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Thursday, August 5, 2010

WGC-Bridgestone: Can I Pick a Winner THIS Time?

After my disastrous results picking winners in both of last week's majors, I manned up and apologized to Jiyai Shin and Corey Pavin for jinxing their hopes of winning. Furthermore, I mused that the only way I could have made things worse was to have bet actual money on them.

Which got me thinking... looking at stats alone hasn't really helped me, so maybe I should try checking one of the golf betting sites and see who the professional pickers are favoring. I ended up at BetUS, which provides odds for media outlets like MSNBC and USA Today. Best of all, they feature a golf picks page where professionals give you some help choosing a winner. However, the article there on the Bridgestone didn't cover the whole field, so I ended up at the golf odds page. If you scan down that page, you'll find a section labeled "WGC Bridgestone Invitational Futures"; click on the "To Win" link, and you'll find the list I'm using to help me this week.

Now, if you're like me, the odds listings look a little strange. I'm used to seeing odds like "5:1" or "160:1," not "+500" or "+16000." These last two are called moneylines, and you can learn more about how to read them here at, which is what I had to do. Simply put, the bigger the "plus" number is, the longer the odds; the favorites have the lowest numbers.

Needless to say, Tiger Woods is the favorite at +375, and he's the top pick of this week's advisor, D.S. Williamson. (I think Tiger's getting too much credit for his 7 wins, given his recent personal woes.) I'm sorry, I just can't go for Tiger this time. I expect him to play pretty well -- his putting was the problem at St. Andrews, not his full swing -- but I'll have to see him putt well again before I can make him a favorite. Next, please.

Mickelson is second-favorite at +1000 -- certainly less of a favorite, but I don't think he's done well enough at Firestone Country Club to be second. And Westwood is third at +1200... I would think Westwood is a bigger favorite than Mickelson here (and Williamson agrees with me -- he picked Westwood as his second pick), but I guess the odds-makers are easily swayed by a Masters win...

Rory bio pic from his websiteAh, now we're getting somewhere! Rory McIlroy is +1800... and I think I've found my pick. This is his biggest tournament since the Open, and I really liked the way he handled his troubles there... and he's not even on Williamson's list! Rory's being underrated. (The pic is from his website.)

But I'm also "hedging my bets" this time by picking three long shots -- at least, long according to the odds-makers:
  • Louis Oosthuizen is at +6000.
  • Francesco Molinari is also at +6000.
  • Edouardo Molinari is at +7500.
It's hard to bet against a machine like Oosthuizen, and I like both of the Molinari brothers, who will probably be the first brothers to play in the same Ryder Cup. (I think their sibling rivalry may help them score well here, since they both seem to play well when in the same event.)

Of course, since the PGA Tour has two tournaments going this week, there are two separate leaderboards at If you want to see whether I can break out of my funk this week, the Bridgestone leaderboard is located here.

I guess we'll find out who does better this week, me or Williamson. Ironically, Charles Jay (who was the advisor at BetUS last week) joined me in picking Pavin to win... and, presumably, he actually did bet money on him. So, whatever happens this week, I can take solace in knowing that maybe Corey's poor play wasn't all my fault...


  1. I once picked the winner of the old World Series of Golf. Back around 85-95 I would try picking the winner of most every PGA Tournament. There was a rule for my picks- The player couldn't have won the tournament before. I'd make two picks and what I call my longshot of the week.

    My pick at the 88 WSOG was a player who finished in the top 5 the only other time he played in the tournament. He was playing well at the time and had won his first ever PGA Tournament in 1987, His name- Mike Reid and Reid beat Tom Watson on the first hole of sudden death. Reid was my longshot that week.

    In those years I did picking, I came up usually with 1 or 2 winners a year. Other than Reid, the only ones I still remember today are Fred Couples at the 92 Masters and Bill Glasson at the B.C. Open in 1988.

  2. I think the only one I've gotten right this year was Tim Clark at the Players... and I didn't pick him until after the second round. My record before tournaments start isn't too good.

    At least at -2, Rory's still very much in the mix. Of course, I don't guess I could have done much worse, not after last week...

    Radar really should have won more than he did. I always liked watching him play... him and Calvin Peete (I was a big fan of CP's; his game just seemed possible to copy. ;-) Both were straight as an arrow; I wonder why Peete won 12 PGA events and Radar only 2?

  3. Reid had problems with the flat stick. Not that Peete was the greatest putter in the world, but he got the ball in the hole.

    From summer 1982 to spring 1986, Peete may have been a top 5 player. He won 11 times in that span. Then after losing a playoff to Curtis Strange in Houston, he fell off the face of the earth.

    Reid had those two great chances to win a major in 1989. First The Masters(He was tied for the lead as late as the 15th hole), then the PGA late in the year(went bogey-d.bogey on 16 and 17 in the 4th round to lose by 1), he never had a year like that again. Did those failures become overwhelming?

    Scott Hoch is remembered for missing the short putt to win at the 89 Masters, but almost no one remembers he had a 8-footer for birdie that would have won the 1987 PGA and he 3-putted to miss a playoff by one shot.

  4. My money in on lefty. I know this is not his favorite venue, but I think he is ready to take over as #1 in the World.

    After 2 rounds, he is in the thick of it.

    If he can just keep his driver in check, he will be there on the weekend.

    GO LEFTY! Time to take over the World #1 rank.

  5. Pardon the pun, but I don't think I'd bet against him right now. ;-)