“I expect big things from Keegs in 2014 and I think that starts this week at the Humana.” – Golfstradamaus 1/15/14
Okay, okay… so Keegan Bradley didn’t win the Humana Challenge last week, but he did have a pretty solid week and he aced the par-3 third hole during the second round of the tournament. That’s still a big thing, right?
Listen, I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. I know Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson recorded runner-up finishes in Abu Dhabi and Palm Springs, respectively, but it wasn’t a great week for Golfstradamaus. Yet, it’s a new week and hope springs eternal as Tiger Woods (you know, among others) makes his first start of the year at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. The European Tour is also in action as it continues its desert swing with the Qatar Masters, which means you degenerate gamblers have two tournaments to bank on this week. Got your pen and paper? Let’s do this.
Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines (North & South Courses)
La Jolla, Calif., Jan. 23-26, 2014
ODDS to Win:
|Charles Howell III||40/1|
|Brendon de Jonge||80/1|
|Field (all others)||5/1|
The first guy I’m taking this week is Tiger Woods. Yes, yes, I know I said I don’t like taking the favorite but it’s hard not to take Woods this week and only a fool wouldn’t. At 2/1, the payout is miniscule but it is as close to a guaranteed thing as you can get. If Woods’ name isn’t on the deed at Torrey Pines, it could be because he flat-out owns the place. He’s won here eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open over Rocco Mediate. If you’re picking against Woods this week, just remember how fine the line between clever and stupid really is.
If you’re not going to pick Woods this week, pick Phil Mickelson. Again, I know he’s one of the favorites, but it’s hard to pass on Mickelson when he’s getting 12/1 odds, especially at a place like Torrey Pines. He is fresh off a T-2 at Abu Dhabi has made it clear that he thinks 2014 is going to be his year. Take the bait on Mickelson this week and collect the cash while the odds are good.
Hunter Mahan usually plays well early in the year and I think he could get off to a hot start at the Farmers this week. He’s going off at 30/1, which is a nice payout for a player as good as Mahan. If it’s not going to be Woods or Mickelson, it’s going to be someone like Mahan who rises to the top of the heap at Torrey Pines this week. I’d hate for you to be the one who has say, “I told you so.”
Rickie Fowler is another guy to be on the lookout for this week in La Jolla. Fowler has played this event four times and has never finished outside the top 20. If Rickie gets hot this week, he could very easily pick up his second PGA Tour win and at 30/1, you could be looking pretty smart if he does.
For my last pick this week, I want you all to take a good, hard look at Canadian Graham DeLaet. DeLaet had a career year in 2013 and is ready to claim his first win in 2014. I think the Farmers could be the week he gets win No. 1. At 50/1, the reward is quite handsome for a guy who is going to win and win soon.
Doha Golf Club
Doha, Qatar, Jan. 22-25, 2014
|ODDS to Win:|
|Rafael Cabrera Bello||30/1|
|Miguel Angel Jimenez||50/1|
|Morten Orum Madsen||125/1|
|Field (all others)||9/2|
The first guy on my list might be a surprise, but I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if he won this week. Surprised? Yes, but not shocked. John Daly is now relying on sponsor’s exemptions to keep playing professional golf. Daly, in typical Daly fashion, had a roller coaster ride last week in Hawaii but he still played well. I’m never shocked by anything Daly does, good or bad, and when he goes off at 200/1 like he does this week, he’s worth a couple bucks. I mean, really, who among us wouldn’t pay $5 to win a grand?
The second name I’m going to look at this week is George Coetzee. He had a solid year last year, finished T-4 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last week, and I think he can stay hot in the desert this week in Qatar. Coetzee, who has never won a European Tour event, goes off at 30/1 and if you’re willing to take a flyer on the South African, his first win could also mean a pay day for you.
No. 3 this week is Rafael Cabrera Bello, who already has two top-10 finishes this year and has had some success in the desert, winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2012. Clearly, there are guys more likely to win than Cabrera-Bello, but at 30/1, the Spaniard is low-risk, high-reward. You’d be remiss to not give him a look this week.
Finally, I’m taking Brooks Koepka. Keopka played great last year and really made a name for himself on the European Tour and the Qatar Masters could be the place where he gets career win No. 1. Koepka won three times on the Challenge Tour last year and while he hasn’t played great as of late, he’s still a rising star who could bust out at any time. At 100/1, hopefully for you this is his week.
There you have it, folks. Take it to the bank, cash the check, etc., etc. Whatever you do this week, enjoy the polar vortex and choose wisely…
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