Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Tips – Thursday 29th January 2015

Guess who’s back? Back again. Tiger’s back. Can he win? Well probably not, but Tiger Woods playing the 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open brings back memories of his famous ace there and is something most golf fans would love to witness. Tiger aside there is a stellar field turning up to TPC Scottsdale including three-time winner Phil Mickelson who has included this event in his carefully managed run-up to Augusta.

The 7,152 yard, par 71 Stadium Course was renovated in 2014 with over 250 trees added, a number of challenging bunkers introduced and the relaying of all the greens. The co-designer of the course, Tom Weiskopf, was drafted in with the brief of making the course challenging for the PGA Tour stars but also playable for the average golfer as it is open to the public throughout the year. To that end, the changes may throw the more experienced players briefly but you can still expect plenty of good scoring especially as the tournament progresses. The course is perhaps best known for the raucous atmosphere of the 16th hole. As the players walk from tee to green it has become tradition for them to throw goodies to the 20,000 fans who are packed in all around the hole.

A quick look at the outright market shows that there is no clear favourite. The bookies are torn between Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson for favourite status. Under those two Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Big Phil are expected to have good weeks. Bubba finished runner-up last year after he was caught by eventual winner Kevin Stadler. This is Stadler’s home course and without him in the field this year, Bubba could well go one better. The two-time Masters winner plays his own game and ‘Bubba golf’ has all the elements needed for success this week. He can be backed at 16/1 with Totesport and is worth each-way consideration.

Hunter Mahan won the 2010 version of this tournament and at 40/1 generally his game appeals. The stats shows he is second in greens hit this season and in terms of strokes gained tee-to-green he’s 28th. Those are good indicators of a strong showing at the Phoenix Open. It’s a big price for someone who invariably finishes in the top 10 at this event so get involved, even if on each-way terms.

Finally, let’s try and nail a long-odds selection. Step up to the plate Francesco Molinari. The Italian had a poor season by his high standards last year but along with coach Denis Pugh he put in a great deal of work over the summer and his game has shown signs of improvement. Molinari finished tied for 10th at last week’s Humana Challenge and at 66/1 with Ladbrokes he is an interesting small stakes option. The same firm also go 5/1 that Molinari will fare at least as well as last week and finish within the top 10 places.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open attracts the most fans of any event on the regular PGA Tour. Who will send the fans wild on the 16th and will anyone hit a shot poor enough to deserve a chorus of boos? If the players tipped above perform though, it will be us cheering come Sunday night, that’s for sure.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic Betting Tips – Thursday 29th January 2015

The Omega Dubai Desert Classic signals the end of the European Tour’s ‘Desert Swing’. After tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Qatar it is Dubai’s turn to play host. Golf is huge in the Emirate state so fans will be delighted to see yet another high-quality field turn up to the Emirates Golf Club. Alongside world number one Rory McIlroy (who heads the betting as he does at most events) both Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood make their first appearances of the season at the Majlis Course. Also in the field is Stephen Gallacher. The Scotsman is looking for his third win at the event in a row at a relatively large 25/1.

The 7,316 yard, par 72 course is very much split into its two nines. The first nine includes just one par five, a number of strong par fours and two tough par threes. It is a very difficult start so anybody who gets going early will put themselves in a good position. The back nine is considerably more friendly. There are three par fives which all tour professionals will be looking to birdie and the last few holes offer particularly good scoring chances. Given the challenging length of many of the holes on the Majlis Course, it is no surprise that the best drivers often place highly at this tournament.

After a good second place finish in Abu Dhabi, you can expect the money to come pouring in for Rory McIlroy. The Ulsterman recorded his first win on the European Tour in this tournament in 2009 and very much enjoys playing in the Gulf. The only problem is that he is so short at 3/1. If you want to include Rory in your betting this week then take advantage of Ladbrokes’ 6/1 for him to be the first round leader; he’s done exactly that in four of his last five outings here.

If not Rory then who? At 25/1 generally Gallagher simply must be included in your bets. He put together a good final round in Qatar which is his usual warm-up event when coming to the Desert Classic. Another European to side with his Henrik Stenson. He’s not hit the heights of his game so far in the Desert Swing but got better last week and as a Dubai resident he is more than capable of dealing with the desert winds should they whip up as forecasted over the weekend.

For a top five finish, go with fan-favourite Lee Westwood at 9/2 with BetVictor. ‘Westy’ has finished runner-up twice in the last five years and has chosen this event to get his season going. He can drive the ball well and if he hits his approaches close enough for his putter to get hot, top five is well within reach. Finally, for a long-shot winner, BetVictor go 66/1 for an Ernie Els win. His steady if unspectacular form makes him a worth shout for small stakes to claim his fourth victory at this event.

Humana Open Betting Tips – Thursday 22nd January 2015

The PGA Tour goliath rolls on again this week. Having left Hawaii behind the next stop is La Quinta, California and the Palmer Private course at PGA West for the Humana Open.

As is the norm at this early stage in the season the biggest stars on tour are picking and choosing their events with one eye already on April and the Masters but the Humana Open boasts a genuinely impressive field.

Defending champion Patrick Reed is back at the course where he carded three consecutive rounds of 63 last year. He is joined by players such as FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel, the enigmatic Jason Duffner and Mr. Consistent, Matt Kuchar. Perhaps the biggest draw of the week though, is California-born Phil Mickelson. The big lefty has said he will play fewer tournaments than ever this year so fans will be delighted to see him compete this week.

Heading the market going into this week is Reed. His two-stroke victory over Ryan Palmer was then his second victory on the PGA tour. His game has since gone from strength-to-strength and he has already won this season. At just 24, Reed is perhaps best known for some of his more uncouth moments but behind the bluster is a serious talent who is completely capable of defending his title at PGA West. Sky Bet have Reed at 12/1 and are paying five each-way places.

The Palmer Private course at PGA West is one at which the pros can really have a field day with their scoring. In the past three years the average winning score was -26. To that end, we should be on the lookout for somebody who is capable of piecing together a seriously solid round for our first round leader pick. Last year Reed’s 63 was unbeaten but just one shot off was Palmer and he is our pick to side with. Palmer was fairly hit-and-miss in Hawaii but he likes this course and is likely to start strongly.

One player who comes into the Humana Open on the back of some fine form is Russell Know. The Scot finished in tied 13th, the same position that he finished the 2014 Humana Open. Were it not for a slightly disappointing second round 70, Knox could well have recorded a top-10 finish last year and he is looking increasingly comfortable on the PGA Tour. We fancy that he will have another good week and squeeze into the top 10. If you do too, Bet365 are offering the best odds at 11/2.

So, what of Big Phil? He has twice won this tournament and is regarded as one of the very best players on Californian courses. He recently announced that he will not be playing either the AT&T at Pebble Beach or the Northern Trust at Riviera, both two of his favourite events, leading some to wonder why he is playing in La Quinta. Could it be that he really fancies his chances? At this stage of his career, Mickleson has earned the right to play at whatever tournaments he chooses and is most likely planning his season around the Majors. It would be a change in recent fortunes for Phil to win this week so begrudgingly he has to be left alone.

With the PGA Tour returning to the mainland of the USA for another season on a 6,950 yard par 72, which is likely to yield some very low scores, the Humana is always an exciting week. Hopefully the players mentioned above will perform and turn it into a profitable week as well.

Qatar Masters Betting Tips – Wednesday 21st January 2015

The Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club has become a staple of the European Tour. The 7,400 yard par 72 with 600 yard-plus par fives and strong par threes is the sort of challenge that the European Tour’s best players enjoy rising to year-on-year. For a popular course, the tournament has a popular defending champion in the shape of Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard finished second in 2013 before winning a playoff last year and will be hoping to go one better by winning the tournament outright this week. Garcia is by no means the only former champion teeing it up this week and indeed he is partnered in an all-star opening three-ball by ex-champions Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson.

The championship course at the Doha Golf Club is one at which players form a strong bond. Previous good form at the tournament is a strong indicator of future success so it is no surprise to see Garcia a 7/1 favourite to retain his title. Sitting just behind Garcia in the betting is world number six Justin Rose. The Englishman had to battle back from a poor start at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship last week but battle he did to end up tied for 12th. Rose is just a point behind Garcia at 8/1 generally. After those two there are some very big prices floating about for players with good claims for positive weeks and it is to them that we turn our attention.

First up, the man beaten in the last year’s playoff, Mikko Ilonen. The Finn struggled last week in Abu Dhabi but similarly poor form didn’t hold him back last year. Ilonen can deal with the tricky Qatar wind, is a fairly accurate driver and has the sort of short game capable of getting himself up-and-down out of trouble. At 40/1 with Paddy Power Ilonen should be included in your bets to triumph this week.

Another European given a nice juicy price by the bookies is Nicolas Colsaerts. The ‘Belgian Bomber’ struggled on tour last year but pulled it together towards the back-end to guarantee his tour card for 2015. Colsaerts averaged 313 yards for driving last season and converted that power by finding nearly three quarters of all greens in regulation. He has the sort of game to tear through the long par fives at Qatar and is afforded the luxury of hitting shorter irons than most into the course’s three 200+ yard par threes. Sky Bet are best priced about a Colsaerts win at 45/1, the same firm offer 7/2 that he will finish in the top 10. Both are bets to seriously consider.

Henrik Stenson, with his victory in 2006 and strong affiliation with golf in the Arabian Peninsula, would perhaps expect to be at the very top of the market with his Ryder Cup teammates Garcia and Rose. It seems that the market has turned against him due to his poor showing in Abu Dhabi last week with some firms offering him at 20/1 to be first round leader. For a player of his calibre that’s a big price which should be snapped up. If he is in the mind-set to get over last week’s horrors, Stenson could put us in profit by Wednesday night.

The Wednesday start may be strange for the European Tour but the surrounds of the Qatar Golf Club and the players taking part offer a much more familiar feel. Expect the winner this week to end up close to 20 under par and some big swings on the leaderboard as the forecasted wind kicks up. If Ilonen and Colsaerts can cope with the conditions, they should put us in a position of profit come the end of day four.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Betting Tips – Thursday 15th January 2015

A quick look through the top contenders for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship stirs memories of last September and Gleneagles. World number one Rory McIlroy, the dream-team of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, wonder-chipper Martin Kaymer and the man who sealed the win, Jamie Donaldson, are all within the top 10 players likely to win according to the bookies. It’s also good to see Rickie Fowler making the trip to Abu Dhabi to hopefully renew his rivalry with McIlroy.

This is the 10th staging of the HSBC Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club and as is traditional, this year’s event is the first time that many of the biggest names on the European Tour get their season going. Unsurprisingly Rory heads the field, with the best price available 9/2 at Betfred. He has never won this event and has not played competitive golf for a month but it is almost impossible not to consider him. In three of the last four years the Northern Irishman finished second and last year he was only one shot away from winner Pablo Larrazabal and quite frankly he has the game to win anywhere. It seems a shoe-in that he will be there or thereabouts this year.

Another player that you ignore at your peril is Kaymer. The German has won this event a staggering three times and although his last win came in 2011 he has put serious work into his swing over the past three years which started to bear fruit last season. At times last year he was imperious. No less so than when winning the U.S. Open by eight shots. Sky Bet are offering 14/1 for Kaymer to make it four wins, an alternative is the 9/1 that BetVictor have priced him up at in the Winner Without McIlroy market.

For those who are looking for a larger price to get involved in, Tyrrell Hatton may offer some interest. Hatton finished the last season strongly, finishing tied sixth at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai showing he is capable of competing with the best in the desert. The Buckinghamshire-born golfer is only 23 and if he can continue improving at the rate he did last year he is sure to pick up more top 10s this year on the main European Tour. Despite the inclusion of some of the world’s best players he is not the sort to become overly flustered and is a good value each-way shot at 80/1 generally.

Winter sun, Rory smashing it miles and some of the most popular golfers in the world, it is clear to see why this tournament retains its popularity among players and fans alike. This is just the start to the Race to Dubai and what a year we have in store, with Rory set to further cement his place at the top of the world game, starting with a win here.

Sony Open Betting Tips – Thursday 15th January 2015

After the opening tournament of the New Year concluded with a Monday night play-off victory for Patrick Reed, the PGA tour makes the short trip from Kapalua to Waialae Country Club in Honolulu for the 2015 Sony Open this week. However, despite the small distance between the two courses, those who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions will face a much different test at Waialae. Kapalua’s wide fairways and relatively moderate conditions are replaced by a tight, shorter, windier par 70 where the winner will need to employ great course management and world class accuracy.

The Sony Open is the first full-field event of the 2015 PGA season with a full complement of 144 players turning up to compete for the $5,600,000 prize fund and valuable FedEx Cup points (the winner receives 500). Among those taking part are six of the world’s top 25 players and a whole host of previous winners. It is the 50th year that the Waialae Country Club has hosted the PGA Tour and this year’s event promises to be as good as ever.

So, how to pick a potential winner from such a large, quality field? In the 15 years that the Tournament of Champions has been in Hawaii, 10 winners of the Sony Open played at Kapalua the week before. Even with the different challenges offered by the two courses, strong form in the first week indicates a good showing in the second. This looks good for defending champion Jimmy Walker. Walker, the man beaten by Patrick Reed on Monday, knows the course and has all the traits worthy of the 20/1 second-favourite price given to him by Ladbrokes. It was winning here in 2014 that lit the blue touch paper for Walker, as he went on to top the FedEx Cup points and make almost $6m. He’ll be looking for a similar boost this week.

Another man who has winning form at Waialae and the sort of patient, well-planned out game to come through a testing course on top is Zach Johnson. The 2007 Masters Champion finished a respectable 7th at the Hyundai and is worth at least an each-way shot. He is currently available at 25/1 with Ladbrokes. The third player worth siding with is Russell Henley. Henley picked up one of his two PGA Tour wins at Waialae in 2013, breaking the 72-hole tournament record in doing so. He is an accurate driver of the ball and has shown himself to be capable of dealing with the sort of wind that the bay-side course is likely to throw at him. He is also best-priced 25/1 with Ladbrokes and gets the nod over the likes of Luke Donald (33/1), Jason Day (16/1 favourite) and Matt Kuchar (22/1).

Whatever the result at Waialae, it is a tournament that really builds the excitement for the year ahead. After the winter break, a welcome to return to large fields, moving days and all the fun of the fair gives us all a great insight into who to look out for in the coming months.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions Betting Tips – Thursday 8th January 2015

With the festivities and celebrations of Christmas and New Year now behind us, the attention of many sports fans turns once again to the PGA Tour, which resumes this week in Hawaii. The Hyundai Tournament of Champions promises to be a good one with all of last year’s tour event winners eligible to join the field this week; headliners include: Bubba Watson, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar. As standard, 500 FedEx Cup ranking points are on offer this week, to compliment the substantial $5,700,000 prize fund. At present, Robert Streb and Sang-Moon Bae occupy the top two FedEx Cup spots, both of whom are in the field for this one.

Kapalua Golf and Country Club is once again the familiar venue for the first calendar event of 2015, where Zach Johnson overcame fellow-countryman Jordan Spieth to claim his sole 2014 victory. The latter, despite a successful season, was winless on the PGA Tour during the 2014 campaign which automatically rules him out of this tournament, although Johnson returns in defence of his title.

In a predominantly American field, Kuchar and Watson are names that instantly stand out; the former for his consistency and work ethic and the latter for his flamboyance and crowd-pleasing bravado. Kuchar was branded a machine throughout the 2014 season, making 22 of 24 cuts, securing 11 top-10s and claiming victory at the RBC Heritage Tournament which qualifies him for this event. He accumulated in excess of $4.5m through tournament winnings, a quantitative indicator of his consistently impressive finishing. For us therefore, Kuch is always a must-have selection – 9/1 odds can be located for outright victory this week with BetVictor or Coral.

Watson on the other hand, has already tasted success on one occasion during the first weeks of the 2015 season. Winning the HSBC World Golf Championship Champions Tournament at Sheshan International in November could potentially give him the platform to build on for a record-breaking 2015. The American is the bookies’ favourite at 13/2 this week and when Bubba turns his game on, not may people are able to stop him.

A man who has somewhat slipped under the radar and is definitely worth consideration this week is Hideki Matsuyama, who won the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield which earned his ticket for this one. The 22-year-old performed with caution in 2014, as he regularly showed the quality to take the tour by storm but failed to cement high finishes in certain events – but perhaps 2015 is the season for him to come of age. To date in the current campaign, the young Japanese pro has made five out of five cuts with a third place finish at the Frys.com Open being the pinnacle of his achievements so far. Matsuyama is on a par with American Jimmy Walker in the betting market at 16/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral; in principle we would tip the latter ahead of Matsuyama although youth is often a sign of fearlessness and aggression – two potentially very important attributes this week.