Whereas most of the Fall Series events are low-scoring, target golf affairs, this one at least has the potential to be different. Much depends on the weather, as the Raptor Course at Grayhawk GC, Scottsdale is quite exposed to the wind. On its PGA Tour debut in 2007, Mike Weir won with a total of 274 in tricky conditions, but last year birdies were far more frequent for Cameron Beckman’s success with a tally of 262. Though these things should always be taken with a pinch of salt, the current forecast suggests a calm weekend.
 
Driving distance is virtually irrelevant around this par-70, with far greater emphasis on tee to green accuracy, and perhaps most importantly, a classy short game. Generally, those trends would tend to favour the better players, but typically for a field at this time of year, there is a dearth of in-form world-class talent.
 
Indeed, the only three players who could really be defined as ‘world-class’ are Weir, Justin Leonard and Tim Clark, and all look worth taking on. Weir and Leonard at least have solid course form credentials, with the former finishing first and fourth on his previous two visits; the latter registering sixth on his sole attempt. Moreover, as steady, straight-hitting types with classy short games, they tick all the right boxes.
 
However, the problem for me is that neither has shown enough evidence recently to warrant a bet at 20/1 or less. Weir hasn’t bettered tenth since February, and finished a disappointing 25th out of 30 on his latest individual start. That isn’t the form of a favourite. Leonard, who has plenty of form at other venues around the Arizona desert, is more plausible, but can only boast one fast-finishing, never in contention top-10 since May. I certainly wouldn’t rule either player out, but better value may lie elsewhere.
 
As for Clark, ongoing injury problems have shown us that he is generally a man to oppose after a busy schedule, and this will be his third playing week in a row. A greater threat could come from Sunday’s runner-up Chad Campbell, or in-form recent winner Ryan Moore, who has a previous sixth place on this course to his name. Again though, neither particularly stand out as value.
 
Instead, all of my six selections start at 45/1 or more, and therefore combine to a relatively cheap layout of 12 points. First up, one of the best players yet to win on the PGA Tour, FREDRIK JACOBSEN. The Swede, three times a winner in his final year on the European Tour before embarking on a Stateside career, has been in solid form recently, and his game looks tailor made for this track. Four of Jacobsen’s last six events have yielded top-25s, the best of which was a narrow defeat at the Barclays behind some very big names. On his sole visit to Grayhawk in 2007, Freddy was bang in contention going into Sunday, before slipping back to a still respectable 18th due to a disappointing 75.