Quicken Loans National Predictions
Dates: June 26-29, 2014
Course: Congressional Country Club Bethesda, MD
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
Much to the delight of folks that profit from good TV ratings, Tiger Woods will make his return to competition this week at the Quicken Loans National. Woods has charitable ties to this event, making for a happy return from that angle and he tees it up as the two-time champion at Congressional. Much of the news will focus on how he plays in his return from back surgery and it will take a dynamic performance out of some player to steal the attention away from Tiger this week.
Woods having his name attached to the event provides a heavy draw and a strong field is in attendance to take on one of the best courses in America. A strong U.S. contingent of players is featured alongside Tiger with Jordan Spieth and Keegan Bradley among the favorites. Bill Haas is back to defend his 2013 title and you can catch all the action on The Golf Channel with CBS bringing home the weekend.
Congressional has been associated with the PGA Tour for decades but has hosted the Quicken Loans, formerly AT&T, since just 2007. Aronomink stepped in as host for 2010 and 2011 as Congressional prepped for the 2011 U.S. Open, eventually won by Rory McIlroy. The renovations changed the layout of the Blue Course at Congressional but the playability and difficulty has remained throughout. The par-71 course stretches to nearly 7,600 yards and features a 523 yard par-4 finisher. Trees routinely line the fairways to require solid tee placement and the natural rolling terrain creates interesting lies throughout. The greens arent overly difficult to hit but provide tough putting challenges and the winning score should hover in the high single digit or low double digits under par.
The online betting sites have installed their favorites so lets take a look at the players that I will be betting on this week.
Jason Day (12 to 1 odds to win)
The Accenture Match Play winner looks to be fully healed from the thumb issue that bothered him during the spring after a T4 at the U.S. Open and solid T18 last week. Day has not missed a cut in seven starts this season and has been fantastic at limiting his mistakes, netting what would be the best scoring average on Tour if he had the rounds to qualify his sub-70 stroke average. His 300+ yard average drive will help on this massive course and he is at 65% for both fairways and greens hit so he has whole tee to green package working. The putter has been just OK at best this season so imagine what he can do if he gets hot on the greens. I think he is worth a manageable bet this week as he will win a stroke play event at some point this year.
Gary Woodland (40 to 1)
Im making a big jump down the odds sheet here but I think Woodland is a great match for Congressional and he certainly brings some big potential value. Gary has missed one cut in sixteen starts this season and that came back in October at the wraparound opener. He has two straight finishes in the fifties but had not been worse than 26thsince February. Woodland is 15thin driving distance, 31stin greens hit and brings the 20thbest birdie average into the week. The putter has been the only thing holding him back from better finishes but he has all the ballstriking stats to handle Congressional and he can still make noise with an average putting performance in what looks to be a medium scoring pace. If you dont like him to make a push to the top, he should still be a good bet in head to heads against most anyone in his class and should carry good prop bet value for a T20 or better finish.
Charley Hoffman (50 to 1)
Charley broke my heart last week at the Travelers as I tabbed him on a prop bet to finish 25thor better and he came in T26. Im not holding a grudge and I think Hoffman is worth another look and has a very high ceiling this week. Hoffman has made ten straight cuts with just one trunk slam all year and all those rounds have led to the 3rdhighest birdie total on Tour. Charley is 23rdin driving distance, 7thin greens hit, 22ndin ballstriking and 4thin birdies per round. He hasnt found a way to totally eliminate the mistakes that creep into his round here and there, making a win difficult but the talent is there to breakout. I will be making a small bet on him to win and looking hard at the finish props again.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on total score after four rounds. Check with your favorite online sportsbook for single round matches and all those prop bets.
Jason Dufner (-110) v. Webb Simpson (-110) (my pick to win: Dufner)
A quick look at the stat sheets here reveals no one category where either player has a distinct advantage. Dufner hits a few more greens and Simpson is a little longer off the tee but all in all, you probably couldnt make a case for either as a statistical favorite. A gut pick is in order then and I like Dufner as he is the better ballstriker, especially when he is on. He is actually one of the best on Tour when he gets going so this is a bet that he has a good week in general and should be a good head to head play against most anyone at course like Congressional.
Keegan Bradley (-110) v. Brandt Snedeker (-110) (Bradley)
Snedeker is playing some the best golf of his season but he hasnt done much to prove his overall game is in good enough shape to be dependable week after week yet. If there is any lingering bad habit that has led to his poor ballstriking so far, it will be exposed at this course. Bradley is meaningfully longer off tee and is close enough to Brandt in the putting stats to keep him a solid bet to win this match.
Good luck and good golf!