The Bob Hope Classic
Dates: January 19th23rd, 2011
Course: PGA West (Palmer and Nicklaus) Silver Rock La Quinta, La Quinta, CA
TV: The Golf Channel
by Evergreen, Professional Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
No one likes to leave Hawaii, but its time for the PGA to return to the mainland and California welcomes professionals and amateurs alike this week for the Bob Hope Classic. The Hope is a very unique tournament in the yearly schedule that includes five days of play on four different courses, tremendously low scores and, of course, the shenanigans of the crowd-loving celebrity participants.
Bill Haas solved the Hope riddle last year and returns to defend his crown against a strong field. The Tours premier players often skip this event and all the chaos that goes along with it, but several players seem to flourish in the casual atmosphere and watch for potential record breaking scores given the amount of rainfall that California has seen through the winter.
The courses, and especially the order in which players draw them, could have a say in the eventual champion, but every player knows that five rounds in the 60s are necessary to win and shooting a round in the low 60s may only be good enough for third or fourth best of the day.
No matter which track you talk about, they all play relatively easy by Tour standards with the Palmer and Nicklaus ranking as two of the easiest on Tour in scoring average with the Palmer Course responsible for David Duvals 59. Silver Rock plays the longest of the four at 7,578 yards and La Quinta can draw its Hope roots all the way back to 1964. All courses play at par-72 and aside from Silver Rock; play very short by PGA standards.
Each week, we take a look at the boards at the online sportsbooks and highlight the players that we think have a chance to win the tournament. We give you a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a few head to head matches that youd find at any golf sportsbook. Here are our picks for the 2011 Bob Hope Classic.
Short Favorite: Tim Clark (14 to 1 odds to win)
Clark is coming off a nice start in Hawaii with T17 and T2 finishes there and has a nice run going with T5 and T2 finishes in his last two Hope starts. Tim finished 2010 as one of the best off the tee, hitting the fourth most fairways while finishing 35th in putting average. Hell surely find the ample fairways this week and his modest driving distance will not hurt him on these courses.
Middle of the Road: Jeff Overton (28 to 1 odds to win)
Jeff has to be looking for a breakout year after impressing many in his Ryder Cup campaign and got off to a fair start with a T20 at last weeks Sony. Overton has not had too much success at the Hope with only one top-20 finish in his handful of starts, but the game he flashed at the end of 2010 makes him a good candidate to make a run here. Jeff is one of the longer players on Tour but also has a nice touch with the putter, ranking 26th in putting average and solid up and down the stat sheet on the way to a top-25 rank in the all around. Plus, the Hope has a way of being kind to the journeyman recently with D.J. Trahan, Charley Hoffman and Pat Perez all notching wins recently.
Longshot: Bo Van Pelt (33 to 1 odds to win)
BVP has a great resume to win this week but one stat jumps out more than most: birdies. Van Pelt finished 2010 with the third most birdies overall on the way to the 9th best scoring average. Bo also is among the best off the tee, ranking in the top-20 in total driving and follows that with a solid 37th rank in greens hit. Van Pelt was back early after missing the weekend at the Sony but has some mojo after a T5 at the 2009 Hope.
Head to Head Matches (our pick to win) *all matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite online sportsbook for single round matches and prop bets.
Chad Campbell (-115) v. Stewart Cink (-115) (Campbell)
It can be hard to pick matches at the Hope with all the extra circulars going on but it seems that Campbell is the type that does well here and also hit more greens and putted better than Cink did in 2010. Cink is due for a bounce back year, but it wont likely start this week.
Charles Howell III (-115) v. David Toms (-115) (Howell III)
Howell is clearly the longer player of the two and hits more greens despite playing from the rough on more occasions than the accurate Toms. The bomb and gouge theory can definitely contend and win at the Hope and that should play out in this match as well.