Golf Picks: Presidents Cup Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Sweden's Henrik Stenson did not have a very good 2018-19 season partly due to injury, but his 2019-2020 campaign is already looking promising after Stenson won the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on Saturday over a star-studded field. It doesn't count as an official PGA Tour win, and Stenson didn't earn any FedEx Cup points, but Stenson did earn enough world golf rankings points to move from 40 th to 26th.
Stenson shot a final-round 6-under 66 at the Albany Golf Club to finish 18 under and edge defending champion Jon Rahm by one shot. Stenson nearly had an albatross on the 15th hole on Saturday - the tournament was Wednesday-Saturday to allow players competing in this week's Presidents Cup in Australia more time to get Down Under. I went with Rickie Fowler to win in the Bahamas and he finished ninth in the field of 18.
We come to the end of our 2019 previews this week - we will be back for the 2020-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii - with the biennial Presidents Cup competition, which began in 1994. This is basically the Ryder Cup Lite, with Team USA not facing Europe but an International Team comprised of players from everywhere else on the planet. The Americans have dominated this event, going 10-1-1.
There are 12 players on each side, eight who qualify (Americans via PGA Tour FedEx Cup points and Internationals by world ranking) and four picked by the captains. This year's event is being played at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, the third time it hosts. No other international venue has hosted it multiple times. It plays to around 7,050 yards and would be a par 71 (only three par 3s) if this were stroke play but it's match play. The only International victory was at Royal Melbourne in 1998.
The International captain is South Africa's Ernie Els, a World Golf Hall of Famer who competed in many of these competitions. He has guys from Australia, Japan, South Africa, China, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Mexico, Canada and Chile. Abraham Ancer (Mexico), Haotong Li (China), Joaquin Niemann (Chile) and C.T. Pan (Chinese Taipei) are the first players from their respective countries to play in the Presidents Cup. It's the first time Els is a captain in this event. He has seven event rookies on his side.
Tiger Woods is the Team USA captain for the first time, and his four choices were himself (joining Hale Irwin as the only American player/captain), Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed. Technically, Woods got a fifth choice because world No. 1 Brooks Koepka had to withdraw last month due to injury so Tiger went with Fowler. Finau, Woodland, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele are American first-timers in this event.
Keep in mind that because the event is Down Under, the schedule is all out of whack from the Eastern Time Zone. Any days I reference are Australian time. There will be 30 matches overall: five foursomes (alternate shot) or fourballs (better ball) on Thursday, five of whichever format wasn't used Day 1 on Friday, and then four foursomes and four fourball matches spread out over two sessions Saturday, followed by 12 singles matches Sunday. Captains chose their teams/singles matchups, etc.
Each player must compete in one match before singles. All matches are worth one point each, for a total of 30 points. There can and will be matches that are halved. The event itself could be halved as it was in 2003; in that case, the defending Presidents Cup champion would retain it and that's Team USA off a 19-11 rout in 2017 at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey.
Golf Odds: Presidents Cup Favorites
To no surprise, the Americans are -275 at Bovada to win the Cup with the International Team at +250 and a tie at +1400
Justin Thomas is +500 favorite to be the top American scorer and +800 to lead all players. Dustin Johnson, who is coming off knee surgery that forced him to pull out of last week's tournament, is +650 and +900.
Scott and Hideki Matsuyama are +450 favorites to be the leading International scorer, with both at +1400 to lead all players in scoring. Schauffele is the +350 favorite to be top rookie scorer. The favored exact final score is USA 20-10 or better at +500.
Golf Odds: Presidents Cup Picks
This doesn't look like it will be close. The Internationals don't have a player ranked better than 18th in the world (Scott), and he's their only Top 20 guy. Five Americans are in the Top 10 and every USA player is in the Top 20 but Fowler and Matt Kuchar.
We will go with Scott to be the leading International scorer as he's the only member of the International team who played in the 2011 event at Royal Melbourne (he went 2-3-0). Let's go with Fowler at +1000 as top American scorer and +1800 overall. He was 3-0-1 for 3.5 points in the 2017 Presidents Cup.
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