WGC Mexico and Tshwane Open – Betting Preview

A disappointing Sunday meant there were no returns last week. Louis Oosthuizen and Joakim Lagergren were both perfectly placed just inside the Top 10 but both played very underwhelming rounds after I started to get a little bit excited late on Saturday evening.

That leaves the points as follows as we reach the first World Golf Championship of the year;

Total 2018 pts advised = 79pts

Total 2018 pts returned = 55.94pts

ROI = -29%

WGC Mexico

With T***p’s Doral course now firmly in the past, Mexico takes centre stage as Chapultepec GC hosts the WGC Mexico Championship for the second year. With any new course comes a lot of second guessing of how it will play and despite it’s narrow, tree-lined nature, Dustin Johnson came out on top of a leaderboard which included some of the longest drivers in the game. There is certainly an element of back to the drawing board about this year’s renewal then but at least we have 4 rounds of competitive golf to help us this year.

The 7330 yard, par 71 course was designed by two Scottish brothers, Willie and Alex Smith from Carnoustie, around the time when Scots were very much the talking point of US golf in the early 1900s. Donald Ross was at the fore front of that and he himself had links to Carnoustie with the first 3 club professionals at his East Lake design all hailing from the Angus town. Indeed the first of those was Alex Smith himself. This suggested to me last year that they probably shared a lot of Ross’ design philosophy and the course does look rather like some of his designs in the US like East Lake and Sedgefield.

So perhaps it was surprising to see so many big hitters on the leaderboard and only 2 of the top 10 ranked inside the top 10 for driving accuracy. In turn four of the five longest hitters of the week finished inside the top 10. Now with a WGC event it isn’t always too reliable to focus 100% on driving distance stats as they are often only measured on a couple of holes. But Johnson still managed to hit 72% (5th) of his greens in regulation despite only finding 58% of his fairways (49th).

This is an increasing trend that we are seeing on the PGA Tour, especially at championship courses where you expect there to be penalties for missing the fairway. The big hitters like DJ, Jason Day and Rahm are often letting rip across completely different driving lines in order to get the ball as close to the hole as possible. Their logic being that they can get the ball as close to the flag from 150 yards away in the rough as most of the shorter hitters can from 200 yards in the fairway. I don’t think one tournament is enough to claim that is how Chaplultepec might play going forward, especially as they may well have grown the rough a little this year, but I certainly don’t think it is going to be a course where the more strategic plotters hold any sort of advantage. Last year the greens ran at about 13″ on the stimpmeter and time and time again we see the best way of stopping the ball on slick greens is with as much loft as possible. The bulk of those on the leaderboard all have towering ball flights and that looks worth considering this week. It’s a shame Luke List isn’t in the field as the trajectory of his irons last week was a thing of beauty on Shot Tracker!

All of the top 10 ranked inside the top 33 for putting (75 in the field) with DJ himself ranking 5th. Ability to putt on fast poa annua greens will be crucial this week so those who put up good short stick numbers on the California swing may be worth looking at (Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach and Riviera all have poa annua greens). DJ had previously won at both Pebble and Riviera while his U.S. Open win was on the lightening quick poa annua greens of Oakmont.

Every year at the first WGC of the season despite everyone clambering to over analyse the course (see above!) the most important factor is current form. It’s still very early in the season and not everyone is fully wound up yet. Indeed 4 of the last 5 winners of this were winning for the second time in that calendar year and if we look more closely at last year’s leaderboard, 4 of the top 6 had already won in 2017.

In summary, it appears that while the big hitters may well have an advantage on the shortish course, there is more than one way to play Chapultepec. However it’s not a course where anyone will be expecting to find their game if they have been struggling in recent weeks. Above course suitability and any specific attributes, current form looks to be the main angle in to Mexico this week.



My main fancy in Mexico is a fairly speculative one on first look but yet given he won his last tournament, Joost Luiten perhaps shouldn’t be the outsider that the market makes him at 125/1*. Luiten was last seen getting the better of Ryder Cup player Chris Wood in Oman two weeks ago and unusually he putted very well. It is normally tee-to-green supremacy that we associate with Luiten and it was that part of his game that was on show at Chapultepec last year as he ranked 1st in drving accuracy and 1st in GIR. I’m hoping that his recent improvement with the putter combined with how well suited he was to the course, can bring about a contending performance. One of his main strengths is distance control and with the course being at altitude and featuring lots of elevation changes, committing to a number will be important.

He has already shown he can win in the hotter climates with titles in Oman and Malaysia and with 8 professional titles he is very capable in contention. Obviously this is a big step up but the odds of 125/1 take that into consideration and I like his chances of playing well and possibly grabbing a place. I’m also going to have a Top 20 bet at a very tempting 3/1 to cover him playing well but falling away in the heat of a battle against the world’s best.

It looks very likely that one of the top 5 or 6 in the market will win in Mexico this week but good luck trying to decide who might come out on stop and its worth considering that while it’s always nice to find a winner, (especially in a WGC) if we look at odds of around 66/1 and up then we are getting better odds for a place than we are for any of the front 5 in the market to win. So with that in mind I’m plumping for another couple of each way prices.

Jason Dufner was my main tip last year and I think he is worth persisting with here after a respectable 23rd where he just couldn’t make enough birdies and only three players made less bogeys. He is in decent form, 17-36-18-11 and hasn’t missed a cut since July. As ever his long game stats are strong and they look a good fit for the challenge at Chapultepec, he is doing everything well, but nothing outstanding at the moment. He is currently 40th in proximity to the hole and 18th in scoring relative to par from 200 yards while we know he can be deadly with his wedge game. With some players in this odds bracket you question whether they can win in an elite field like this but Dufner is a major winner with another 4 PGA Tour titles. He also had a solid record around the bombers track at Doral and one of the best things from a punting point of view is that he is equally at home on those types of courses as he is on a tighter, tree-lined track. Given we only really have one tournament to look at I think it might pay to side with an adaptable sort like Dufner and he goes in the staking plan at 80/1.

Kevin Chappell finished well down the field last year and I’m not too sure why. It seems like he should relish the test of distance control and accuracy tee-to-green. Chappell has a good record at Riviera and Augusta while his only PGA Tour win to date was at TPC San Antonio which is ball strikers course with a premium on accurate approach play. He has actually started the season a lot better than he normally does and he looks worth a go at a decent each way price. Last year he arrived with his 2017 results reading MC-48-75-MC whereas this year they read 20-8-31-6-21, with the 8th place finish coming on the poa annua greens at Pebble Beach. In two of those events he also ranked 1st in the all-round ranking which tells us his whole game is in good shape and he should be primed for an assault on a championship layout like this.


Tshwane Open

Link to The Golf Family preview


Summary of Bets

WGC Mexico

Joost Luiten – 1pt ew @ 125/1  100/1 (1/5 odds 6 places) and 2pts Top 20 @ 3/1

Jason Dufner – 0.75pt ew @ 80/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Kevin Chappell – 0.75pt ew @ 66/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Tshwane Open

George Coetzee – 2pts ew @ 12/1

Erik Van Rooyen – 1pt ew @ 28/1


Weekly pts advised = 7pts

Total 2018 pts advised =  87pts




Honda Classic and Qatar Masters – Betting Preview

A little short of time this week so no moaning about last week and fairly short previews.

2018 pts advised = 70pts

2018 pts returned = 55.94 pts

ROI = – 20%

Honda Classic

The PGA Tour heads east to PGA National at Palm Beach, Florida for what is one of the tougher stops on Tour. Pars are pretty good around a course where the wind usually blows and the greens are quite small and very well protected. We will be looking for links players in Europe this week and at a course where Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler have lifted the trophy, I’ll be looking at similar types here. Ability to hit greens in tough conditions and scramble well when you miss is the order of the day at PGA National. Having said that though Rickie Fowler putted his way to victory last year but a lot of those were completing his up and downs. Scrambling and bogey avoidance should be two good angles in while I’d be wanting evidence that a player can play in the wind and handle bermuda greens before I parted with my cash on the Honda Classic.

Louis Oosthuizen is getting advised this week largely on price but he also hit more greens than everyone else last year as he finished 21st. His first 2 appearances ended up in withdrawals and then he missed the cut on his 3rd so last year suggested he was finding his feet on a course that should suit. Despite the abundance of talent the 2010 Open champion possesses the fact he has never won on U.S. soil can make him difficult to back at his price some weeks on the PGA Tour. However that isn’t the case this week as the opening 80/1 looked a great each way price about him getting his 2018 season properly up and running with a contending performance. Unfortunately that 80/1 disappeared as I was writing this today but I still think the general 66/1 to 70/1 gives us some value if you look at the standard of player around the 50/1 mark this week.

My only other each way pick is another solid links player and after Graeme McDowell played so well last week at Riviera I think he is also a little over-priced at 66/1. McDowell has usually been a very good wind player through-out his career and there is no doubting that he prefers a difficult test of golf with his first win in the U.S. coming at the U.S. Open with a winning score of just level par. He was 12th in both GIR and scrambling last week so hopefully a switch to bermuda greens might bring about a change in fortunes on the greens for GMac. Another major-winner who is priced up alongside a few players who he is simply better than. So lets take advantage of that 66/1 as he surely shouldn’t be any bigger than 50/1 this week at a course where he has 4 Top 10s from his 8 appearances.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat makes a rare appearance in the U.S. this week having not played there since 2016. But he has made the Top 20 on 3 of his 14 appearances and he arrives confident and with his game in good shape. This test should suit him perfectly so I think the stand-out 5/1 on offer with Betfred for a Top 20 should be snapped up. Given several of those appearances in the U.S. were on courses that wouldn’t have suited him I think there is probably a little wiggle room down to 4/1 but no probably no lower than that.


Qatar Masters

Link to The Golf Family preview;


Summary of Bets

Honda Classic

Louis Oosthuizen – 1pt ew @ 66/1

Graeme McDowell – 1pt ew @ 66/1

Kiradech Aphibarnrat – 1pt Top 20 @ 5/1 (Betfred)

Qatar Masters

Alexander Bjork – 1pt ew @ 40/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Joakim Lagergren – 0.5pt ew @ 100/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Thomas Bjork – 1pt Top 20 @ 6/1


Weekly pts advised = 9pts

Total 2018 pts advised = 79pts



Genesis Open and NBO Oman Open – Betting Preview

We came agonisingly close to the double this week as Mickelson surged through the back 9 on Sunday night after Aphibarnrat obliged earlier in the morning in Australia. Just like 2 years ago when Vaughan Taylor beat Mickelson in to 2nd place, inspired outsider Ted Potter Jnr played a superb round alongside Dustin Johnson to record one of the most remarkable wins of the season so far. I can’t complain though after Aphibarnrat somehow managed to land the World Super 6s event after seemingly being down and out about  six times over the course of the weekend. His class eventually shone through however as he made the up and downs and putts when it mattered as his opponents struggled with their own clutch putting.

Aaron Wise also grabbed a top 20 in California to make it a profitable week for the blog with some 41 pts returned.

Total 2018 pts advised = 59

Total 2018 pts returned = 55.94

ROI = -5%

Genesis Open

The PGA Tour remains in California this week to complete its west coast swing and we’re in L.A. for the glamour that Riviera Golf Club brings. Golf fans are truly spoilt at this time of year with the likes of Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach and now Riviera.

Riviera is a lush green course with sprawling up and down fairways running through parkland and huge elevation changes between tee and green. Despite there usually being plenty of thick kikuyu rough, driving accuracy isn’t as important as it once was. The poa annua greens are slick and tricky, again surrounded by thick rough or run-offs. The bigger hitters have enjoyed an advantage in recent years as they can attack many of the flags with a wedge or a 9-iron. The trees can certainly block players out from the green but many of the par 4s have a side where it is ok to miss and you will see a lot of the bombers hit their slinging draws or power fades around the subtle dog-legs to give them the preferred angle in. While you don’t absolutely have to be long at Riviera, if you aren’t, you need to be accurate through the bag with your irons and very capable around the greens. Last week’s scrambling stats are worth a look at given the very defined rough around the small greens at Pebble Beach. The challenge will be similar this week again chipping onto slick, sloping, poa annua greens.

It’s a course that has very strong links with both Augusta and Glen Abbey (host of the RBC Canadian Open) and that is a route I have gone down the last few years. It found me Chez Reavie at 250/1 in 2016 who would go on to finish one shot out of the places in 7th. I had been hoping for a decent price on him this week but he is well and truly exposed now after consecutive 2nd places. Both courses are not only visually similar but require much the same skill-set and there are players that thrive on all three. Distance off the tee, GIR and scrambling  are probably the most crucial stats to look at this week.

RBC Canadian Open - Final Round

I’m going down the value route this week with a couple of very big prices. Jonny Vegas has won the last two Canadian Opens at Glen Abbey and that combined with his 15th here last year makes him very interesting. Vegas is the sort of player who should thrive at Riviera with his length off the tee, high ball flight and a great chipping touch around the greens. He simply looks massively over priced here after an over reaction to a missed cut at Torrey Pines. Prior to that he was 11th at the CareerBuilder and 7th at the Tournament of Champions. Vegas isn’t always the most accurate of drivers so Torrey Pines doesn’t really suit his game off the tee. As we mentioned Riviera is more accommodating with missed fairways so I’m going to focus on his previous tournaments, his solid finish to the 2017 season and the fact he shot 3 rounds in the 60s here last year. Looks a great each way price at 125/1


Charley Hoffman goes well on all of these courses and is another player who the bookies have very quickly forgotten about. For a period in 2017 Hoffmann was the form player on Tour outside the bigger names and while he hasn’t been at his best so far in 2017 he shouldn’t be dismissed at tracks like Riviera. He lost in a play-off last summer at Glen Abbey and looked like he might win the Masters for a couple of days. In fact his Augusta record in general is very good as he has made the top 30 in all four appearances. Hoffman also has some solid form in the bank at at Riviera having finished 4th last year and he has made 9 of his 11 cuts at the venue.

So far this year he ranks 35th in strokes gained: off the tee and 65th in strokes gained: approaches to the green while he has only missed one of his last 22 cuts. He withdrew last week at Pebble but I’m hoping it was just precautionary and if he is fit then 100/1 is huge. I really like the price but given he might not be fully fit I will reduce stakes slightly to 0.75pts ew.

Luke List has the game for Riviera being one of the biggest hitters on Tour but he also has an excellent touch around the greens. It’s his iron play that can often let him down but he has been playing very well lately with a 12th at Torrey Pines and a 26th in Phoenix. List currently sits 9th in strokes gained: off the tee and in those last two events he ranked 6th and 7th in GIR. List has played Riviera twice with mixed results, he missed the cut last year while in dire form but was 20th the year before on his debut. With his tee-to-green game in fine fettle this looks a great course for him where putting isn’t usually as important as hitting greens.

Kevin Chappell’s price has gone a little this week but as regular backer of his I do like his chances this week. His driver has been on fire this year so far and if he makes a good start I may look to get him onside in-play. If Mickelson wins you might not hear from me for a while but at 22/1 he is a little easier to overlook this week.

NBO Oman Open

Link to The Golf Family preview


Summary of Bets

Genesis Open

Jonny Vegas – 1pt ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Skybet and others)

Charley Hoffman – 0.75pt ew @ 100/1 (1/4 odds 5 places Bet365)

Luke List – 0.75pt ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Skybet and others)

NBO Oman Open

Alexander Bjork – 1.25pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Pablo Larrazabal – 1.25pt ew @ 40/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

David Drysdale – 1pt Top 20 @ 9/1


Weekly pts advised = 11pts

Total 2018 pts advised = 70pts


AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and World Super 6 – Betting Preview

Before the final round on Sunday on the PGA Tour I said to myself anyone but Woodland or Reavie. Reavie is one of my regular plays and he has been trending towards a win for some time while Woodland was my main tip last week and has been one of the Tour’s best performers without a win over the last couple of years. I suppose I should be taking confidence from it as it shows I’m doing something right but with only small returns again this week it isn’t easy to be so pragmatic! Hadley played well and nabbed us some diluted returns at 100/1 but it was a losing week on the whole.

This week the Tour is back on the west coast for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am event while the European Tour heads down under for the rather gimmicky World Super 6s event.

2018 pts advised = 47.50pts

2018 pts returned = 14.25pts


AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

The PGA Tour is back in California this week for it’s first pro-am event of the year. The tournament takes place across 3 different courses in the area, Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula and the iconic Pebble Beach Links. While all three are located in the same area, their characteristics do differ sligthly but the focus should be on Pebble where those making the cut will play the final round. It is an open, links style course with its main defence being its small poa annua greens which can be hard to hit and difficult to putt on for those who aren’t accomplished on the surface. If the wind doesn’t blow then scoring can be fairly easy with the course set up to allow amateurs to enjoy their week. It’s also never as hard and fast in February as we see when hosting the U.S. Open in June so there is a chance to be aggressive with the irons when the wind doesn’t blow.


All three courses are relatively short at under 7000 yards and driving accuracy doesn’t usually matter too much in this event with most of the rough minimal. While the other two courses have bigger greens the focus is still on hitting them with Spyglass featuring several elevation changes, making distance control difficult. It is also tree-lined with any wind a little harder to judge. Monterey is usually the easiest of the three courses so players will need their putter to perform whichever day they tee it up there.

Unlike when the U.S. Open pitches up at Pebble Beach, the low scoring nature of a pro-am event means you want to side with a player capable of making lots of birdies. The winners regularly hit plenty of greens but if the wind blows then the small greens will be missed on Sunday making scrambling vital. Those are the 3 main attributes to focus on this week in addition to a fondness for poa annua greens.


Two years ago Phil Mickelson should really have won this event as he failed to make a straight-forward up and down at the 18th to force a play-off with Vaughan Taylor who had holed everything down his back 9. I was on Phil that year and after what he showed over the weekend at Scottsdale, he looks to be close to finally getting the next W which he has been chasing since lifting the Claret Jug in 2013. It is madness to think that a player of Mickelson’s ability hasn’t won in 4 1/2 years but it speaks volumes to the strength of the PGA Tour in recent times. Despite him being 47 now it’s certainly not age that is holding him back as he is still long off the tee and there is no hesitancy whatsoever on the greens. He just hasn’t been playing well enough on a consistent basis. But he has been quoted as saying he has found something with the driver this season (I know, we have been there before!) and he hit more fairways than he missed in Phoenix which is usually about as good as it gets with Mickelson. He also ranked 1st in scrambling and 9th in putting which are always crucial  in this event with easy pin locations yet often strong winds at Pebble Beach resulting in missed greens.

I’m sure he will win again on Tour and if he does it is likely to be at one of his favourite courses. Phil is a 4 time winner around Pebble Beach and looks primed to go close again. The big five in the market means there are some fancy each way prices around for some very good players. Rather than try and pick between DJ and Spieth I have decided to avoid all the favourites.


I can’t seem to get away from Branden Grace this week despite this being his debut at Pebble Beach. Everything else looks to be in his favour. Grace’s record on U.S. championship courses with poa annua greens over the last two or three years is practically second to none. Grace finished 4th at Chambers Bay, 3rd at Whistling Straits, 5th at Oakmont and 4th at Baltusrol. The first two of those also being exposed links courses just like Pebble Beach. Grace has won the European Tour equivalent event, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which is also a pro-am format played across 3 different courses. Grace shot an all-time major record with his 62 around Birkdale last July. Five of the last six winners at Royal Birkdale have won around Pebble Beach and of the four major tournaments I listed above where Grace shone, three of those winners are also winners at Pebble Beach. One further link to suggest suitability is the location of his solo PGA Tour win, Harbour Town. It is also a coastal course with small greens just like Pebble and there are plenty of dual winners over the years but most recently Brandt Snedeker and Graeme Mcdowell have won at both venues.

The course looks absolutely ideal for him and I think he too looks a great each way price given his pedigree in similar conditions.

Matt Kuchar should be respected this week but rather than take a 3rd player from the front of the market I’m going to add an outsider for a small each way bet and also Top 20. PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise is a player with a very good reputation and big things are expected from him this year after his first professional win on the Web.com Tour last year. Wise is an Oregon native so is comfortable on the west coast and he has already won on poa annua greens when he took the NCAA title in 2016 in his home state at Eugene Country Club. It has a been a fairly slow start to his season having missed 4 of his 8 cuts but he turned 3 of the other 4 into Top 25s. He sits 18th over the last 3 months in birdie average so I think a low scoring event on the west coast could be the ideal time to get behind this deadly putter. We can take advantage of his low profile 2018 by getting very juicy odds of 200/1.

World Super 6s

Link below to The Golf Family preview


Summary of Bets

Pebble Beach

Phil Mickelson – 1pts ew @ 33/1 (1/4 odds 5 places general)

Branden Grace – 1pt ew @ 40/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Coral, Boylesports)

Aaron Wise – 0.25 pt ew @ 200/1 (1/5 odds 7 places) & 1pt Top 20 @ 13/2

World Super 6s

Kiradech Aphibarnrat – 0.75pt ew @ 25/1

Jason Scrivener – 0.75pt ew @ 25/1

Alejandro Canizares – 0.5pt ew @ 50/1

Connor Syme – 0.5pt ew @ 150/1 (all 1/4 odds 4 places) and 1pt To Qualify for knockout  @ 13/2 (Skybet)


Weekly pts advised = 11.5pts

2018 pts advised = 59pts