2012 Honda Classic Betting Preview and Tips
PGA National Champion Course · Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Purse: $5.7 million Winning Share: $1,026,000 FedExCup Points: 500
My “go to” man for tough courses and they don’t come much tougher than “The Bear Trap” on the Champions Course. Last season was great for Freddie in his painters cap. Remember his great third round at Congressional in the US Open and the fact he put aside a disappointing final round there to win The Travelers the following week. Finished last season in storming style and in his 2012 debut at tough Riviera a closing 67 bagged a creditable top 15 spot. Performed poorly last year here but has two top 10’s previous to that to give hope.
You have just gotta love the way Keegan Bradley handled the press last week when talking about his on course spitting. As honest as they come both on and off the course, I predict another good week for him in Florida. Okay he did bomb out here last year, but is a completely different player since as evidenced by his US PGA win in August. Ran Mickelson close on another tough track at Riviera a few weeks back in finishing second and hasn’t been outside the top 20 so far this season.
Very impressive at the matchplay last week winning the consolation match against Lee Westwood to finish third. Wilson won here in 2007, the first year the Champions Course at PGA National was used after a Jack Nicklaus revamp. A word of warning though, six rounds in the desert Sun plus all the media commitments at the WGC is bound to have taken some toll on 37 year old Wilson and stamina may be an issue. There’s no questioning his desire though having already bagged a win in 2012 at the Humana Challenge.
Even though the field includes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood, I think there is a nice bit of value in Graeme McDowell this week. Bumped out of the matchplay in the first round last week, it wasn’t long before Gmac was posting up videos of himself and caddie Kenny playing in the dark back in Florida. The 2010 US Open Champion will be right at home on the Bermuda greens of the Florida swing and shot a super 64 in the final round last year to tie sixth. Third in both of the HSBC events either side of Christmas and definitely one to watch.
Kyle Stanley 34/1 is having a super start to the season having come second at the Farmers and won in Phoenix a couple of weeks back. This was only Kyle’s fifth start on the PGA Tour last year and he actually lead at the halfway point before fading at the weekend. Of the new breed of muscle players Stanley is surprisingly accurate lying fifth in the Tour’s greens in regulation stats.
Ben Crane 38/1 is also one to watch. A top class putter, that talent will be called upon in the Bear Trap. A great man for self deprecation but there’s a serious side to Crane too with three top 10’s including that recent second in Phoenix.
If you’re looking for an each way bet or a “to finish in the top 10” chance then take a look at Robert Allenby. I have to admit he’s not my cup of tea and hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2011 but he’s a dogged campaigner and another of the 40 plus brigade. Lost a playoff in Mexico last week and having top fives in 2008 and 2009, a top 10 this week would not surprise.
The shaded One, Robert Allenby has lost a playoff. The shock news came at the Mayakoba Golf Classic yesterday when 21 year old John Huh (huh?) upset the apple cart in Mexico.
Huh who obviously didn’t read the script especially the bit where it says seven of Allenby’s Tour wins worldwide have come in golf’s version of the penalty shootout. This time the angry Aussie used the tactic of “boring your opponent into submission” but in doing so underestimated his young foe’s ability to be boring himself. Huh parred every hole of what was to become the second longest playoff in Tour history, a snoring 8 holes!
Allenby had a two stroke lead standing on the final tee but obviously thought he had a better chance of winning via a playoff and so took double bogey. The win for Huh came in only his fifth Tour start.
Click below to view 2012 WGC Accenture World Matchplay Final Highlights with Rory McIlroy battling against Hunter Mahan for the first WGC title of the year.
ARIZONA—Fears are growing today that the top 64 players in the world think that Sky Sports golf commentator Bruce Critchley “talks bollox”. The worst kept secret on Tour came out today when player spokesman Ian Poulter profusely apologized to Sky Sports viewers via twitter saying “Well Bruce Critchley talks complete bollox most of the time anyway. Sorry sky sports viewers for having to listen to his crap every week.”
“Reminds me of that time in India old boy. Nasty business. Terrible case of foot and mouth old boy. The horse came in and dipped its nose into the caretaker’s bucket of paint. The caretaker came home old boy, saw the horse, and thinking it was foot and mouth, shot the horse. I came home, saw the horse, and shot the caretaker! Good times, good times, India India, foot and mouth.”
After the press conference many agreed that Critchley was indeed talking bollox. Some Golf Digest journalists were even seen to nod in agreement.
George O’Grady, European Tour Made Man came out in defence of his former superior officer, “It’s very important to differentiate between “talking bollox” and “being a bollox”. I don’t believe the players are actually calling Bruce a bollox, more that they feel that when he speaks, the words that come out of his mouth and the tone in which they delivered sound like bollox. It’s a technical point but a very important one.
Paul Lawrie is one of seven European players into the last 16 of the 2012 WGC Accenture World Matchplay. Meanwhile you know who is out!
Huge media corporations watch out! People as we speak are trawling the interweb for evidence of veiled borderline ambiguous semi racist slurs in today’s media.
Just a bit of background to what’s going on. The New York Knicks basketball team have this gifted Asian guy Jeremy Lin. They were on a seven game winning streak which ended last week. ESPN posted the headline “Chink in the Armour.” It lasted 30 minutes before the complaints came in and it was taken down and the headline writer fired. Another TV announcer was banned for a month after he unwittingly used the phrase also. It was all so very embarrassing for ESPN not to mention the entire Asian community in America.
So the web police were waiting to see if there would be any veiled borderline ambiguous blah blahs about Gonzalo Fernandez Castano after his match with Tiger Woods yesterday. After all Gonzalo is little known in the USA, Tiger says he never remembered meeting him though Gonzalo said the once had a long chat over breakfast and his first name tees up a shed load of Muppet jokes.
So Golf Digest, if you’re reading this; dudes maybe you boys should consider rephrasing the first paragraph of your Tiger story this morning. It’s pretty hard on the Spanish and the European Tour. Just Saying.
“Hey, getting dusted by Phil Mickelson at Pebble Beach is one thing but losing to a guy, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who sounds like he ought to be back-up baritone in the Barber of Seville, is quite another, even if the shave and haircut were about to be delivered by someone who was the European Tour rookie of the year in '05, an ancient time when Tiger Woods was winning a green jacket and a claret jug to boot. So, he didn't.”
I should know, I’ve written 10 times worse. But people expect it from me!
Just when you’ve been kicked up the arse by Ryanair who now charge €50 quid each way to bring your clubs on your Spanish golf holiday, you then get fleeced for crazy green fees at the courses.
After doing a little bit of research however, I may just have the perfect solution to save a lot of money on this year’s Spanish golfing holiday.
Just came across a sweet little website http://www.murciagolf.co/ for booking really cheap green fees in the Murcia region of Spain. You basically just give the guys your dates and preferred courses and they come back to you within a day with availability and the lowest green fees guaranteed. All the top courses are on the website like La Manga (South), Las Colinas, El Valle, Alhama Signature and Roda.
If you want to book, you pay the guys and they issue a voucher.
Of course you can rent clubs, but in truth the majority want to bring their own sticks. However at €50 each way Ryanair are rubbing their hands with glee to see you coming. One idea to half the Ryanair charge is to put two sets of clubs into one actual bag. You wont be over the weight limit and you wont be breaking any rules. There is nothing in the Ryanair terms about having more than 14 clubs. Of course this only works if two golfers travel together and IF you have the right type of bag. We use Ping Moon Lite II bags for all our golf holidays. Stick two sets of clubs in one bag and bring the other bag in your carry on. At just 0.9 Kg’s or less than 2 pounds, the Ping Moon Lite II is feather light and folds away to nothing but has a spine with a break in the middle which makes it perfect for carrying, putting on a trolley or on a buggy. Most other really light pencil bags have no spine and they collapse like an accordion on a buggy. The Ping Moon Lite II is lighter than them all and gobbles up two sets no problem.
Enjoy your golfing holiday this year! And if you see me out there, mines a San Miguel. And make sure they fill it to the top!
Arizona: Controversy over the proliferation of spitting on the PGA Tour grew yesterday after Arizona professional and tobacco spitting champion Chuck Loogy, 52, launched a new website designed at helping Touring Pro’s win using the ancient art.
Pic: Loogy demonstrates his skills to us by washing his cat from 12 feet away.
“I’ve worked with some of the World’s best soccer players for over 30 years with great success” said Mr. Loogy, adding “Dutchman Frank Rijkaard’s spit into Rudi Voller’s hair during the 1990 World Cup was probably my greatest achievement. That was perfection.”
“I branched into golf about 10 years ago when Tiger Woods first contacted me. He just left a message on my answering machine one day enquiring as to whether spitting could give him the edge in the Majors. I remember we first met on the top of the Butler Cabin in Augusta on a cold January morning”, recalled Loogy “Tiger really impressed me with his natural hocking ability, it was more question of teaching him to direct the glob a little better. Then we did some work on the 12th green, trying to hit some good lines with a sticky treat for anyone coming after. Good times.”
“Sergio is a master of the mucus, he has the potential to be one of the greats. When he drops one into the hole and the guy behind gets it on his ball, you just know that sh*t is not coming off.”
“Keegan on the other hand has a lot to learn when it comes to the technical aspects of propelling the gawk away from the face. We are working hard on his breathing during the spit. When he gets it right, it’s amazing, when he get’s it wrong it’s all over the front of his shirt. Not pretty”, said Loogy.
Check out Loogy’s website www.theperfectspit.com/golf/hockliketiger
2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic Betting Preview and Tips, El Camaleon · Riviera Maya, Mexico
Odds on the exchanges
A good top 10 in Hawaii is the highlight of the season so far for Gay though he did top 20 at Pebble despite a horrid Saturday. This course however is right up Gay’s back alley, with its requirement for precision irons. He won here in 2008 shooting a third round 62 along the way and again contended last year tying fifth when his formline coming in was not as good as his right now.
The favourite this week and justifiably so. Wagner won here last year with four rounds in the 60’s and beat Spencer Levin in a playoff. This year he already has a win at the Sony Open, a second at the Clinton Humana Challenge and a top 10 in Hawaii. Finished on level par last week at Riviera maintaining a record of having not finished over par for eight straight events.
The man with the straw hat most famous for hitting a shot from a high rise into a baseball stadium! Okay that may be a bit harsh on Briny who always seems to front up at El Camaleon. He’s been in the top 10 for the last three years tying sixth in 2009, fourth in 2010 and fifth again last year. And he has bettered his score for the past three years. Last week was his first made cut this season so confidence is bound to be sky high! Seriously though, Mayakoba is one for experience and Baird has it in spades around here.
This could be the perfect week for Spencer Levin to grab a win. With all the top guys off playing matchplay in the desert it may be a case of “when the cats away the mice will play”. Levin recovered from his Phoenix final round meltdown to record another top 10 the following week at Pebble and though Riviera was spoiled with a Sunday 78, I fancy him for a good showing this week. Lost the playoff here to Johnson Wagner in 2011. Keep calm Spencer!
How impressive was Jarrod Lyle last week at Riviera? He finished the week tied for fourth on one of the toughest tracks of the year. The same precision iron play required to hit greens in regulation will be a requirement again this week. Lyle has played in this event three times and never been outside the top nine. T6 in 2009 was followed by a T9 in 2010 and a T5 last year. Big possibilities.
Odds setters staring at several screens in the big bookmaking firms are sweating on their swivel chairs at the prospect of having to pay out massive amounts of dough on a losing Rory McIlroy bet.
Most big bookmakers including paddypower had odds of 4/1 against Rory McIlroy becoming world number one at any time in 2012. Now in Arizona at the WGC Accenture Matchplay McIlroy could edge within a Keegan Bradley spit of doing exactly that.
Bearing in mind that the official world golf ranking is based on a complex mathematical equation governed by a roomful of monkeys with some chalk and an egg it seems if world No 1 Luke Donald loses to Ernie Els in the first round or to Jason Dufner/Peter Hanson in the second then McIlroy could assume the No. 1 ranking should he take the title and the monkeys like him.
It’s thought up to seven people with a tenner on the McIlroy bet stand to each gain 40 quid plus their stake back.
Personally I try to avoid betting on matchplay events as they are so fluid and unpredictable but for those of you who insist here’s who I think can progress in the brackets.
odds on the exchanges
Winner Alright: Last week Phil Mickelson paid out for tied second at 10/1
What an incredible group with three of last years semi finalists in the top half of the bracket alone. I think the world matchplay owes Bubba Watson one after last year when Kaymer beat him after a great tussle. Two down with two to play Watson made a great birdie on 17 to prove he wanted it. Alas it was Kaymer that prevailed but that experience coupled with his awesome long game –he traded 400 yard drives with JB Holmes in a match last year- make Watson a good man to follow this week.
The World Number One’s crown may be slipping a little but he loves this event and I for one wont be betting against him. Utterly dominant at Dove Mountain last year destroying all comers along the way. Donald’s ability to read these greens better than most others gives him a decided advantage in what might be considered a weaker bracket. One problem might be that he doesn’t have much experience of the last few holes; he usually has his opponent beat by then.
If you’re looking for some long odds glory this week, you could do worse than Nicolas Colsaerts. The Belgian has the power to reduce this 7,800 yard track to size and he’s also working with putting coach Dave Stockton on the practice green as we speak. Sometimes a player with a new coach finds something immediately. Nico would have to beat Lee Westwood and possibly Tiger Woods to progress from the group but thats the beauty of matchplay; you just never know what might happen.
Aussie Jason Day will be quietly happy with the draw even though a possible encounter with McIlroy or Garcia is one the cards if he progresses. Hated narrow Riviera last week and bombed out but down let that distract you. Day, for me, has the character and fighting quality to be a great match player. This could be his time.
Bubba Watson was left out in the cold today after NASCAR bosses sensationally uninvited him from doing a parade lap at the Sprint Cup on March 4th. Watson was initially lined up to do a special ceremonial lap of the Phoenix International Speedway in his car “The General Lee” from 80’s TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard." The official reason given by Nascar was that the confederate flag on the roof of Watson’s car might offend the dead ancestors of some racegoers.
NASCAR spokesman Roger Piston said he had reviewed several of Watson’s Bubbaclaus videos on youtube along with footage of Watson at last year’s French Open and while he found Watson’s behaviour to be “loud, bullish, ungentlemanly and insensitive; everything that NASCAR racing fans stand for," he just couldn’t risk offending people with the confederate flag on the roof of the car.
Northern Trust Open Final Round Highlights
Avantha Masters Final Round Highlights on the European Tour site
The country of England was in a state of euphoria today after FIFA officials officially changed the score of the 1966 World Cup final from 4-2 to 2-1. A decree was issued by world renowned European Tour referee John Paramor, adopted immediately by FIFA and enshrined into law by parliament hours later.
The original match saw England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra time. However a dramatic change of events transpired yesterday to change the course of history by 30 minutes and three goals.
It all started when keen football fan Alastair Gray, 46, from Staines London, who had Sky plussed a documentary of the '66 final returned home from a night of copious drinking and watched the event only to notice that West Germanys second goal that forced the match into extra time should never have been allowed.
By skilfully using the ‘X2’ Sky plus and ‘pause’ buttons simultaneously Gray noticed the German equaliser appeared to strike the hand of 'up for the cross' German defender Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, 73, before hitting the English net.
Quick thinking Gray immediately emailed the European Tour alerting them of the then AC Milan defenders rules breach. Seconds after, the email reached head referee John Paramor who, having slept on it, ate a big fry up for breakfast, then reviewed the footage, deemed that the viewer was indeed correct.
The European Tour then issued a statement booking the defender and awarding a free out.
Sales of the 15,000 "buy it now" matchworn Geoff Hurst player jerseys are said to have plummeted on eBay.
So here’s the story. Peter Whiteford thinks his ball has moved on the 18th fairway yesterday. He didn’t see it move and asks the lads around him if they saw anything. Nobody did. Plays his shot and thinks nothing more of it.
Meanwhile drunk man in North London comes home from pub and has highlights recorded on Sky plus box. Sees the incident, rewinds it a few times, determines HIMSELF that Whiteford’s ball has moved and emails a complaint to the European Tour.
Referee John Paramor has his fry up receives the email, looks back at the footage, sees the ball move, even though Whiteford didn’t and promptly disqualifies him.
I’ve stopped the video at the exact moment the ball moved sideways to the right. Whiteford was looking at the green, the club is hovering. When he looks back down he sees the ball is now aligned more toward the toe of the club. He doesn’t see the ball move.
18-1. By Outside Agency
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.
Note: It is a question of fact whether a ball has been moved by an outside agency. In order to apply this Rule, it must be known or virtually certain that an outside agency has moved the ball. In the absence of such knowledge or certainty, the player must play the ball as it lies or, if the ball is not found, proceed under Rule 27-1.
Following an exhaustive, four-year review of golf’s 34 playing Rules, nine principal Rules have been amended to improve clarity and ensure penalties are proportionate. Significant changes include:
• Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b). A new exception is added which exonerates the player from penalty if their ball moves after it has been addressed when it is known or virtually certain that they did not cause the ball to move. For example, if it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.
Paramor then issues a statement
On the 18th fairway during the third round while playing his approach shot, Peter Whiteford felt that his ball may have moved and for confirmation asked his caddy, a fellow competitor and a TV cameraman, who said they didn’t think it had, and so he continued on to finish the hole and sign his scorecard for 72.
Overnight several viewers contacted the European Tour website saying that Peter Whiteford’s ball had in fact moved on the 18th hole. This was reviewed by the Rules Committee who were able to determine that the ball had in fact moved. Peter Whiteford should have incurred a penalty of one stroke and replaced the ball. As he did not do so, he was disqualified for signing for a score lower than taken for failing to include the penalty he had incurred.
The Rules Committee considered the decision 33-7/4.5 which allows a committee in certain circumstances to modify the disqualification penalty and apply a penalty shot if the player had reasonably known he had incurred a penalty. If Peter Whiteford had contacted a member of the Rules Team before signing his scorecard, the footage would have been reviewed at the time and he would have averted the disqualification penalty.
So what now for the players on Tour
Irish amateur legend Eddie McCormack lies just one shot off the lead at the Portuguese International Amateur Championship but golf was the furthest thing from his mind after he completed his first round at Montado.
The 49 year old Cavan man who bought a house and farm on the cheap in Galway told reporters “I’d swear I left the gate in the back field open. And if I did those feckin’ sheep will surely find find their way onto the runway at Galway airport. They love that, so they do.”
Asked about his round which included seven birdies McCormack continued “Ay sure I’m doin’ me best buh the course out here is yellow. If I had the tractor I’d give it two blasts of 10.10.20 fertilizer eight weeks apart. And them greens, all they need is water, they are crustier than a Mother Hubbard’s rasher.”
Later McCormack received good and bad news from home after a neighbour texted to say the back field was shut, all but one of the 1200 sheep were in, and the 50 that were sent to the factory made a tonne of money. Unfortunately one sheep had made it to the runway and got flattened by a landing Fokker 50 from Dublin.
Next best of the Irish contingent was ‘on the fags, off them again’ Eoin Arthurs whilst Alan Dunbar struggled in the heat with having too much hair.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -
Just one week after the news that Tiger Woods wants belly and long putters banned, the multiple major champion is now calling for an outright ban on drivers. Woods is believed to have discussed the wording of a driver ban with the R&A and USGA when they were done considering the legality of belly and broomstick putters.
Woods, who hasn’t hit a straight drive since 2007 said “I’ve never been a fan of drivers. I believe using 3-woods with a shaft length that is no longer than a regulation pick axe handle is how the game should be played. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to that.”
Woods said he has spoken to R&A chief Peter Dawson and suggested it should be mandated that the 3-wood head be no bigger than the body of an eight week old bull frog.
“I think with that we’d be able to get away from any type of people (me) hitting it crooked,” he said. “But that’s still the art of swinging the club at the same time.”
Anthony Kim was quick to come out and back Woods stance. Speaking through a gimp mask from a California house party at 3am in the morning, an animated Kim said “Gedda fugg awa ya jaggovv or see thiz driver shoooved up yourrrr asssss”.
with Ron Burgundy In California
In recognition of his "continued ability to blurt out stuff he’s just read in the paper", Lee Trevino has once again swept the board at the annual Gala PGA “Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious Awards” held at the Kodak Centre in Hollywood California.
The awards are strictly for ex professionals who fit the criteria of “piping up every now and then with a quote, on a slow news day”.
Members of the academy honoured Trevino with the top award of the night, “The Anything About Tiger Woods Award”, for his latest comment on Mr Woods.
"I would call a Realtor in Henderson, Nevada, and I'd find out where Butch lived and I'd buy the house next door. I'd go over and ring the doorbell and say, 'Hi, neighbour,' and get back with Butch. That's exactly what I would do."
Trevino held off stiff competition from Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus to scoop the top award which was presented by The Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman, herself a shock winner of the award in 2008 for suggesting that Tiger be “lynched” in a “back alley” somewhere.
There was some cause for celebration for the Sky Sports Golf Team at the The Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious Awards when Denis Pugh picked up the “Bleedin’ Obvious Timewasting Instructional Piece Whilst Totally Avoiding The Question Award” for his demonstration of how to hit a draw and fade in the practice net when asked by David Livingstone what was going wrong with Tiger’s swing at Pebble Beach.
The celebrations for the Sky Sports team were short lived however when Simon Holmes was beaten for the Best Comedian Award. The prize again went to Trevino for his follow-up comment on Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon.
"I'm sure there's bad blood there, at least that's what I've heard. I haven't talked to Butch in years, so I don't know how he feels with Tiger and I don't know if Tiger is too proud to ask for the help and if he asked for help if Butch would give it to him. He's all messed up right now."
The beauty about Twitter is that you have a limited number of characters to make your point. But belly putting Major Champion Keegan Bradley used a tweet to masterful effect to hit back at Tiger Woods and others calling for a ban on belly putters.
The tweet says This is a photo hanging in Rivera. 40's or early 50's. People having been putting like this for a very long time!
Attached is the picture, which paints a thousand words!
When we think of American golfers and facepaint the first thing that comes to mind is the Solheim Cup with those annoying little American flags on the players cheeks to prove how patriotic they really are.
Now LPGA star Natalie Gulbis, who didnt quite make the 2011 US Solheim Cup team, in an act of pure defiance has decided to a bit of face painting of her own cheeks in the 2012 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. When I say “face painting”, I of course mean posing naked with just some face paint covering her technological zones. That’s what I meant by “cheeks”
Struggling to find out if there’s a Christina Kim one also there somewhere……..