PGA Tour Picks: A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier Odds and Predictions
When I think of Italy, I don't much think of a country that churns out stellar golfers. Soccer players, sure. Chefs, heck yes. Golfers? Not so much.
Still, it surprised me to earn that no Italian had won on the PGA Tour since someone named Toney Penna in 1947. That drought ended on Sunday at the last Quicken Loans National to be held in the Washington, D.C., area and hosted by Tiger Woods as Francesco Molinari tied the TPC Potomac course record with an 8-under 62 in the final round to win the tournament by eight shots. That tied for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season. Molinari's total of 21-under 259 broke the tournament record by seven shots.
Normally, Molinari would have been playing the European Tour's French Open at the 2018 Ryder Cup course, but he opted to stay in America in hopes improving his FedEx Cup points standing after not making to the Tour Championship a year ago. Now he has a two-year exemption in the States and is up to No. 42 in the FedEx Cup. It was Molinari's first PGA Tour win; he won the HSBC Champions in 2010 and that's now a PGA Tour event, but the Tour didn't count it as a win back then unless it was won by a member of the PGA Tour. Molinari has five European Tour wins, with that HSBC Champions one of them.
Tiger finished tied for fourth in the tournament that benefits his foundation (won't any longer as it moves to Detroit), his third Top 10 of the year. Tiger's 21 birdies were tied for the most in the field this week and his most in a tournament since the 2015 Wyndham Championship.
Frankly, the most interesting thing to come out of that tournament was Joel Dahmen accusing fellow Tour pro Sung Kang of cheating during the final round. I've not heard of a player publicly accusing another like that. Apparently, Dahmen thought Kang took an illegal drop and the two argued about it for so long that the group behind them played through. Can't say I've heard of that, either. The PGA Tour issued a statement on Monday that said a whole lot of nothing and that there was no clear evidence that Kang cheated and the matter was closed.
This week, the PGA Tour heads to West Virginia for the only professional event in that state that I know of (maybe there's a rodeo or minor-league baseball), at least major one. The former Greenbrier Classic is now called the A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. I guess the Greenbrier Resort has a deep past in regards to the military all the way back to the Civil War. The Old White TPC Course is a par 70 measuring 7,286 yards. It's perhaps the last chance for some guys to qualify for the British Open. Up to four more can depending on how they finish; four did last week as well.
This tournament has only been around since 2010, when you may remember that Aussie Stuart Appleby shot a final-round 59 to win. The 2016 tournament was canceled due to heavy flooding in that area, which also caused a fair amount of damage at the course. The defending champion is Xander Schauffele, who finished at 14-under 266 to edge Robert Streb by a shot. That and winning the Tour Championship are what got Schauffele named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors, but he's not playing all that great in 2018.
Schauffele is back to defend; every former winner of the tournament is playing. This will be the last time several guys tee it up before the British Open. Not a lot of big names in the field with many already overseas.
Golf Odds: A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier Favorites
Bubba Watson and Tony Finau are the co-favorites at Bovada , priced +2000. Can't remember the last time the favorite had such long odds in a Tour event. Bubba, who owns a place on the resort grounds, took last week off after winning the Travelers Championship in Hartford for the third time in his career. Bubba has yet to finish in the Top 10 at this tournament and was 70th last year. Finau comes off a T5 at the U.S. Open and was seventh here in 2017.
Phil Mickelson, who also has a place at the resort, Russell Henley and Webb Simpson are all +2200. Lefty has played here four times and only made the cut last year with a T20. Simpson was third here as recently as 2014 and 14 th last year. Henley was T5 last year here and in 2015.
Golf Odds: A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier Picks
For a Top-10 finish, I like Henley (+135), Simpson (+135), former champion Danny Lee (+300) and two-time runner-up Streb (+800) even though he has been terrible this year. Head-to-head, go Finau (-135) over Lefty (+105), Lee (-110) over Brian Gay (-120), Henley (-+105) over Simpson (-135), Keegan Bradley (-120) over Kevin Streelman (-110), and Jimmy Walker (-110) over Brian Harman (-120).
Let's go Walker at +3300 to win. He's not playing exceptional at the moment but was fourth here in 2010 & '11 and a runner-up in 2013. Last year he played through Lyme disease and still was T18.
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