PGA Tour Picks: The Presidents Cup Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/1/2013
It's not an official PGA Tour points event, but this week's Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, site of Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, is essentially the official end of the 2013 season. The new 2013-14 wraparound season begins next week with the Frys.com Open in California (which I will preview as usual).
Before I look at this week's Ryder Cup-style biennial event between the Americans and an International Team (non-Europeans), let's recap the Tour Championship results. Sweden's Henrik Stenson (16/1) got the biggest win of his career, winning the tournament by three shots over super-rookie Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker. That earned Stenson a cool $11.4 million -- $1.4 million for the Tour Championship and $10 million for winning the FedEx Cup. The tournament was a total flop for Tiger Woods as he opened 73-71 and finished T22 in the 30-man field. Don't feel too bad for Tiger as he got a $3 million bonus for finishing second in the FedEx Cup. He also was recently named PGA Tour Player of the Year. Tiger won five tournaments on the season. It was his 11th time winning POY and first since 2009. Woods said he was satisfied with the season, but you know that's not true. He only cares about majors.
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I didn't pick Stenson at the Tour Championship and missed my three Top-4 finish props. I was torn between Jim Furyk (T14) and Hunter Mahan (T20) to win and also thought an American would be a winning nationality. Overall, though, it's been a profitable season.
As for the Presidents Cup, the Americans have dominated this event in going 7-1-1 all-time in contrast to their struggles against Europe in the Ryder Cup. Here is the format this week: Foursome and fourball matches, which are halved if all at the end of 18 holes. Singles matches all square after 18 holes will to go extra holes until a match winner is determined. Thursday is alternate shot, Friday is best ball, Saturday is both, and Sunday is singles. Everybody on both sides plays each day but Saturday (two sit on each team). The winning team will have to accumulate no less than 17.5 points to win The Presidents Cup. If there is a tie, the Cup is shared, unlike in the Ryder Cup.
Here are the rosters from PGAtour.com.
United States: Keegan Bradley (1st Presidents Cup), Jason Dufner (1st), Bill Haas (2nd), Zach Johnson (3rd), Matt Kuchar (2nd), Hunter Mahan (4th), Phil Mickelson (10th), Webb Simpson (2nd), Brandt Snedeker (1st), Jordan Spieth (1st), Steve Stricker (5th), Tiger Woods (8th). Captain: Fred Couples.
International: Angel Cabrera, Argentina (4th Presidents Cup); Jason Day, Australia (2nd); Brendon de Jonge, Zimbabwe (1st); Graham DeLaet, Canada (1st); Ernie Els, South Africa (8th); Branden Grace, South Africa (1st); Marc Leishman, Australia (1st); Hideki Matsyama, Japan (1st); Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa (1st); Charl Schwartzel, South Africa (2nd); Adam Scott, Australia (6th); Richard Sterne, South Africa (1st). Captain: Nick Price, Zimbabwe.
As that site points out, eight Americans rank No. 1 in the Tour's All-Around statistic (Tiger is No. 1), while only three International players do.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: The Presidents Cup Favorites
At Bovada, the Americans are -300 favorites with the International Team at +250 and a tie at +1400. Tiger is the 9/2 favorite to be the top American player, followed by Mickelson (7/1), Stricker (7/1), Bradley (9/1) and Kuchar (9/1). Scott is the 7/2 leader as top International player followed by Day (11/2), Schwartzel (13/2), Els (9/1) and Oosthuizen (10/1). Clearly there will be many more props and odds once the first-day pairings are revealed on Wednesday.
PGA Tour Picks: The Presidents Cup Betting Predictions
If you go simply by past performance at Muirfield, Woods is the clear choice. He has five wins in 14 starts at Muirfield Village in the Memorial Tournament. He did struggle there this year with a career-worst T65 finish. Tiger's third-round 79 was his worst-ever number at Muirfield. He is 20-14-1 all-time in Presidents Cup play but only 2-3-0 two years ago.
Kuchar won the Memorial this year, and his stroke average of 70.33 is second-best to Woods there among the Presidents Cup U.S. players. Kuchar is 1-3-1 in his Presidents Cup career. Mickelson is the only player to have played in every Presidents Cup, and he is 18-14-10. Lefty has three Top-10s in his career at Muirfield.
On the International side, Scott is 10-13-2 all-time in this competition. He has two Top-10 finishes in eight starts at Muirfield. Day has yet to have even a Top-25 at Muirfield in five trips even though it's his home course (Day is an Aussie but lives in Ohio). He's 1-3-1 in this event. Els won in 2004 at Muirfield but hasn't had a Top-30 at the venue since 2009. He's 17-16-2 in this competition. Schwartzel was T8 this year at Muirfield and 3-1-1 in his Presidents Cup debut two years ago.
The American side is clearly much deeper -- plus Oosthuizen just recently returned after missing almost three months with back trouble -- so you have to lean on the USA. As for top players, I like Schwartzel for the Internationals and Stricker for the Americans. I'm not sure Tiger or Phil are really 100 percent into this competition and are ready to start their offseasons. Stricker was paired with Tiger at last year's Ryder Cup, and the duo went 0-3. However, Stricker is 11-8-0 in this event and finished no worse than T4 in his final three PGA Tour events in 2013.
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