Bethpage Black is an extremely challenging golf course, as it demonstrated when hosting the hardest tournament in golf, the US Open, in both 2002 and 2009. Good ball striking and length off the tee will will be a significant advantage on this 7,468 yard par-71 track, with good scrambling skills a definite plus.
Tiger Woods won the US Open in 2009, the last time a PGA Tour event was held at Bethpage, but there is no value in his price at 7/1. Rory McIlroy is also priced at 7/1, and despite his imperious performance at the PGA Championship, his odds are simply not good enough in a field containing the world’s top six and nine of the world’s top 10.
That being said, there are some generous odds on offer, and past play-off form, as well as previous performances at Bethpage, give us some useful pointers.
Justin Rose, at 20/1 with Ladbrokes, looks to be the perfect fit for Bethpage. He has an excellent play-off record, finishing sixth at the Barclays last year and winning the BMW just two weeks later. He comes into the tournament in good form after a top five at Firestone and top three at the PGA Championship, where he shot 66 in the final round. He currently leads the PGA Tour in Greens in Regulation, sits 19th in Total Driving, sixth in Adjusted Scoring and fourth in the All-Around Ranking.
It was hard to ignore Keegan Bradley at 25/1, but Sergio Garcia, at the same price with Ladbrokes, has a lot going for him. The Spaniard can look average and disinterested when his confidence is low, but one of the best in the world when he finds some belief. His victory last week will do wonders for his confidence, and he often performs well in events with strong fields (2008 Players Championship and 2011 Andalucia Masters, to name but two). What’s more, he is a fantastic driver of the golf ball, and won back-to-back tournaments last year in Spain. To add the icing on the cake, he finished fourth at Bethpage in 2002 and 10th in 2010.
Matt Kuchar is a decent bet at 40/1 with Ladbrokes. He missed the cut last week, but excels in the play-offs, winning the Barclays in 2010 and finishing second last year. He is third on the PGA Tour in Scoring Average, eighth in the All-Around Ranking and first in number of top 10s.
I also like the look of Bill Haas at 50/1 with Ladbrokes. He has been working extremely hard on his game of late, which has translated into some good recent performances. He finished in the top 25 at Firestone and Kiawah Island, and recorded his first top 10 since February at last week’s Wyndham Championship. What’s more, he has an affinity with the Fed-Ex Cup, having lifted the trophy last year.
Chad Campbell, at 150/1 with Ladbrokes, is a fantastic price. He often performs well in the biggest events, as he showed by winning the 2003 Tour Championship and missing out in a play-off at the 2009 Masters, and finished inside the top five last week at the Wyndham.
The Barclays advised bets:
2pts outright on Justin Rose at 20/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Sergio Garcia at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Matt Kuchar at 40/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Bill Haas as 50/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way Chad Campbell at 150/1 with Ladbrokes