The PGA Tour is doing double duty this week, the second time this season that a regular tour event and a WGC event are taking place the same week.
This week, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational takes center stage with all but two players in the Top 50 in the OWGR competing from the Firestone Country Club South Course in Akron, Ohio. The Reno-Tahoe has to deal with that along with preceding the PGA Championship.
We focus on the Bridgestone for betting purposes as we have a field that has not been seen on many occasions this season because of its strength. In total, 72 players are in the limited field and, as is the normal case in these invitational tournaments, there’s no cut and the winner’s purse is $1.4 million while the minimum payout is $35,000. So there is a lot on the line.
The South Course at Firestone seems almost unfair to amateurs. It’s a Par 70 but measures 7,400 yards making it the longest Par-70 course of all non-majors. Surprisingly, the bombers off the tee don’t have a huge edge. The real way to score is hitting greens in regulation as the greens can be very receptive and can lead to good birdie chances. Firestone South ranked 16th out of 49 courses in difficulty last season.
Tiger Woods (+400) is the overwhelming favorite this week and for good reason. He’s won here seven times throughout his career, although his last victory came in 2009. He’s coming in with plenty of confidence with four wins but a Sunday meltdown at the Open Championship is his most recent action. Still, he’s tough to look past and even at short odds, we will add him as a hedge bet.
Matt Kuchar (+2,000) is coming off another strong finish as he placed T2 in Canada last week. The last time he finished second, which was at Colonial, he came back the very next week at the Memorial and won it. He has won twice this season to go along with five other Top 10s. Firestone is a place he likes, finishing T8, T19 and T9 the last three years.
The limited starts for Steve Stricker (+2,500) have not hurt his performance. He has four Top 10s in seven medal play events. He has finished outside the Top 20 only once and he’s coming off a T10 at the John Deere Classic in his last start. He leads the tour in greens hit, even though it’s unofficial because of his lack of rounds. He followed up a T9 in 2010 and a solo 14th in 2011 with a T2 at Firestone last year.
Henrik Stenson (+3,000) is getting the best odds from the Top 15, in my opinion. He’s playing his best golf of the season with two Top 5s in his last five PGA Tour starts, including a solo second at Muirfield. Prior to that was a T3 at the Scottish Open and his statistics fit the bill at Firestone. He’s first in driving accuracy at 71 percent and second in greens hit, also at 71 percent.
Bubba Watson (+4,000) is getting some solid odds despite having a rather disappointing season. He has three Top 10s with a solo fourth and a T4 being his best finishes, but he has been consistent with only two missed cuts in 15 medal play events. His length could be an advantage based on weather and his recent form at Firestone has been solid with a T19, T21 and T22 the last three years.
For a long shot this week, we turn to Angel Cabrera (+5,000). He was in the hunt at Muirfield until a double bogey on 16 Saturday turned the corner and he went 5-over in his last 21 holes. Still, it was a T11 finish which was his third straight Top 15. His solo second at the Masters is still his best finish of the season and he has had success at Firestone with three Top-5 finishes. Recommended tournament win six pack at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (all for one unit)
Tiger Woods (+400)
Matt Kuchar (+2,000)
Steve Stricker (+2,500)
Henrik Stenson (+3,000)
Bubba Watson (+4,000)
Angel Cabrera (+5,000)2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 29 events: -35.4 Units
Hyundai Tournament of Champions -5 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge - 5 Units
Farmer Insurance Open +3.5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open +19 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship +25.66 units
The Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Tampa Bay Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -1.5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -8 Units
RBC Heritage +27 Units
Zurich Classic of New Orleans -5 Units
The Wells Fargo Championship -5 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial -5 Units
Memorial Tournament -5 Units
FedEx St. Jude Classic -5 Units
U.S. Open -6 Units
Travelers Championship -5 Units
AT&T National -5 Units
Greenbrier Classic -5 Units
John Deere Classic -5 Units
Open Championship -5 Units
RBC Canadian Open +10 Units