Because it is too early to have the Euro Tour leader board up right now.

The Tour heads back to its annual New Orleans stop at the TPC of Avondale. This TPC course does not a whole lot different from the others despite what the writeup on the PGA Tour website says. I think of this course as the TPC of Scottsdale with less fans and Bermuda grass.

That being said, this course should really favor great ball strikers. There will be a fair amount made about the length of this course(7,341), but I don’t think Driving Distance will be an important factor, as usual, in who wins this week.

Look for the guys that put it on the green in regulation the most to do well here. That brings me to my looks:

Nicholas Thompson: Nicholas has been sitting at the bottom of my radar for some time, because of his overall talent. He has not played well at all this season, but when I think about courses like this where the greens aren’t too difficult I think about Nicholas Thompson. Then I looked and saw he finished fourth last year here, so that is enough to push a borderline value out of the picture.

Ben Crane: Crane has played well this season, and again fits the mold of great ball striker, but he has drawn attention for his good play and I am not willing to take a shot on him.

Scott Piercy: I have my eyes really focused on Scott. He has played probably better than any NW tour graduate so far this season, and excelled on the TPC Scottsdale earlier this season. ML tells me he really improved about mid way through the Nationwide Tour season last year, and has obviously played well since. He hit about 70% of the GIR’s last season on the NW Tour and is at 66% so far this season. That is a pretty good number, although those stats are very flawed, but I’m just not comfortable taking a shot here with Scott, because his price has dropped and the reason I know about him is because he has played so well this season. I’m keeping my eye on you, though, Scott.

Which brings me to:
Steve Marino +6600(.15)
Top-5 +1000(.9)

I love Marino at these big ball striking courses. Off the top of my head If you asked me two courses this reminds me of, It is Scottsdale and Canada. Marino finished third in Canada.

I hate to sound like I really think this is about course form, but I look at a course like this and Marino’s game seems to fit. That just helps me make a decision that is based mostly on Steve’s general underratedness and quality of play.

Kenny Perry +115 over Nick Watney(1):
As far as I can figure this line is built on Watney’s one win here and recent hot play of both players. I love how Watney’s course form is impeccable this year because of a win 2 years ago, yet people aren’t counting a mediocre t-42 last year. Thanks, guys. Perry was 23rd last year in this event, so its not like he doesn’t have a history here.

If I use my yearly, 16 month, and only this PGA Tour season numbers they all come out with KP ahead. In the short run(this season), They both have been pretty darn good, but Watney is getting blown out of proportion for a win this season and on this course. I’ll take my chances with KP at plus-money.

Steve Marino -105 over Bubba Watson(1):
Bubba had a decent Masters, but lets not confuse that with “Bubba is a good golfer.”

Round 1:
Steve Stricker +145 over Watney/Snedeker(1)
Steve Marino +141 over Beem/Quinney(1)

Good luck.


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