Buick Invitational preview: Tiger Woods and the three golden rules of golf betting
Today a new name enters the pantheon of the world’s greatest optimists: one Rupert Adams, a spokesman for the UK bookmakers William Hill, who declared Wednesday: “As always Tiger is the one we need to get beaten and we will be hoping for a genuine Tiger slump this year.” Mr Adams would at this time like to quash rumours that he is a distant relative of King Canute.
But you can understand his frustration, if not sympathise (he’s a bookie for heaven’s sake!). There’s been a veritable tsunami of money on Tiger Woods to win his 2007 debut. By my simple calculations about three-quarters of the dosh going into bookies’ hands is for Tiger. His nearest rival, Phil Mickelson, is attracting just 10% of Woods’s total. There’s some brave layers out there.
Or are they? There is, Mr Adams will be pleased to hear, an alternative view. This says that Tiger has been somewhat lucky at Torrey Pines. Certainly last year he only just scraped into a playoff, where Jose Maria Olazabal missed a sitter for victory. Woods himself was moaning about the difficult greens being almost impossible outside 3ft. So for all his amazing record here Tiger is no gimme. Although he is going for his seventh straight PGA win, he did lose a couple of events at the end of last year.
The PGA Tour website has published an interesting page of Tiger stats showing that since 1996 he is four wins from 11 in his seasonal debuts. which if my maths is correct is about what his odds suggest. And for all his great Buick record - four wins and never worse than tenth - Tiger often struggles to get below 70 in the first round, even on the easier north course he is playing Thursday. So there’s every possibility of his price moving out after round one.
According to betting forum wags there are three golden rules of punting: 1. Never lay Tiger Woods except at the Nissan; 2. Never lay Tiger Woods period; 3. Don’t even think about it.
I hate rules, so I am going to take him on with a small lay.
And if not Tiger? A toughie. Some say the shorter rough this year will help the bombers and the greens being prepared for next year’s US Open will probably be even more difficult than ever. Last year’s stats were inconclusive: Woods won with good driving and iron work, but average putting, Nathan Green ran him close with a hot putter, while Olazabal did nothing much of anything great.
But this is my top 10 of players showing form in distance off the tee combined with either putting or greens in regulation:
Howell III, Charles
The two that interest me there are John Daly, who’s got his problems but was a winner here in 2004 and a respectable 28th in his first outing this year at the Sony, and Pat Perez, who also has a reasonable record here and was tenth in the Sony.
After last week’s awful showing I’m steering clear of not-so-fat-Phil Mickelson, although his record here is second only to Tiger’s. Vijay Singh doesn’t have an inspiring record here so I’m steering clear of him too.
Apart from these guys I’ll also be looking back to the players who will probably be feeling there’s a bit of unfinished business from last week - those who think they were cheated of victory by the wind: Justin Rose, Lucas Glover and John Rollins - the latter especially owes me one and he has course form (fourth last year). Justin may not win but I am sure he’ll have a good go.
Anyway you’ll have to excuse me while I duck out of the way of another tidal wave of money for Tiger.
|« Buick Invitational round one: It's going to get tougher for Tiger||Bob Hope Chrysler Classic round five: A hairy victory for Charley Hoffman »|
Tiger Woods 2.68; Phil Mickelson 11; Vijay Singh 14.5; Justin Rose 34; Stewart Cink 65; Robert Allenby 50; Charles Howell III 65; Jose Maria Olazabal 65; Rory Sabbatini 95; Rod Pampling 100
I feature a full betting leaderboard on my website although the prices currenbtly showing are Thursday morning (damn day job again!).
Comments are closed for this post.