While those and many others are on a downward spiral at the tail-end of the season, others have found renewed momentum for this playoff series. Two of this week’s selections, PADRAIG HARRINGTON and BRANDT SNEDEKER, have turned around a poor year with a series of good efforts in recent weeks, and therefore loom particularly large in this reduced field.
Before getting to that pair and the rest of this week’s selections, I must discuss the tournament favourite Tiger Woods and his brand-new arch-rival Steve Stricker. Speaking of momentum, nobody has more than Stricker, for whom Monday’s win was his third in nine starts, and came off the back of a narrow defeat in the Barclays. Winning back to back is never easy, but he must feel confident about Cog Hill; a course where he won back in the nineties and finished third in 2007. That was before the redesign, and if it does play like a US Open, that will further aid Stricker’s cause.
I’m tempted to say Tiger’s FedEx Cup bid is faltering after a strangely subdued performance in Boston, but he still heads the points list. Moreover, if anybody else had shot 63 in their latest round, it might be considered a positive reason to back them. Nevertheless, even considering Woods’ four wins from six events at Cog Hill, he doesn’t interest me at 2/1 this week. I’m not convinced the redesigned course will favour him in quite the way it used to, as new hazards have been built to protect against the biggest hitters. The consequence should be to make this a more strategic test; the type of event that Woods sometimes wins but rarely dominates.
Harrington on the other hand is a winner waiting to happen. He messed things up in Boston with some errant driving, and won’t get away with any more of that around here either. That’s three tournaments in four where Harrington has blown a great chance effectively on one hole, but given his previous prolific history, I reckon they should be dismissed as a series of freakish occurences. His second, tenth, second, fourth form figures read exceptionally well, and warrant at least a win only saver at 14/1.