Tiger Woods props up the betting at 5/1 this week and I am genuinely excited to see his name installed as favourite again, albeit not excited enough to back him at those odds. However, if he keeps improving on the form he has shown in recent weeks, this year could be one of the most exciting that golf has seen in a long time. Just imagine the majors with Woods, McIlroy, Donald, Kaymer, Westwood, and Mickelson all in form. And then imagine trying to pick a winner.
Anyway, with most of the names mentioned above playing in Dubai this week, Woods main challengers from the bookmakers perspective come in the form of his American fellow Ryder Cup hopefuls, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson, who are all around the 20/1 mark.
When picking a golfer on any given week, the two most important traits I look for are current form and course form, usually in that order, which is why my first pick may surprise some when I name Phil Mickelson.
On current form his price of 18/1 might seem quite small, especially as he has failed to break into the top 25 in his last 3 starts, but this is just in tournament play. Word from his camp is that he is hitting the ball better than ever and has just not managed to bring this good play to the tour yet. Now this would be a problem with most players, but Mickelson has shown countless times that he is a winner, and the relaxed environment of a pro-am might just be what he needs to bring his practice form back onto the tour. An ‘in-form’ Mickelson would be a single-figure price in this field and with his camp not being known for lying, I’ll gladly take the 18/1 available, especially as he has 3 wins from 16 attempts on this course.
Next up is John Huh. T12 andT6 in his last two starts show that this rookie really is one to watch. His rookie status does mean that his course form missing so I am once again going against my rules, but his massive 80/1 price make him a viable each way bet and if the season progresses as it has started for the American, this could be the last time you see such a big number beside this players name, so take advantage of it while you can.
Then we have Nick Watney. Arguably the most consistent player last year aside from Luke Donald and Webb Simpson, there is no reason why Watney can’t continue his good form into this season and with a T12 already in January, and a T6 here last year, I’ll gladly take the 9/2 going for a top 5 finish this time round.
Bets this week:
2pts e/w Phil Mickelson @ 18/1 (1/4 odds, 5 places)
1pt e/w John Huh @ 80/1 (1/4 odds, 5 places)
2pts win Nick Watney top 5 finish @ 9/2