Golf Odds and Predictions: World Cup of Golf Picks
by Alan Matthews - 11/19/2013
It certainly wouldn't suck to be Henrik Stenson right now as he sits on top of the golf world. Despite playing with a wrist injury that forced him out of the pro-am,. the Swede dominated at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai by finishing at a tournament-record 25-under 263 to win the European Tour's Race to Dubai on top of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup title. Stenson is the third straight player, joining Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, to win the money titles on both tours in the same season but the first to win the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup as well as the first to win both season-ending Tour Championships. He's up to No. 3 in the world and wants to unseat Tiger Woods at No. 1.
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Alas, I didn't like Stenson at 10/1 to win last week because of that wrist injury, but perhaps that's what I get for actually caring about a golf injury list. It's not like a 300-pound defensive end was going to land on Stenson's wrist and aggravate it. I went with Justin Rose at 7/1, and he finished 10th at 13-under. On the Top-10 props I hit on Rose (-185), McIlroy (-200) and runner-up Ian Poulter (-115). Head-to-head, I was 0-for-3.
This week I will jump over to Royal Melbourne Golf Club, the most storied course in Australia, for the World Cup of Golf. This will be sort of a preview of the 2016 Summer Games. It used to be a team-only event, but this week the 60 players in the field, with up to two per country (or up to four per country if all players are ranked in the Top 15 in the world) will be competing both as individuals and as part of a team. It's regular stroke play, but the top two ranked players from each team will compete for the country portion as well. Since 2000, this had been alternating stroke play rounds of fourball and foursomes, so more like a Ryder Cup.
The two American players competing are Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman. Kuchar and Gary Woodland won this tournament when it was last held two years ago in China. It hasn't been held at Royal Melbourne since 1988. While golf's biggest stars aren't playing this week, it's still a pretty good field. In fact, there are three tournament winners from last week playing: Aussie Adam Scott beat Kuchar by two shots for the Australian Masters on this course, China’s Liang Wen-chong won the Asian Tour event and Japan's Hideto Tanihara took the Japan Golf Tour event. Tanihara edged out Ryo Ishikawa (and two others), and those two are teammates this week. A total of 13 players from the Top 50 world rankings are teeing it up from 34 countries.
Golf Odds: World Cup of Golf Favorites
Scott is the 3/1 Bovada favorite, and he has won two straight events in his native country, also taking the Australian PGA the week before last in his first tournament in Australia since winning the Masters. Kuchar is the 7/1 second-favorite at Bovada (Streelman 50/1). He led last week by two strokes while teeing off Sunday on No. 15 and was even with Scott on 18 but double-bogeyed to finish second.
If there is any good karma in this world, then Aussie Jason Day (15/.2) will win this week. He lost an unthinkable eight relatives in the typhoon that struck the Philippines last week, including his grandmother. I can't believe Day is even playing. Day's mother migrated to Australia from the Philippines around 30 years ago.
The favorites are rounded out by Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, who was T17 last week in Dubai and has two Euro Tour wins this year, and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who was 34th last week. McDowell and McIlroy were runners-up in the 2009 World Cup. Shane Lowry is the other Irish player this week.
On the team props, Australia is 13/8 followed by the USA (6/1), Ireland (9/1), Italy (12/1) and Sweden (12/1). Italy's Molinari brothers won this tournament four years ago. Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero are the Italian duo this time.
Golf Odds: World Cup of Golf Picks
On the Round 1 3-ball option, I love Molinari at +150 against Miguel Angel Jimenez and Streelman. Ditto McDowell (+165) against Day (+135) and Jonas Blixt (+250). The marquee Round 1 3-ball options is Scott (+120) vs. Kuchar (+150) and Manassero (+330). Take Scott there. As of this writing there are no Top 10 or head-to-head props, and with the early start time in the USA this week, I wanted to get this story in early.
Hard to pick against Scott this week considering he knows the course as well as anyone, and he just played well on it last week. However, it's almost unheard of to win three weeks in a row, no matter what kind of fields you are up against. And I don't like Team Australia because I'm guessing Day's head really isn't into this. I'm not a big fan of Streelman, who will likely drag down Kuchar. Thus, on the team side I favor the Italians but don't believe either player wins the event. I think McDowell takes it. He grew up on links-style courses and usually plays them well, and that's what Royal Melbourne is very similar to.
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