Prize Fund – $6,300,000
Winner’s Share – $1,134,000
Course – Torrey Pines Golf Course (7,569 yards par 72)
Our 2014 Picks – Marc Leishman (T2), Jason Day (T2), Hunter Mahan (T47), Ryo Ishikawa (T7), Luke Guthrie (T23)
Being European (Martin Laird), being betting people (Ryan Palmer) you’d think we would be annoyed at the outcome of the weekend’s Phoenix Open – but no we weren’t. We’ve followed Brooks for a couple of years now and love everything about him. As golf fans, it’s great to see the new generation coming through. Not to mention the recognition that gives the European system. Despite our philosophical outlook, we are still bereft of a winner in 2015. Things need to change.
So maybe the Farmers Insurance, where we had TWO second places last year, could be the event that kick-starts our year. There are so many storylines you will hear about this week – Can Woods do it on the track he has made his own? How will Phil fare on home soil after a poor 2014? How has Dustin Johnson been getting on during his time away from the game? Can the young guns continue their rise?
With all these events going on, it’s only fitting we come to a track like Torrey Pines. At 7,700 yards and somewhere that has hosted the US Open, you need to be good to win this. You need to find fairways, hit it long, scramble and not give anything back on the greens. Of course it’s great to see birdie-fests, but these are the events the you see the proper golf. You need to pick someone you think could do it on the major stage. With scoring difficult, it’s always good to see who will consistently take advantage of the par 5’s – something Scott Stallings and the people around him did well last year.
As always with this event, players will play one of their first two rounds on the much shorter Torrey Pines North Course (7,050 yards). Although for one round, play will be a lot easier and everyone will need to take advantage of that day. Let’s have another compelling week of golf!
DON’T FORGET – Our weekly competition with renowned magazine Golf Monthly continues, take a peak at the end of our selections to see how our stakes have been distributed this time.
You can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!
LATE ADDITION – Hideki Matsuyama (22/1 BetVictor)
With Graham DeLaet’s last minute withdrawal, we have to draft in another late addition. Odds previously dictated us staying clear of Matsuyama but after looking at everything in-depth once more there are too many factors in his favour. His driving, short game and recent form is set up ideally for Torrey Pines. The fact we have chosen him over Justin Rose (25/1) says it all.
Marc Leishman (55/1 Stan James)
The Aussie might prove a popular pick this week given his liking for Torrey Pines. Two 2nd places and a 9th aren’t bad at all for his first 6 times here. But what might put people off is his lack of play over the past few weeks. All we have seen of him is a 37th over in Hawaii, where he did shoot a 62. That in itself tells us his game is there but just wasn’t quite ready to produce that over 4 days. As we know though, Torrey Pines is a different beast.
You also have to look at his proven major form over the past couple of years (4th Augusta, 5th Royal Liverpool). With the stars on show and difficulty of the course this could prove key. He’s a solid driver of the ball and sometimes we’ve raised question marks over his putting – but he clearly knows what he’s doing on these greens…
LATE ADDITION – Keegan Bradley (50/1 Paddy Power)
This slot was originally earmarked for Hunter Mahan but with his withdrawal we’ve had a re-think. The rough is going to be brutal but with Torrey Pines as long as it is, driving will be everything this week. So we’ve focused heavily on that with this slot. Bradley was hitting the ball 304 yards last week and ranking 31st in driving accuracy. His form is there just obvious concerns lie with the change of putter. But Bradley will take advantage of the par 5’s too – he is the sort of calibre of player that will win this.
Brendan Steele (80/1 Paddy Power)
This one is certainly a case of ‘the week after’ where so many people fancied him last week given his tremendous showings at the Waste Management in the past. In truth, he’s the only player at this price range that really takes our fancy. Despite a couple of decent rounds last week things never reached the heady heights of his runner-up finish at the Humana.
What we are guaranteed from Steele is someone who drives the ball long and straight, finds plenty of greens and can scramble well too. Question marks surround his putting and things will certainly need to improve on that front. But the 3 solid showings on this course previously and his 2nd a couple of weeks ago make us very happy to go there at this price.
Aaron Baddeley (125/1 Various)
Always an interesting one backing the Aussie with you never knowing quite what you are going to get. At only 33, he has 3 PGA titles under his belt which certainly can go under the radar at times.
His game is best around his terrific ability on the greens. Rarely will you see Aaron ranked outside the top 10 of any putting stat. Having looked into that further, only once (2004) has Baddeley ranked outside the top 15 for putting. Wow. Things tee to green on the other hand haven’t been so fruitful. So after a good winter break it was really refreshing to see him come 17th last week. He was 7th driving distance (305 yards) and found a decent amount of greens. One worry would be his accuracy off the tee but at 125/1 things are never going to be perfect! A best of 6th here a couple of years ago – we like this one.
Lucas Glover (300/1 Coral)
A major winner first and foremost. Also a man who enjoys Torrey Pines. 9th (2010), 3rd (2009) and 4th (2006) isn’t bad going for this sort of track. It wasn’t so much last week that impressed us, although he drove solidly and was 10th GIR, it was the the Humana. He finished 15th, picked up a cheque for nearly $100,000 and ranked 2nd driving accuracy, 16th distance and 3rd GIR. Worries, like most of our picks, lie with the putter. But given his liking for the course, this is a solid 300/1 bet.
Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly. It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters! We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.
It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets. Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.
Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows –
£2.25 e/w on Hideki Matsuyama at 20/1
£1.35 e/w on Marc Leishman at 45/1
£0.75 e/w on Brendan Steele at 66/1
£0.35 e/w on Lucas Glover at 250/1
£0.60 win on Keegan Bradley at 50/1
Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power
Find the Golf Monthly Preview and their £10 picks here – (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)
Current Standings after 3 weeks
DownThe18th Golf Monthly
European Tour: £-19.20 European Tour: £-20
PGA Tour: £-5.38 PGA Tour: £54
Total: £-25.08 Total: £34
Golf Monthly leads by: £59.08