Naturally when betting on such an event, the draw must be tightly scrutinised. Once we’ve taken out those three, along with rank outsider Scott Strange who looks out of his depth, that leaves just 12 candidates, with three of the four groups containing at least one weak link. Though any of them could potentially win the event, I reckon it makes sense to completely avoid the ‘Group of Death’, to borrow a parlance generally associated with football. Group C contains Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Angel Cabrera and Simon Dyson.
That’s not to rule out any of them. Stenson and McIlroy look particularly strong candidates, but only one can reach the semis and that makes their single-figure quotes look rather skinny. Moreover, that semi-finalist is by no means certain to be either of this ‘big two’, as Cabrera has good matchplay credentials, having reached the Wentworth final two years ago, and Dyson is one of the hottest players in Europe right now.
Instead, my plan is to back one from each of the other three groups. knowing if any reach the final an overall profit will be guaranteed. Even if just one reaches the semis, that would represent a strong position.
Firstly, Group A consists of Casey, Strange, Retief Goosen and ANTHONY KIM. Obviously given my above comments, this boils down to a choice between Goosen and Kim, both in decent double-figure odds. Each-way terms with most bookies are 1/2 the odds to reach the final, so if one of them wins the group, we’d be carrying 6/1 or 7/1 about them winning the semi-final, and double that to win the event. That’s big value, and I was tempted to back them both.
However to simplify, I’ve gone for the younger man. Kim has impressed with his matchplay temperament in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and the early rounds of the WGC-Matchplay. Matchplay is probably a better format for an inexperienced player like Kim, as his occasional disaster hole will only cost one hole in this format, as opposed to several shots that can end a challenge for a strokeplay event. A similar argument would have been made for McIlroy had he not been given such a hard draw.