So what do we make of Tiger’s Pebble Beach performance? It was obviously a massive
improvement on the rest of his form since returning, and had the putter worked at all, he may well have won. There must be renewed confidence about his chances at St Andrews next month.
Nevertheless, Pebble Beach is one of his favourite layouts, and it will be interesting to see how well he deals with a return to a less favourable par-70 layout. Of course he can win, and the opposition is ordinary compared to his norm, but 7/2 is simply too short about a player who still has questions to answer.
Only odds of 14/1, which are short enough about an infrequent winner, deter me from backing Furyk. He ticks every key box; very accurate, a classy long-iron player and one of the very best scramblers. After another top 20 in the US Open, Jim looks pretty much assured another big cheque.
For seven rounds, Justin looked right back to his Order of Merit winning best, and a serious candidate for all the summer’s big prizes. Then on Sunday, he reverted to the extremely dodgy finisher that blew several winning chances earlier in his career. To be fair, River Highlands can do that to a player, and it will be interesting to see if Justin can pick up where he left off on Saturday night.
With strong local backing, this Pennsylvania lad must enter any shortlist. We certainly know he has the class from previous PGA Tour successes, and top 15s on three of his last four starts suggests he’s coming into form at a very lucrative time of the year
We couldn’t have asked for more from Verplank over the weekend, nor Corey Pavin for that matter, but it was very frustrating to lose out in a play-off to a renowned bottler like Bubba Watson (who did his best to throw this one away). Without the US Open, Verplank’s last three results have all been top-five finishes, but that is reflected in reduced odds. Nevertheless, if he can keep the run going, Scott certainly has the skills set for this course.
It would take a brave man to support Johnson after his shocking collapse in the US Open, which we can only hope hasn’t affected his mindset. Even if there is no short-term effect, Dustin is hard to fancy on a par 70 where his key asset, power, is irrelevant.
BO VAN PELT
BVP is first reserve should any of my picks withdraw. He rates well in all the key stats, and has been relentlessly consistent in recent months. A couple of weeks out of contention, in mid-division, mean he’s slightly slipped down the bookies’ lists to the attractive level of 40/1. Not bad for a man in the form of his life.
Speaking of players in the form of their lives, Ricky’s claims are hard to ignore, after bagging five top tens from his last nine starts. Furthermore, he’s an excellent scrambler, who plays tough courses well.
Allenby would rate a massive contender on the basis of most form over the past nine months, but after missing the cut at Memorial and an unimpressive US Open, there is a slight question mark over his wellbeing.
Cejka followed up a shock US Open top ten with third place in Germany, so deserves a mention on that basis. Given that he hasn’t won anywhere for eight years and only occasionally features at this level, I’m not banking on three good weeks in a row.
Classy though he is, Mahan is unbackable after five very poor results in a row, including a missed cut around his favourite course last week.
Watney hasn’t really delivered as expected this season, and while he will doubtless thrive again around suitable courses where extreme driving distance is an asset, this layout is unlikely to offer any advantages on that score.
Y E YANG
At 66/1, the reigning PGA champion remains rather under-estimated by the bookies. Forget that truly shocking back nine that sent him from contention to missing the US Open cut. That sort of thing happens in Majors, even to the best of players.
Snedeker failed to build last week on a promising top ten in the US Open, but made my shortlist again, because his world-class short-game skills should prove valuable here, and 80/1 rates fair each-way value in my view.
In an event when fewer 100/1+ chances came in for serious consideration than usual, Petrovic could be the best outsider. He’s in excellent form, making the top 25 in four of his last five starts, largely due to a very accurate long game. On the downside, Petrovic has looked less than convincing when previously in contention.
2010 STATS: +7pts
LONG-TERM ALREADY ADVISED
5pts MARTIN KAYMER TO WIN THE RACE TO DUBAI @ 9/1
20pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN EXACTLY TWO MAJORS @ 5/1
8pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN EXACTLY THREE MAJORS @ 14/1