PGA Tour Picks: World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship Odds
By all accounts, reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas is a good dude. And I doubt he cares what I think, but come on man! Thomas had a fan ejected from the course over the weekend for rooting against him at the Honda Classic, which Thomas would go on to win in a playoff over relative unknown Luke List. It was Thomas' seventh victory in his past 31 worldwide starts, and he's just the third player in the past 30 years with eight PGA Tour wins before age 25.
But, man, pro golfers get on my nerves sometimes. They act so high and mighty if someone makes even the slightest noise during a backswing or putt or whatever (and that heckler waited until after Thomas hit his ball). That's what makes the annual PGA Tour event on Super Bowl weekend in Scottsdale so much fun because it's so boisterous. If the PGA Tour wants to start luring younger fans, it needs to allow cheering and heckling like you'd hear at a football game.
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Thomas birdied the par-5 18th hole on Sunday to force a playoff and then came back and birdied it again on the first hole of sudden death to win it. It's Thomas' second victory this season along with a playoff victory at the CJ Cup in South Korea back in the fall. The Honda Classic was the ninth time he has gone into the final round at no worse or tied for second, and he has won seven of those times. That's called closing. Thomas has moved to No. 3 in the world, passing good buddy Justin Spieth, who is now fourth.
Frankly, I didn't get much right last week. I certainly didn't address List, whom I have barely heard of. I thought defending champion Rickie Fowler would contend, but he missed the cut. Ditto Sergio Garcia, but he was T33. My longer-shot choice was Billy Horschel, and he missed the cut. Tiger Woods looked very good in finishing T12. It's still not clear when he will play again (my guess is Bay Hill), but it won't be this week at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
Before we preview that event, some great news from the golf world in my opinion: The USGA has done away with the 18-hole Monday playoff at the U.S. Open. Yes, there have been some memorable playoffs, with the last one Tiger's win over Rocco Mediate in 19 holes in 2008 - still Woods' last major victory. Beginning this year, the USGA will have a two-hole aggregate playoff. If it's still tied after that, it's sudden death. The Masters uses sudden death, while the PGA Championship has a three-hole aggregate playoff and the British Open four. This change makes all the sense in the world in terms of television, fan interest, etc. This year's U.S. Open is at difficult Shinnecock Hills in New York.
The WGC-Mexico Championship is tough to handicap because it's only the second year of the event. Remember, this used to be the Doral Tour stop before the PGA Tour left Miami because of Donald Trump owning Doral (the Tour won't admit that). Unfortunately, this field isn't as good as it should be with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Henrik Stenson skipping the no-cut tournament.
Dustin Johnson won the inaugural WGC-Mexico Championship last year at the par-71 Club de Golf Chapultepec, which measures 7,330 yards at high elevation. Johnson, who was debuting as the No. 1 player in the world here last year, had a four-shot lead entering the back-nine Sunday but quickly faced a one-shot deficit to Jon Rahm. However, DJ. birdied the par-5 15th, and closed with three pars for a 3-under 68. He finished at 14-under 270, one shot ahead of Tommy Fleetwood. Rahm was two back with Ross Fisher.
Golf Odds: WGC-Mexico Championship Favorites
Johnson is +600 to repeat. He is the only player to have won all four current WGC events. He also took the Match Play last year, the Bridgestone Invitational in 2016 and the HSBC Champions in 2013. Johnson took last week off following a 16th at the Genesis Open.
Thomas is +800 with Rahm at +1200. Thomas finished fifth here a year ago and was T9 the week before the Honda up the Florida coast. Rahm hasn't played since a T26 at Pebble Beach.
Spieth is +1200 - he was on the fence about playing - with Fleetwood and Fowler each at +1600. Spieth 12th last year, Fowler 16 th and Fleetwood had that runner-up finish. The Englishman has yet to win a WGC event but it's only a matter of time.
Golf Odds: WGC-Mexico Championship Picks
For a Top 10, go with Rahm (even), Justin Rose (+140) and Fleetwood (+140). Like Rahm as top continental European at +175 and Fleetwood (+500) as top overall European. Some limited prop options at Bovada as of this writing, so we'll just cut to the chase.
Go with Fleetwood to win his first career PGA Tour event and fourth on the European Tour (this counts on both). He had that runner-up here last year, ranking T5 in greens in regulation (a statistic in which he leads the Euro Tour currently) and T4 in par-5 scoring. He comes off a solo fourth at the Honda.
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