World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship
Dates: March 10th13th, 2011
Course: TPC Blue Monster at Doral Miami, FL
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, PGA Handicapper, Predictem.com
The PGAs first Major is still a month away, but check out this weeks WGC-Cadillac Championship if you want to see the strongest field that will take the course this year. All of the current Official World Golf Rankings top fifty players are in attendance this week for the WGC event at The Blue Monster at Doral, including Tiger Woods. Woods and Phil Mickelson are paired together for the first two rounds and will be among the prime challengers trying to prevent Ernie Els from defending his 2010 title. The field is also very top heavy with EPGA stars like Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, making for a great event for just every fan of the game. The Golf Channel airs the early rounds with NBC picking up the weekend finish.
The TPC Blue Monster is reaching a milestone as this week marks the 50th PGA Tour event hosted here. The 7,266 yard, par-72 course looks like a lot of courses in Florida with a sea of bunkers and plenty of chances to hit the ball in the drink but Doral will give up good scores and possibly very low scores like the course record of 61. Tiger and Ernie have had a grip on this event with the duo winning eight of the twelve championships but neither looks to be a favorite this week. Given the talent assembled, it really is anyones tournament to win and dont be surprised to see a relative unknown breakthrough and steal a win while everyone is watching the big names.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight a few players that we think can win it all. We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that youd likely find at any golf sportsbook. Here are our picks for the 2011 WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Short Favorite: Luke Donald (25 to 1 odds to win)
Donald proved he can take down the best in the world in a match play setting by winning the Accenture and his T10 at last weeks Honda shows hes on a good run. Luke has a good enough game across the board to contend just about anywhere, but his 7th best putts per round average means hes making the most his opportunities, and you have to like that when youre facing a strong field. Donald has started the year hitting 65% of his fairways so you dont expect him to be in too much trouble and his 3rd best scoring average doesnt look too bad either.
Middle of the Road: Charl Schwartzel (28 to 1 odds to win)
Schwartzel plays a full Euro schedule, so hes still relatively unknown to most American golf fans, but he should make a splash very soon with a win in the U.S. Charl has two top-20 finishes in his two PGA starts in 2011 and was runner up here in 2010. In just eleven starts last year, he racked up six top-25s, a stat made more impressive considering seven of those eleven starts came in Major or WGC events where the field strength is as strong as it gets. Schwartzel doesnt have enough rounds in to qualify in many stat categories, but he is a strong iron player who hits a lot of greens and his GIR putting average is under 1.7 which would put him among the best on Tour in that regard.
Longshot: Jason Day (66 to 1 odds to win)
Jason is among a group of up and coming players that are relatively fearless and have no issues playing with and against the best in the world. Day finished 2010 strong by three top-10 finishes in the fall schedule and has kept that going with a pair of T9 finishes already this year. Jason has a great combo of length and accuracy off the tee, ranking 4th in total driving and his overall game is good enough for 8th in the all around and 20th in ball striking. If have the length, you can play at Doral, if you have the accuracy to go with, you can win at Doral. Day has both and he wont be intimidated by his pairing or a high scoring pace.
Head to Head Matches (our pick to win) *all matches are for entire event. Check the offshore sportsbooks daily for updated single round matches and prop bets.
Nick Watney (-115) v. Paul Casey (-115) (Watney)
It can be tough picking a match where the players are so close in terms of talent but considering the venue, Watney looks to be the better play. While Casey finds more fairways, Watney still finds more greens and in the absence of truly difficult rough, take the player that is more accurate into the greens. Watney is also the better putter on average which means a better birdie average overall and more par saves.
Steve Stricker (-115) v. Dustin Johnson (-115) (Johnson)
Another tough one to call, but for very different reasons. It is no secret that these two players are polar opposites in terms of how they attack the course but with the exception of Johnsons advantage off the tee, they are very similar on the stat sheet. Like the match above, Johnson hits far fewer fairways but is still hitting the same amount of greens and Doral is a place where you can succeed with the bomb and gouge style. The tipping point is Dustins Tour best birdie average, which youd be hard pressed to bet against in any match.