"With the way he's swinging it right now, [Bubba] Watson is excellent choice this week." - Golfstradamaus, 3/4/14
Well, I have to say, I'm getting pretty good at picking the runner up. Bubba Watson's second place finish at Doral makes two weeks in a row I've been knocking on the winner's circle's door.
Related Link: Attack of the Blue Monster
While last week wasn't the worst I've had this year, it was pretty close to it. Obviously, part of the Blue Monster's renovation was to have its teeth restored. The world's best struggled all week long with just three players finishing the tournament under par. Not to make excuses, but it's tough to pick horses at a track none of them have ever seen before.
Even with the "The Snake Pit" awaiting them at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort this week, the Valspar Championship shouldn't claim as many victims as Doral did. A lot of the world's top players won't be making the trip to Palm Harbor, Fla., this week, instead resting for next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. But you know, all that means is it's easier to pick a winner this week.
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) - Palm Harbor, Fla.
March 13-16, 2014ODDS to Win:
Jordan Spieth 15/1 Matt Kuchar 15/1 Harris English 15/1 Justin Rose 20/1 Luke Donald 20/1 Jason Dufner 20/1 Webb Simpson 25/1 Bill Haas 25/1 Jim Furyk 25/1 Graham DeLaet 25/1 Gary Woodland 30/1 Brandt Snedeker 30/1 K.J. Choi 40/1 Louis Oosthuizen 50/1 Kevin Streelman 50/1 Charley Hoffman 50/1 Pat Perez 50/1 Russell Knox 50/1 Ernie Els 50/1 Will MacKenzie 50/1 Cameron Tringale 50/1 Charles Howell III 60/1 Matt Every 60/1 Bryce Molder 60/1 Marc Leishman 60/1 Chesson Hadley 60/1 Paul Casey 60/1 Peter Hanson 80/1 Freddie Jacobson 80/1 Jonas Blixt 80/1 Luke Guthrie 80/1 George McNeill 80/1 Kevin Na 80/1 Scott Stallings 80/1 Robert Garrigus 80/1 Carl Pettersson 80/1 David Toms 80/1 John Senden 80/1 Sang-Moon Bae 80/1 Brooks Koepka 80/1 Peter Uihlein 80/1 Matteo Manassero 100/1 Brendon de Jonge 100/1 Nicolas Colsaerts 100/1 Thorbjorn Olesen 100/1 Branden Grace 100/1 Bo Van Pelt 125/1 Ryo Ishikawa 125/1 Padraig Harrington 125/1 Field (all others) 9/4
The first name this week probably won't win the tournament, but I'm picking him to have a fantastic week anyway for two reasons. The first is because he won last week in Puerto Rico, and the second is because he's just a damn good player. Chesson Hadley collected his first PGA Tour victory last week and looks to build on that momentum. Considering the field isn't exactly stacked at the Valspar Championship, it's a great chance for Hadley to score some FedExCup points and build some confidence. I don't think he gets it, but a win this week would certainly be nice, especially since he's getting 60/1 odds.
The guy who probably will win this tournament is former world No. 1 Luke Donald. Few players have put together the kind of success at one course as Donald has at Innisbrook. Donald finished T-6 in 2010, won in 2012 and finished T-4 last year. It's hard to argue with numbers like that, so I won't. At 20/1, he's not getting huge money but considering how well he gets around this track, it's as safe a bet as you can make betting on a full-field event.
Jason Dufner survived the Blue Monster last week finishing a career-best T-9 at Doral. He's also recorded five consecutive top-30 finishes at Innisbrook and it'd be nice to see that consistency pay off with a victory this week. Duf Daddy is getting 20/1 odds this week, not too bad for a guy playing as well as Dufner is. Again, there's never a sure thing when you're trying to pick one guy out of a field of 100+ golfers, but Dufner is close this week at Innisbrook.
A lot of people fear picking an event's defending champion since going back-to-back is such a difficult task, but I have a good feeling about Kevin Streelman this week and am not going to shy away. Along with his win last year, Streelman finished T-10 here in 2012 and has played solid golf so far this year, making 15 straight cuts dating back to the 2013 season. He finished T-3 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and since then has had a run of some mid-pack finishes. I think he could get back in the winner's circle this week and at 50/1, hopefully you were smart enough to give him a look if he does.
Russell Knox hasn't played since he finished second at the Honda Classic two weeks ago, but he is playing some phenomenal golf right now and demands your attention this week. Aside from his missed cut at the Northern Trust Open a couple weeks ago, the Scotsman has finished T-13, T-10, T-27 and second in his last five PGA Tour starts. Knox would love to pick up his first win this week and at 50/1, you'll hope he does too.
That's it for this week, kids. As always, I can only make suggestions. If you think you know better, so be it. I can't hold your hand forever.
Related Link: Chesson Hadley's Bunker Advice: 'Sun's Out, Guns Out'
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