is a chalk tourney. The talent level tanks after Keegan Bradley. Basically it's the top 5 or so and then the Nationwide Tour. Still, as betting opportunities go, there's great value with good potential pays, ie Ernie Els and/or JB Holmes at 66/1. Hey, it's your money!

Let's have a look...

Rory McIlroy - 7/1, Everyone's all but conceded the #1 in the world status to young Rory, which I believe he deserves more then Luke Donald. I think you need a major win under your belt to be #1. Of course he can win here. In fact I'm picking him due to extra motivation after last week's loss.

Tiger Woods - 10/1, You gotta be able to putt to win tournaments and right now Woods can't putt any better than my 9 yr. old nephew. Throw in the unfamiliar greens and watch Tiger use this as a Masters prep.

Lee Westwood - 10/1, Let McIlroy escape in the match play. Had his foot on his neck early. Not uncommon for Westwood to lose the reins for a few holes though. I see top 5 here, but I've picked Rory to win.

Charl Schwartzel - 20/1, Damn I hate typing his name. Doesn't exactly roll off the fingers. Can win I suppose. Has all the tools necessary. I see him 2nd.

Keegan Bradley - 25/1, Other than the pole putter I like this kid. He stepped right into the big-time game and validated his major. Sure, he could win here, but I picked Rory.

Ben Crane - 25/1, I hope he's in the final group or we'll have a Tuesday finish. Seems like a nice guy, but I change the channel when he's on. I can get a movie in while he putts. Won't win.

Justin Rose - 33/1, Potential sleeper. Hasn't done much lately, but too good to stay down for too long. Lives in Florida, could win, probably won't.

Graeme McDowell - 33/1, US Open win starting to look flukish. I like the guy and hopes he rallies. I'm no expert, but his golf swing appears to have morphed into a slash. Ahhh, won't win.

Kyle Stanley - 33/1, See what I meant about field strength? Nice player, good year so far, can't beat the top 5 here though.

Average Golfer Picks

1. McIlroy
2. Schwartzel
3. Westwood

There you have 'em......  Bet early and often.....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mahan Takes Down McIlroy in Accenture World Match Play

35 birdies in 96 holes is pretty good golf. Certainly good enough today for Hunter Mahan to best Rory McIlroy 2 and 1 and capture his 2nd  WGC event, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. His efforts landed him a cool $1.4 million along with the accompanying hardware. Mahan was 4 up through 10 holes after a stretch of taking 4 out of 5 on the front nine. McIlroy  applied some pressure on the back nine, but Mahan continued to answer with timely birdies. It was more than obvious that Mahan was the best player here this week. Mahan defeated Mark Wilson in the semis to reach the final match. Wilson was the only opponent Mahan had that wasn't a former Ryder or Presidents Cup member.

Mahan's win denied McIlroy the #1 spot in the OWGR. That I assume will be left for Luke Donald who packed his rental car here on Wednesday. There's no clear cut #1 in this writer's mind. I'd give it to McIlroy anyway since he defeated Lee Westwood, #3, in today's semi-final, and he has a major championship. Mark Wilson defeated Westwood in the "kiss-your-sister" match for 3rd place. In sum I've always thought you shouldn't be considered a world #1 without a major.

Average Golfer's been on a bit of a break of late. Expect some renewed interest as winter passes where we're located and I can see the sun for more than two hours a day. The Honda Classic is up next with a stronger field than one normally sees at this weak sister event. All 2011 major winners will be there along with Westwood and Woods. May be worth the effort.

Swing hard, they'll make more.