As golf enters one of the most exciting years that I recall, it’s a shame the world is in such a perilous state but luckily golf fans can use the game as a small escape from the constant Trump and Brexit pantomime. There will be plenty of chances to do so during the year as there is a steady flow from now until October.
I’ll be posting my results with regards the calendar year from now on so they have been reset for 2017. I will still be keeping a cumulative record too if anyone ever wants to see it.
SBS Tournament of Champions
Twelve drummers drumming are not exactly the most exciting of Christmas presents although come to think of it, neither is 11 pipers piping or 10 lords a-leaping and so on. Luckily we don’t have to worry about any of those rather dated gifts tomorrow as this year for the twelfth day of Christmas we get the start of the new PGA year with the Tournament of Champions! This year the field is stronger than ever as the Tour heads to Hawaii for its usual January jaunt to the Kapalua Resort.
With very little recent golf to go on, it seems logical to focus purely on course form this week and if we do that there is one very straight-forward selection.
Last year Jordan Spieth won this by 8 strokes while recording the second best under par score (-30) recorded on the PGA Tour. It was a performance that suggested he was all set to continue his dominance of 2015 but that didn’t quite transpire. He did however continue to play well at all the courses where he was expected to and but for one bad shot at Augusta then it would still be a case in the US of Danny who?
Spieth’s price last year was very similar to this year and that seems perfectly fair. The field is stronger this year but that is balanced by his emphatic win and a runner-up finish on his other start. It is usually short-game brilliance that gets it done around Kapalua as there is plenty room off the tee and it isn’t that long a course playing as a par 73. The greens are bermuda with lots of grain that can be misleading as several of the breaks are in direct conflict with their respective backdrops. This seems to be the main reason that there are so many repeat winners as it is a huge advantage just to have putted on the greens before never mind having mastered them.
A case can be made for the other two market leaders; Matsuyama has won four of his last five starts and Dustin Johnson is coming of a career year. But despite both having played well there in the past their short games just aren’t up to the same standard as Spieth and I suspect they may struggle to stay with him. Matsuyama’s putting was excellent throughout November but I’m yet to be convinced as to whether that will be a long-term improvement. Patrick Reed looks to have a great chance again this year after chasing home Spieth last year with my money on. But he looked to throw everything at Spieth last year and still came up well short. The wind is supposed to be more of a problem than last year but Spieth has shown that he can handle the wind having already won twice at the blustery John Deere Classic.
With it being the first tournament in over a month it makes sense to lead out with the most solid-looking bet in the hope of starting the season strong. Spieth is a confident if very unoriginal pick!
With Reed expected to go well I will also have a Top 5 bet on him.
Next week the blog will be back to normal with the European Tour starting in South Africa and the PGA Tour remaining in Hawaii for its first full field tournmant of the year.
Summary of Bets
Jordan Spieth – 3pts win @ 6.2 and 4pts Top 4 @2.26
Patrick Reed – 2pts Top 5 @ 3.45
Weekly pts advised – 9pts
2017 pts advised – 9pts