PGA Tour Picks: Byron Nelson Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/15/2013
Is Tiger Woods good for the game of golf? Of course he is. Ratings skyrocket whenever he's in contention, and PGA Tour pros now make obscene purses because of the Tour's boom in popularity due to Woods. With all due respect to any before him, Woods is the first golfer to become a pop culture world-wide icon (not always for good reasons).
But in one respect, golf isn't better with Tiger because no one has stepped up to become a true rival. Greg Norman had Nick Faldo and a few others. Nicklaus had Arnie and Trevino, and so on. David Duval looked like he might be Tiger's foil, but Duval flamed out quickly like a dying star. Phil Mickelson is a Hall of Famer, but he never became that rival, either. Sergio Garcia had the charisma to be the guy. However, while Garcia has had a very successful career and is one of the best Ryder Cup players ever, he still hasn't won a major. And it seems whenever he duels with Tiger that he folds.
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Last week's Players Championship was a perfect example. Tiger and El Nino were tied for the lead with two holes remaining on Sunday. Woods made two pars, while Garcia hit three balls in the water to finish quadruple-bogey, double-bogey. Garcia did add some fire to the rivalry by accusing Woods of pulling out a club during Saturday's round and, thus, inciting the crowd while Garcia was in mid-swing. First off, it's a joke that golfers can't hit with noise -- I mean, baseball players can hit a moving 100 mph ball in the rain/snow and in front of tens of thousands of yelling fans. However, it is a breach of etiquette. Garcia sounded like a whiner afterward, but then his "case" got a little credence when Woods said two course marshals told him he could start his pre-shot routine, and the marshals said afterward that they never once spoke to Woods. This is exactly the kind of controversy golf needs to generate buzz, and let's hope that Garcia and Tiger are paired together again soon.
It's now clear that Woods is all the way back with his fourth win this year -- could he top his nine-win 2000 season? I wouldn't rule it out. And I'd be shocked if he doesn't win at least one major this year. He will be such a ridiculous favorite, however, that I won't be recommending him. I didn't pick Tiger to win last week but hit on him with a Top 10 (-180) and beating Rory McIlroy at -165 head-to-head. My best result perhaps of the year was recommending every head-to-head Bovada prop of X player against Phil Mickelson (and there were several). Lefty missed the cut. I did mention Sergio was worth a look to win at 28/1 but went with Luke Donald at 18/1. He was a disappointing T19.
Now the Tour begins its two-week Texas Swing with the Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort outside of Dallas/Fort Worth. You won't see most of golf's biggest names again until the Memorial in two weeks. Just seven of the world's Top 25 are here, led by Louis Oosthuizen and defending champion Jason Dufner. Unfortunately, Dustin Johnson had to withdraw for the third straight event (he played one round last week before back issues flared up again).
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Byron Nelson Championship Favorites
Aussie Jason Day is your 12/1 Bovada favorite to win. It's easy to see why, as Day won this tournament in 2010 and was fifth and ninth the following two years. Day was T19 at the Players, has two third-place finishes in 2013 and hasn’t missed a cut.
Mr. Consistency Matt Kuchar is at 14/1. His best finish here was a T6 two years ago followed by a T15 in 2012. He actually hasn't been great since winning the Match Play in February with just one Top-10 finish. But you know he's going to make the cut.
Dufner is 16/1 to repeat. He was red-hot this time last year and sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat out Dicky Pride by a shot. Dufner hasn't won since, and this season has been one of the Tour's big disappointments with nary a Top-10 finish.
Keegan Bradley is 18/1 followed by Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Marc Leishman, all at 20/1. Bradley followed his win here in 2011 with a T24 last year. Oosthuizen missed the cut in his only visit last year. Schwartzel, who is making his first visit, had 13 straight worldwide Top 25 stroke-play finishes before a T55 last week. You are probably asking, Marc Leishman? He has three finishes of T12 or better in his past four visits and was T3 a year ago.
PGA Tour Picks: Byron Nelson Championship Predictions
On the Top-10 props, I love Leishman at +200 -- he finished T8 last week for his third straight Top 10 this year. I also like Day at +120 and Oosthuizen at +170. Head to head, I like Day (-110) over Kuchar (-110), Bradley (-110) over Dufner (-120) and Jimmy Walker (-125) over Robert Garrigus (-105).
Walker is tempting to win at 30/1. He is playing very well this season with eight Top-25 finishes and shot a final-round 67 last week at the Players, the best in the field, to finish T15. But my guy this week for value is D.A. Points at 33/1. I rather wish he hadn't won already in 2013 as it's so tough to win two tournaments in a season. But he's having a career year, also adding a runner-up to sit in the Top 10 on the money list. Points didn't play great last week but has finished inside the Top 20 of this tournament three of the past four years, highlighted by a third.
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