PGA Tour Picks: CareerBuilder Challenge Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
With all due respect to Patton Kizzire, who looks like he will be a very good player on the PGA Tour for years to come, few people are going to remember last week's Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu because of his playoff victory. Golf was on no one's mind in Hawaii when on Saturday morning an emergency missile alert accidentally went out to everyone in the state, causing mass panic as people thought they were about to die because of a nuclear strike from North Korea.
I mean, what would you do if you got an official text message that read: EMERGENCY ALERT. BALLISITC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Holy terrifying! Justin Thomas explained his frame of mind when he got the alert: "I was like, 'there's nothing I can do.' I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it's my time, it's my time."
It was indeed a mistake caused by human error - the employed responsible has been reassigned (he should be drawn and quartered) and safeguards have been put in place to avoid this happening again.
Then on Sunday, Golf Channel camera crews and audio workers staged a walkout before Round 4 of the Sony Open. Naturally, it's all about money between the Golf Channel and its live tournament technicians union. I watched some of it and you could tell something was off, with commentary coming from Golf Channel headquarters in Orlando.
The strike caused the Sony Open to move up its tee times a bit on Sunday. Good thing it did because it took six playoff holes for Kizzire to beat James Hahn to become the first multiple-time winner on the PGA Tour in the 2017-18 season. Hahn shot a blistering final-round 62 to match Kizzire at 17-under 263. Kizzire had to get up-and-down from a bunker for par on the first extra hole to stay alive. It was the longest playoff ever in the Sony Open and longest on Tour since Bryce Molder won the Frys.com Open in 2012 in eight extra holes. Both Kizzire and Hahn, who was six shots back when he teed off Sunday, had good chances to win earlier in the playoff but missed birdie putts. Kizzire played the six extra holes at 2-under.
Zach Johnson was my winning choice at +3300. He finished T14 at 12 under. Got a few head-to-head props correct, but that was about it.
The California Swing begins Thursday at LaQuinta's Stadium Course at PGA West for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Only five of the world's Top 30 are set to play (most big names in Abu Dhabi). It's a part 72 measuring 7,113 yards. PGA West's Nicklas Tournament Course (par 72, 7,159) and LaQuinta Country Club (par 72, 7,060) are part of the rotation the first three days.
Canadian Adam Hadwin shot a 59 at this tournament last year but didn't win. Hudson Swafford got his first career victory by finishing at 20 under in Palm Springs, one better than Hadwin. Swafford was the 36-hole leader but found himself two back of Hadwin when he teed off Sunday. Swafford won it with a three-birdie streak starting on No. 15. Hadwin followed his third-round 59 with a 70.
Golf Odds: CareerBuilder Challenge Favorites
Spaniard Jon Rahm is the +900 favorite. He skipped last week after finishing runner-up in the year-opening Tournament of Champions, and the start before that Rahm won the European Tour finale in Dubai last November. He played here last year for the first time and was 34th.
Brian Harman is +1400. Harman was fourth last week and third the week before in Hawaii. He was also third here last year and 11th in 2016. Harman's hasn't finished worse than eighth in five PGA Tour starts this season.
Patrick Reed (+1800), Webb Simpson (+1800), Kevin Kisner (+2000) and Phil Mickelson (+2000) round out the favorites - Kizzire is just outside them at +2800. Reed won this event in 2014 and was T12 last year. It's his season debut. Simpson was fourth last week and had a seventh here in 2015. Kisner was T25 here last year and the same last week. Lefty won this twice back when it was the Bob Hope Classic. He was third two years ago.
Golf Odds: CareerBuilder Challenge Picks
For a Top 10, I like Rahm (-150), Harman (+135), former champion Jason Dufner (+300) and Bud Cauley (+300). Go Rahm at -225 as top Euro, Geoff Ogilvy (+220) as top Aussie. Head-to-head, I like Hadwin (even) over Russell Knox (-130), Kevin Chappell (-115) over Peter Uihlein (-115), Dufner (-115) over Howell III (-115), Johnson (-115) over Kizzire (-115), Kisner (-125) over Mickelson (-105), and Reed (-115) over Simpson (-115).
Just three times this century has a non-American won the Sony: Jesper Parnevik in 2000, Mike Weir in 2003 and Jhonattan Vegas in 2011. I'm going to take a shot on Cauley at +3300 to win. He had two Top 10s back at the start of the wraparound season and was T3 here last year and T14 in 2016. He has only missed the cut once in five trips.
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