2009 FBR Open Preview and Picks

2009 FBR Open
Thursday Jan. 29 Sunday Feb. 1, 2009
TPC Scottsdale Scottsdale, AZ
The Golf Channel/CBS

By Matt of Predictem.com

After a tremendous scoring week at the Bob Hope Classic, the PGA moves down the road to Scottsdale for the FBR Open. The FBR has the reputation of being one of the more laid back events on Tour, especially with the crazy atmosphere surrounding the par-3, 16th hole. J.B. Holmes is the defending champion and will be looking to make it three wins in the last four years here against a strong field, including Phil Mickelson, who is making his 09 debut. The Golf Channel will carry all the early round action with CBS picking up the weekend finish.

The TPC at Scottsdale will serve as host to the FBR and the 7,216 yard, par-71 layout will continue to produce the kind of low scores we have seen to this point. The TPC played as the 36th hardest course (18th easiest) in 2008 and typically plays right into the hands of the bombers on Tour. A steady putter is also a huge plus this week as the Scottsdale greens will be faster than any played so far, rolling at 12ft on the stimpmeter. The winning total of 14-under is a typical four day score here and the single day course record is 60, last accomplished by Phil Mickelson in 2005.


Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and make one pick to win from a short, middle and long odds perspective. We also breakdown a few head to head matches that are out there and make some picks there. We are still trying to get on the board for 09 in terms of the matches, losing a bunch of close ones and sitting at 0-5-1 for an overall record, but are 1-8 in tournament winner picks and currently +23 units. Here is a look at some players to watch this week.

Phil Mickelson – 8 to 1 to win
Lefty will be taking his first swings of the year this week, looking to avenge the playoff loss to Holmes in the 08 FBR. The crowd favorite is also the odds on favorite after posting top-10 finishes in four of the last five years, including a win in 05. In 08, Mickelson ranked in the top-35 in both driving distance and putting average, which will play well at Scottsdale. We have Phil as our short odds pick this week.

Anthony Kim – 12 to 1 odds
Kim is playing this week after a sore shoulder forced a withdrawal last week, so tread lightly with your confidence in the youngster. If he is at full strength, he easily has the game to win here. Kim was the runner up at the Mercedes to start the season and is currently ranked 4th in greens in regulation. Kims two starts here have led to a missed cut and a T30, but 300 yard drives and slick putter had him ranked 2nd in All Around in 08 and due for a better run in the desert.

Geoff Ogilvy – 16 to 1
Ogilvy got off to a great start in 09 by winning the Mercedes and playing well the next week at the Sony. He has not had great success at the FBR of late, missing the last two cuts. Geoff is currently 14th in scoring average at 69.1 and his 5.0 birdies per round is a direct result of hitting 75% of greens to this point. A hot putter could have Ogilvy hanging around the final group this week.

Camilo Villegas – 16 to 1
Villegas has a tremendous finish to 08, vaulting him to 8th in the All Around and there is a lot to like so far in 09. A T12 at the Mercedes was a good start and Camilo currently leads the Tour in GIR, hitting at an 86% clip. Villegas is utilizing his 15th ranked putter to cash in on 5.5 birdies per round. The young Colombian is our middle odds pick this week.

Mike Weir – 22 to 1
Weir showed he can handle a shootout, finishing T2 in his 09 debut at last weeks Hope Classic. Weir averaged nearly 300 yards off the tee at the Hope, 15 yards more than his 08 average. If he can find the long ball this week, his 26th ranked putting average should lead to a bunch of birdies. You can never count out the Canadian; he quietly was third in top-10 finishes in 08.

Our Picks to Win:

Short – Phil Mickelson: (8-1) Kim would be a quality option here without the injury question but Phils track record speaks for itself. You never really know about a players first time out, but Scottsdale is a favorite track for Lefty.

Middle of the Road Camilo Villegas: (16-1) Villegas has a runner up here in 06 and the game is perfect for the TPC layout.

Longshot Brian Gay: (50-1) Gay has three straight top-20s to start the season and four consecutive made cuts at the FBR. He is second in total birdies in 09 and super accurate with the driver, ranking 6th in fairways hit. Brian was the 7th ranked putter in 08 and converting 4.9 birdies per 18 this year.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)* all matches are for entire event

Justin Leonard (-115) v. David Toms (-115) (Leonard)
Both players have had similar FBR records recently, with missed cuts mixed in around top-20s, but Leonards 80% GIR clip and 5.56 birdies per 18 in 09 tilt the scales his way.

Hunter Mahan (-115) v. Steve Marino (-115) (Marino)
Mahan, making his first start, has the putting edge in this match, but Marino is playing well, with a T7 and T25 on the year. Marino led the Tour in total birdies in 08 and is currently 20th in scoring average dating back to the start of last year.

Good Luck!