PGA Tour Odds and Golf Picks: Transitions Championship Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 3/16/2011
It’s a bit of an off week on the PGA Tour as many of the top names in golf, especially the Europeans, take this week off following last week’s big-money World Golf Championships event at Doral and next week’s popular Arnold Palmer tournament at Bay Hill. But this week’s Transitions Championship in the Tampa Bay area was able to lure world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, and he is the betting favorite at +750 on WagerWeb.
Overall the field includes just two of the world’s Top 10 (Paul Casey being the other) and six of the Top 25 (Jim Furyk, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Retief Goosen). This will be Kaymer’s first appearance at this event, and it’s never easy to win playing a course for the first time. Plus, he struggled last weekend at Doral.
Let’s first start with a player who probably won’t win, but is available on a “top rest of the world prop” on WagerWeb at +1800: Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa. It certainly would be a great story if Ishikawa did win here as he is obviously playing with a heavy heart after all the devastation in his native country.
"It almost pains me that I am out here and that the people of Japan are going through the worst crisis,'' Ishikawa said to the media this week.”I am always watching the news. I can't walk away from it."
Through e-mail, Ishikawa was able to contact his parents, who assured him they were safe. You could tell the news from Japan affected Ishikawa last week at Doral. He shot a first-round 65 but then learned of the news on Friday and followed with a 76. Other than the Mariners’ Ichiro, polls show Ishikawa is the most popular athlete in his country. So let’s hope he’s in contention this week.
Perhaps Jim Furyk can break out of his early-season slump. He won here 2010 with a 13-under-par total. The 2010 Player of the Year and FedEx Cup winner ranks just 86th in greens hit and 101st in putting – two areas that used to be his strengths. Furyk couldn’t break 70 last week and goes off at +2600. He has a missed cut and a T-52 in his only other two appearances at this tournament.
For my Transitions Championship predictions it’s to argue against taking Retief Goosen at +1800 for PGA Tour odds. He won this event in 2003 and 2009 and finished fifth last year. Goosen has had a good week already with a strong performance in the prestigious but unofficial four-team Tavistock Cup held in Orlando on Monday and Tuesday. In Monday's better ball stroke play, Goosen and Graeme McDowell combined for a best-of-the-day 12-under 60. And in Tuesday's singles Goosen posted a one-under 71 to help Lake Nona to the win. Plus, Goosen played well last week.
Nick Watney is the second-favorite at +800 and comes in off that win at Doral last week – but he’s not great value because it’s simply too hard to win on back-to-back weeks. He has played well at Innisbrook in the past, placing fourth there last year and T-12 in 2009.
But the best overall value has to be Jonathan Byrd at +3000. He knows this course well considering he has played this tournament the past eight years. He finished T8 last year and in 2007 and T12 in 2009. And he played well last weekend with back-to-back 68s to finish T10 and ranked 10th in putting.
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