Is it just me or is it mildly confusing remembering which tournament is on which tour this week. Probably because the PGA Tour has a Mercedes-Benz Championship and the European Tour has a BMW Championship.
The Alex Noren saga came to a successful end last week and it quickly became apparent that he is no longer value at minor European events considering he opened at roughly 30-1. So I set out to locate the next Alex Noren.
The criteria that made Noren so impressive to me was a combination of underrated, legitimately good, hits a lot of greens, looks like he can’t putt, was young enough to get better and had underperformed in 2009. I think that’s still a good way to go, so here is the list I came up with:
Wood and Schwartzel are too hot/too well known for me right now.
While I like the huge talent of Quiros, he has played better in 09 than his two year average, although at his age it is likely part of natural improvement. He has surfaced on people’s radars too, with some decent US performances.
GFC has played much better in 09 than 08 as well, although he has not been as good lately as he was earlier in Asia. Aiken has made dramatic improvements this year, too, and so had Oosthuizen. I wouldn’t say any of these players are out of the norm for a player with decent talent through his mid to late 20s, but it still doesn’t make them as solid as Noren was.
That leaves Larrazabal, as the lone player on the list who has been significantly worse than in 2008. The problem is that A) he wasn’t all that good in 2008 and B) he had a win to show for it. Those are pretty big strikes against him, that Noren didn’t have. I guess the wait for Noren’s heir apparent will have to continue.
If you put a gun to my head, I’d probably take Aiken or Rod Pampling this week, but I don’t see any guns near me so I’ll just pass.
The only one I considered playing was Pampling +105 v. Quiros, which is justifiable based on the last almost 2 years, but going forward Quiros will probably be the better player. Molinari -125 is somewhat appealing if I still didn’t like Alex and my funds were getting kind of low at the Greek.
Leans-wise, this was my list, in no particular order.
Those names probably sound familar, right?
The biggest problem here is that Tiger at +200 is way too generous of a price for his course history at Cog Hill and his overall ability. Tiger was +200 at Liberty National, on a course he had no history on and with more players. Makes a small difference. Because of the smaller field Tiger is actually more likely to win this regardless of history at a course. Everything here that I normally look for points directly to Tiger being a play, besides one good round Sunday and the fact that it is Tiger. As strongly as I felt after Bridgestone that Tiger would eventually start missing putts, I feel equally strongly now that he will once again start making them. I’m going to call this one a game-time decision.
My next best look would probably be Luke Donald. I’m going to pass, although this might be a play if I had the creativity and command of British English to work in Donald’s hometown advantage(NW Grad) and purple patch into my reasoning.
For some reason, I’d rather root for AK to play horribly the rest of the season and then back him at the start of next year. So, I’ll do that.
I am becoming more and more convinced that the juice in Golf tournaments is stacked against maybe 15 players in the field and then everyone else is more or less fairly valued. Sure I have a small edge with Camilo and AK against the field, but I have questions about Tiger and have to deal with a whole lot of other players. Why would I want to take Camilo as an outright, when I could do this:
Camilo Villegas top-ROW +1400(.67)
Robert Allenby top-ROW +1600(.6)
If you asked me to list my top-5 overrated players Yang, Els, Goosen, Cabrera are probably in that list. Throw in Ogilvy as well and I get to take 2 guys I like while isolating most of the overrated players and not dealing with Tiger.
P.S., I realize Villegas is the defending champ, but I’m not scared about this, because it seems that no one is picking him, it is a different course and the FedEx cup has drawn people’s attention to recent play more than what happened last year.
Tiger to win +200(1)
Camilo Villegas -110 v. Brandt Snedeker(1)
Anthony Kim -115 v. Jerry Kelly(1)
Luke Donald -110 v. Lucas Glover(1)
Robert Allenby -110 v. Y.E. Yang(1)
Steve Marino -115 v. Y.E. Yang(1)
Lucas Glover -105 v. Angel Cabrera(1)
Villegas, Kim, Donald, and both Yang fades took me under 10 seconds each to decide that was the right decision. Just screwy offerings from the Greek, and all obvious sides. Kim is the only one that hasn’t moved in my favor(still -115), but honestly Allenby(-125), probably Villegas(-120) and Donald(-115) are still worth playing.
All in all, I would rather have Kim, Allenby and Donald for doubles at the original price, but I’m not going to add on and I’m pretty pleased with this card.
No first rounders, but I’ll be around this week for the possibility of in-running and later round bets, plus the always popular running odds posts. Good luck.