2008 Mercedes-Benz Championship, Jan. 3-6, Kapalua, Hawaii, Golf Channel.
by Matt of Predictem.com
The New Year is upon us and so is the new PGA Tour season. The 2008 tournament schedule opens up with the Mercedes-Benz Championship from the Kapalua Resort in Kapalua, Hawaii. The Golf Channel will broadcast all the action from the Plantation Course, a par 73(36-37) track measuring 7,411 yards.
Vijay Singh is the defending champion, his 14-under total took the title in the 2007 edition of this event. Singh and Jim Furyk highlight the participants in this winners only field that is notably missing Tiger Woods. Tiger, along with Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Adam Scott are all opting for rest this weekend versus competition.
With Tiger and the others out, the title is certainly up for grabs for the other 31 participants this week. Seasoned veterans along with several young guns will vie for top honors and Fed Ex Points as the Tour season takes its first steps.
Look for the younger players to move to the top of the leaderboard and make hay in the matchups as it is common for the more experienced players to shake off the rust in the early tournament season, possibly taking more of a spring training approach versus adopting the grind it out approach of the Majors.
Thats not saying the household names aren’t the chalk for this week. Along with Singh, Jim Furyk is a favorite to take the trophy; they are both coming off at 6 to 1 odds for the outright win. Furyk is as consistent tee to green as they come and no one works harder on the range than Vijay. Look for both to post high finishes this week.
Many offshore sportsbooks have Steve Stricker as a contender at 12 to 1 for the win, he is coming off a career year in 07 and is one of the Tours best putters, ranking sixth overall at 1.74 putts per green in regulation.
Stricker can be found matched up against K.J. Choi at -120. Choi is solid and ranks 9th overall in the Official World Golf Rankings, but Stricker is 4th and is my pick to take this matchup given the edge in the putting numbers. Another good matchup is Mike Weir at -120 against Justin Leonard. Leonard won late in 07 to earn the field invite, but look for Weir to take this one home.
Deep in the field can present some interesting looks as Boo Weekly goes off at 33 to 1 for the outright win and Nick Watney could pay big rewards at 50 to 1. Remember, a longshot need only beat 30 other players this week with a short field.
If you like futures and propositions, take a look at when your sportsbook requires you to post the bet, many will want the cash before the tee shots fly on Thursday. Tiger is off many boards to win the US Money Title, leaving Phil Mickelson as the favorite at 5/2. If you like the Euro Tour, Paddy Harrington and Ernie Els are the short lines at 5/1 to win the Order of Merit.
If you have to bet the Tiger, take a look at the Majors won in 08 prop bet. You can lay money on zero to 4 wins with the Grand Slam returning at a 25 to 1 clip. You can also find your favorite golfer on the lines to win the individual Majors this year. Just like the
NFL Superbowl props, pick your guy and watch how they fare.
Picks For the Mercedes:
Favorite: Furyk 6-1
Middle Odds: Zach Johnson 16-1
Longshot: Woody Austin 40-1