While I never fancied Furyk for Augusta, even after his win at Copperhead, it was impossible to imagine he would struggle so badly at the Masters. A superb Harbour Town record suggests this is a great chance for swift redemption. He’s made the top 15 on five of last seven visits, thrice inside the top four.
The golden rule in this event over the years has been to swerve players who were in contention at Augusta. That rules out Choi, then, despite that heroic Masters bid. In any case, he’s only ever played this course once, missing the cut nine years ago.
Gay won this by a distance last year, and can draw inspiration from the fact that several others have landed this title more than once. He hasn’t shown much in recent weeks, but in fairness few of the course layouts were ideal.
Villegas couldn’t have been more disappointing last week, ruling him out as far as the staking plan is concerned. I retain the view, however, that Camilo is a big improver, and as he’s made the top ten here before, could easily bounce back.
I’m rather surprised to see Casey in this line-up, after pulling out of his Houston Open defence with injury, and subsequently performing well below expectations at Augusta. World-class though he is, Casey is best watched for now.
Na is first reserve should any of my picks withdraw. He’s made the top 20 three times here previously, including fourth in 2007. Furthermore, his efforts as runner-up at Bay Hill strongly suggest that elusive first PGA Tour win is around the corner.
With such a strong emphasis on long game accuracy and prowess in windy condtions, one would expect Allenby to love Harbour Town. Yet that is anything but the case, as he’s only bettered 75th place once in six attempts.
The reigning Open champion is something of a Harbour Town specialist, winning this title twice and registering five top tens. There’s nothing encouraging to report yet in 2010 though.
This outstanding prospect has slipped back a little in recent weeks, but that is to be expected at his age. Nevertheless, short, narrow courses don’t seem his ideal, and previous leaderboards never contained anyone as young as Fowler.
Still no signs of a return from Garcia, who endured another miserable weekend at Augusta. At his best, Garcia would appreciate this set-up, even if he did nothing special on either previous visit.
Johnson fits the right sort of short, accurate profile that has tended to go well at Harbour Town, but hasn’t performed to his best in recent weeks. Five previous visits produced four failures.
Last week’s 12th at Augusta was a fine result for Kelly, bringing him into the argument now on a course where he made the top ten in both 2006 and 2007. He is exactly the type for this event.
Taylor is interesting after finishing runner-up at Redstone, before missing out on the Masters. That should leave him fresh for this bid, on a course where he has twice made the top four previously.
Boo is the most recent multiple Heritage champion, winning in 2007 and 2008 before a respectable 13th last year. He hasn’t been in anywhere near the same form over the past few months, but top 25s on two of his last three starts offer hope.
Another player who one would expect to appreciate this accuracy test, yet has repeatedly struggled at Harbour Town. One top-ten from seven visits is very ordinary for a player of Clark’s calibre.
Molder is another who should be fresh having missed the Masters, and came in for strong consideration at a nice price after four top tens from his last six starts. However, this will be his course debut, and he hasn’t looked convincing at all when presented with chances to win.
2010 STATS: -31pts
LONG-TERM ALREADY ADVISED
20pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN EXACTLY TWO MAJORS @ 5/1
8pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN EXACTLY THREE MAJORS @ 14/1