Usually we just call it the greatest week in golf, and that phrase is reserved for a month from now. While this saying still holds true, the next month of golf is going to be fantastic. Starting with the Valero Championship, then the Arnold Palmer Invitational, then the Dell Matchplay… all leading up to THE MASTERS the first week in April. If you think you’re excited… feel these nipples.
I don’t want to put the buggy before the horse, or whatever the saying is… So rather than going deep into all of these tournaments, we’re just gonna focus on the Valspar this week, and specifically our guy, Tiger Woods. This week has a pretty strong field, especially when you compare it to the Valspar of 2017, (congrats to Adam Hadwin, the canuck who won it last season) but let’s get into the second cut of the field and tourney.
The track this week is the “The Snake Pit” course of Innisbrook in Tampa, which hasn’t seen Tiger there in 20+ years… So it’s gonna be a fresh change for the fans, the hosts, and TW himself. While I’m not worried about his familiarity with this tourney, I worry about the field, and if he will be able to compete with some of the big names… Especially when the goal is to “get reps in preparation for April”. Reports are that the rough is gnarly thick, and reminiscent of PGA National. So, if Tiger can keep the ball in play, and not find himself deep in the thick stuff, he may be able to fare well. He was playing exceptionally well at the Honda (excluding the bear trap – fuck those three holes), and was even in the hunt until he went pin-seeking on 16, trying to post a number on Sunday. But I feel the uptick on Tiger is strong, he’s striking the ball well, the putter was hot, and he continued to leave himself in positions to succeed (led the field in distance to the pin over the weekend).
So this week we’re setting our sights a tad higher, rather than just making the cut. We’re gonna bet the “TW 26th or Better” at (-115). I have faith in the Big Cat, not only to make T26, but I’d like to see him make strides of getting a T10 placement. Keys to doing that will be the driver… he mentioned in his presser about shaping his shots both ways, so if he can set himself up to shoot at pins, rather than recover from arrant drives, he will be in good shape.
Now that we talked about our savior, let’s dive into the rest of the field… Like I mentioned above, this field is much more talented than years past, and I’m excited to see some big names also getting reps with the WGC and Masters just around the bend. Spieth is leading the field (betting odds) at +850, followed up by Rory at +1400. There’s a slight dip after him, but the top 5 odds on favorites are all Euro’s behind Spieth (Sergio, Rosey, Henrik). I can’t in good faith bank on Rory or Jordan this time. Both of them have had issues with the flatstick of late, (Rory’s woes have haunted him for much longer though) so I’m gonna look for some value picks, rather than picking one of the favorites as I did when I called JT winning the Honda (NBD, I’m a gambling genius).
Based off previous years’ performances and tourney showings this season, I’m gonna hit Tony Finau at +2800 to win. He’s still in the top 10 of favorites this week and rightfully so. He’s playing great golf this year, and 100% would love to see him in the winner circle. Let’s see if he can piece all the parts of his game together, and come out with a W.
In addition to Tony, you gotta have another dog in the fight. While I’ll be cheering on Tiger to do as well as can be, I’m realistically going to take Sergio +1600. Again, I’m going back to the well… Sergio is starting to get his season going, off the hangover from winning the Masters, and I’m excited to see how he holds up this year. Gonna be hard to beat his 2017, but I feel he could get off to a great start by winning this week in his 3rd attempt of the year.
In addition to the regular picks of TW, and Who’s Gonna Win… I always like a couple pairings bets to play also. This week, these are the ones that jumped out at me:
Charl Schwartzel -1 ½ strokes over Kevin Streelman (ON THE WHOLE TOURNEY) -120
Ollie Schniederjans +1 ½ strokes vs Bill Haas (ON THE WHOLE TOURNEY) +110
Sergio Garcia -½ stroke(s) against Adam Scott (ON THURSDAY) -120
Matt Fitzpatrick -½ stroke(s) against Bill Haas (ON THURSDAY) -105
Happy Hunting this weekend ladies and gentlemen! GLBOL!