Event: The Greenbriar Classic
Dates: July 29th-August 1st, 2010
Course: The Old White Course, White Sulphur Springs, WV
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Professional PGA Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
After a couple of weeks abroad, the PGA returns to the U.S. and welcomes a new event to the Tour rotation, as well. The Greenbriar Classic makes it’s debut this week with the Old White Course serving as host for this West Virginia tournament that will remain until at least 2015. Most of the household names are taking the week off in preparations for the PGA Championship, but a strong field is still in attendance, highlighted by veterans Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry.
The Old White Course has seen some top level play when it hosted the Ryder Cup in 1979 but the Greenbriar Classic will be the first regular Tour event the course has hosted. The 7,020 yard, par-70 track will test the players with undulating greens that require precise approaches to lend quality birdie chances. The fairways will be easy to hit by Tour standards but many players may still skip the driver on some holes in order to put the right club in hand for the approaches that demand solid distance control. The two par-5s are both located on the inward nine, so the Sunday finish could have a number of players still in contention right down to the wire.
Each week, we take a look at the offshore sportsbooks to bring you the players that we think have the best shot at grabbing a win. Well send you to the window with a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a few head to head matches that you can find at most any online bookie. Here are our picks for the 2010 Greenbriar Classic.
Short Favorite: Jim Furyk (14 to 1 odds to win)
You get great value in this spot as the consensus favorite seldom brings much more than 8 to 1 in most events. Its a little tricky with so little info about the course, but most are saying that the Old White favors the accuracy players versus the bombers. Furyk is 11th in fairways and should have no problems handling the tough greens with an above average putter. Jim is playing his usual brand of no mistakes: golf as his scoring average is much better than those with similar birdie averages. Furyk has obviously seen just about everything so a new course wont bother him and to top it off, hes as hot as he has been in years with four top-10 finishes and two wins to this point.
Middle of the Road: Nick Watney (22 to 1 odds to win)
With the real big dogs at home, Watney is one of the better players in the field overall and is in the middle of a solid season with six top-10s entering the week. Nick is 22nd in total driving and 3rd in greens hit for the 8th best ballstriking stat on Tour which should bear out this week. Watney averages 294 off the tee so he should be able to take advantage of the par-5s and has been strong enough across the board to produce the 12th best birdie average. He is also coming off back to back T7 finishes to come in as hot as anyone in the field.
Longshot: Steve Marino (40 to 1 odds to win)
Although Marino has only missed three cuts in sixteen starts, he hasnt logged a top-10 since February so this pick could be a bit of a shot in the dark. Steve is plenty long at 290 yards off the tee and his 64th rank is greens hit is good enough to contend, but there has been just too much inconsistency to put together four good rounds. Oddly, Marino averages nearly two full shots less on the front nine than the back but that shouldnt matter this week as the back is much easier to score on than the outward nine. If he can get off to his usual good start, those scoring opportunities on the way in could break him out of his scuffles.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *listed matches are for entire event. Check with your favored sports betting site for single round matches and prop bets.
Ben Crane (-115) v. J.B. Holmes (-115) (Crane)
Holmes length makes him a factor every week but this week is about greens and putting and Crane has J.B. outclassed there. Holmes does hold a slight overall scoring edge, but Crane is just too far ahead in GIR% and putting for this course.
Sergio Garcia (-115) v. Kenny Perry (-115) (Perry)
Its surprising that Sergio owns a putting advantage over anyone but Perry is actually the poorer putter in this match. In all reality, both players are lost with the putter in 2010 so Perry remains the pick to win as he is much better in hitting fairways and greens and still holds up well in tee ball length so Garcia can overwhelm him there, either.