Golf Odds and Predictions: Omega Hills Mission World Cup
by Alan Matthews - 11/22/2011
Well, I am digging these golf team events, with another set for this weekend as the European Tour’s Omega Hills Mission World Cup tees off at the Mission Hills Resort in Hainan Island, China.
Last week’s Presidents Cup was a betting success if you took my advice. I recommended the USA beating the International Team in that competition, and the Americans didn’t let us down. But we also hit on the top International team points scorer, as Aussie Geoff Ogilvy tied for the top spot with 3.5 points. I also recommended Tiger Woods as the top scorer among the captain’s picks on the two rosters, and Woods did win that prop. The only one I missed was the overall points winner, which was American Jim Furyk with five points.
So on to this week’s team event. The World Cup is a two-man team tournament – there are 28 teams this year -- where players representing their country over 72 holes of stroke play with alternating rounds of fourball better-ball and foursomes in what is now an every-other-year event: The duos will alternate four-ball in the first and third rounds with foursomes in rounds two and four. This tournament began as the Canada Cup, but its name changed to the World Cup in 1967. It was in the rotation of World Golf Championships from 2000-2006.
The Blackstone Course on which this will be contested is a monster, a par-73 with five par-5s that can play up to 7,808 yards. The United States has dominated this event for the most part with 23 total wins, but in recent years the Americans haven’t sent their top players. This year Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland represent the U.S. The defending champions are Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari. On the 72nd hole of the 2009 tournament, the brothers had to get up-and-down from a bunker to secure the win and did, beating Sweden and Ireland by a stroke after a final-round 68. They are back to defend. Team Italy is 10/1 to repeat on Bodog.
Golf Odds: Omega Hills Mission World Cup Favorites
Ireland is the 4/1 favorite on Bodog to capture this tournament, not a surprise considering the Irish trot out the past two U.S. Open winners in Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy. They are trying to become the first Irish team to win the tournament since Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley in 1997. McDowell and McIlroy seem to play well together, having that runner-up finish here two years ago and scoring 1.5 points out of a possible three at the 2010 Ryder Cup as a team. Plus, both are playing well individually. McDowell, who struggled earlier this year, has two third-place finishes in last six starts. McIlroy has six straight top-four finishes, including a win at the Shanghai Masters.
The Irish aren’t the only team trotting out major winners from the past two years. South Africa is the second-favorite at 11/2 and has 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen. Schwartzel went 3-1-1 at the Presidents Cup last week. Oosthuizen hadn’t been much of a factor anywhere since taking the Claret Jug, but he has top-10 finishes in five of his last six starts worldwide.
England, featuring Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, is next at 7/1. Poulter teamed with Ross Fisher in 2009 to finish in fourth place at this event and played with Rose in the 2007 World Cup, finishing fourth. They went 2-1-0 as partners at the 2008 Ryder Cup.
The Americans, who haven’t won this event since Tiger Woods and David Duval did in 2000, see both Kuchar and Woodland make their World Cup debuts. Woodland could be a huge factor because he can drive the ball longer than anyone and that should be a big factor with the course’s length.
Golf Odds: Omega Mission Hills World Cup Pick
If you are looking for a longer shot, I like Sweden at 11/1. Robert Karlsson and Alex Noren make up Team Sweden. Karlsson has had success here, finishing runner-up last year with Henrik Stenson and winning the 2008 World Cup with Stenson. Karlsson and Noren joined forces twice at the Royal Trophy for Europe last year to deliver two points against Asia. Noren has played well this year with two victories on the Euro Tour.
I also think Germany, featuring former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka, is worth a look at 14/1. Kaymer has never been out of the Top 7 in their three previous World Cups, finishing tied for sixth in 2007, fifth in 2008 and tied seventh in 2009. The main question is how rusty Cejka will be. He has missed the past three months of the 2011 season after picking up an allergy to grass. But the Germans are my “value” pick to win the country’s third World Cup and first since 2006.
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