2008 Deutsche Bank Championship Preview and Picks

The Deutsche Bank Championship Preview and Picks
Dates: Friday August 29th Monday September 1st, 2008
Location: TPC Boston Norton, Mass
Television: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Matt of Predictem.com

Round number two of the PGA playoffs is next up on the schedule, with the pros heading to Norton, Massachusetts for the Deutsche Bank Championship. The top-120 players on the FedEx Cup Points list after last weeks Barclays make up the field that will be playing for the winners share of the $7 million total purse and the all important 11,000 FedEx points. Secondarily, players residing outside the top-70 will look to get inside that number as the field will be cut after this week for the next stop at the BMW. Players also need to work to position themselves for a run into the top-30 to ensure they will be around for the TOUR Championship, the final playoff event. Phil Mickelson is the defending champion at the TPC Boston, but a strong field is out to take the crown, including last weeks winner, Vijay Singh along with most of the top players from around the world. The Golf Channel airs the early rounds for the event with NBC picking up the final two, which includes a Monday finish in prime-time. XM radio features coverage and content throughout the tournament.

The Tournament Players Club Boston will provide a diverse challenge for the players this week on her par-71 layout. The 7,207 yard track can be tackled by accurate drives and precise iron play or the bombers can let fly and wind up with wedges into greens. Mickelson won last year at 16-under, so a hot putter will be needed to keep pace if the field gets out and running. Players should look to take advantage of the birdie opportunities in the early going as the middle of the card hold the teeth of the course, and the par 3, 4, 5 finish will provide chances to catch the leader or possible give up the lead on the way in.

Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and highlight some key contenders in the field. We will make a pick to win from a short, middle and long odds group and pick a few head to head matches as well. The Deutsche Bank odds to win come courtesy of the board at Bodog Sportsbook.

Phil Mickelson
9 to 1 to win and 7 to 4 to finish in the top-5(including ties)
Phil hasnt taken advantage of the Tiger-less Tour as of yet but is running well of late with consecutive top-10s and a T19 at the Barclays as his last three finishes. Mickelson won here in 07, and seems overdue with his last win coming in May of this year. Lefty is the Tours #1 All Around player with a solid GIR% rank of 40th and is still among the longest hitters out there. The driver continues to be a bit crooked, but the course obviously lines up well for Phil and his 3.72 birdies per 18 ranks 5th best.

Sergio Garcia
10 to 1 and 15 to 8
Sergio came close last week, going down to Vijay in a Barclays playoff, and was T2 in the PGA Championship before that, so he is certainly handling the strong field events. Garcia is plenty long to take advantage of this layout at 293 on average off the tee and has been hitting a ton of greens as well. The putter has always been a bit of a weak spot, but when its on, Garcia is always a threat to win. Sergio is inside the top-20 on par-5 performance and his 69.6 scoring average is 5th on Tour.


Vijay Singh
14 to 1 and 5 to 2
The handicappers must be having fits with Singh of late. He has two wins this month, but those have book ended consecutive missed cuts. Vijay seems to have solved some putting woes and is looking to add another Deutsche victory to the one he earned in 04. Singh is in the top-30 in driving distance and greens hit, so there will be plenty of birdie opportunities again this week. Vijay is 10th and 6th in scoring average and birdie average, respectively.

Padraig Harrington
18 to 1 and 10 to 3
Harrington should be a contender every week, but the possibility exists that back to back Major wins has Paddy playing out the string and coasting a bit. Harrington is one of the best putters on Tour, ranking 4th, leading to a 1st and 2nd rank in scoring and birdie average, despite a spotty greens hit percentage. Padraig is long enough off the tee to overpower the TPC Boston, and he has six top 10s in his 13 starts this year.

Jim Furyk
25 to 1 and 4 to 1
Its officially late in the year and Furyk is still looking for his first win. Jims best finish in 08 was a runner up at the WGC-CA and has done a lot of hanging around, including a T12 at the Barclays last week. This might be the week for a breakthrough as the course will lend birdies to the thinking style of play that Furyk prefers. Jim ranks inside the top-30 in both fairways and greens hit and a solid putter has led to the 29th most total birdies this year. Despite the winless drought, Furyk checks in at 15 in scoring at a shade over 70.

Anthony Kim
28 to 1 and 5 to 1
Kim is finishing out his two-win season with strong play, finishing T12 at the Barclays. Kim can dominate the TPC with his 300+ yard drives and a top-40 putter will make up for a slightly below average GIR%. The youngster holds the 5th best scoring average at 69.7 and is among the best on the par-5s, ranking 4th in birdie conversion and 7th in eagles.

Steve Sticker
33 to 1 and 6 to 1
Stricker was in place to defend his 07 Barclays crown last week after getting to 10-under going into the weekend. A Saturday 77 derailed the repeat bid, but Steve is playing solid golf of late and should be motivated this week in hopes of earning a Ryder Cup selection. Stricker has five top-10s this year, including a T7 at the British Open and ran in the top-10 here in 07. Steve has slipped outside the top-200 in total driving but is an accurate player to the greens and ranks 34th in total putting. Getting through the mid rounds will be the key as Sricker owns the best final round scoring average on Tour.

Aaron Baddeley
40 to 1 and 8 to 1
Baddeley makes the list here as our longshot pick to win. Badds was 5th in 07 and has been going well recently, including a top-15 at the PGA Championship. Aaron was cut at last weeks Barclays, so he needs a good week to stay in the hunt for the TOUR Championship. Baddeley has the length to attack this week and his 5th ranked putter will give him the opportunity to stay on the first page. Baddeley is top-40 in birdie conversion, so he should stay in the hunt if the tee to green game is strong.

For the win:

Short: Phil Mickelson Lefty should continue the trend of solid title defenses by 07 champs, and he cant stay out of the winners circle much longer.

Middle of the Road:

Steve Stricker Even par on the weekend would have been enough for a win last week. The Friday 64 shows he can go low and blowups are not a regular occurrence.

Longshot: Aaron Baddeley the putter will give him a chance this week with birdie opportunities and par-saves.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)

(matches are for the entire event)

Jim Furyk (-115) v. Anthony Kim (-115) (Kim)

Look for both players to have a good week here, but Kim has just outperformed Furyk for the better part of the year. Kim owns the edge in length and putting with Furyk the better control player, but the course can be had with the big drive.

Paul Casey (-115) v. Adam Scott (-115) (Scott)

Scott may be a good pick to win it all this week as the 03 champ and the 04 runner up, so a match pick is not a reach. Scott has missed his last two cuts but is too good to have that trend continue and he has the edge on the stat sheet, especially on the greens with Casey outside the top-200 in putting average.

Good Luck!