The Transitions Championship
Course: Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) Palm Harbor, FL
Dates: March 1720, 2011
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
The PGAs Florida Swing continues this as the players move to Palm Harbor to face the difficult Copperhead Course for the 2011 Transitions Championship. Jim Furyk bested the field last year and is back to defend his title against a solid field that includes last weeks winner Nick Watney and Worlds number one Martin Kaymer. Watch the early rounds on The Golf Channel as you tip a green beer and check out NBC picks for the weekend telecasts, with the Sunday finish also marking the first day of spring.
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook is considered the toughest of courses that the PGA visits in Florida and presents the players with a far different set of challenges than a Doral. The course measures 7,340 yards at par-71 and ranked as the 13th most difficult in 2010 play. Players will be forced to make strategic tee shots to open up good looks at the greens and must avoid 70+ bunkers along the way. Water is in play on nine holes and the finishing three holes are among the toughest final three at any course in the PGA rotation. Previous winners here have all been good shotmakers with the irons and good with the short game, especially around the greens.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight a few players that we think have the goods to win. We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a few head to head matches that you can find at any golf sportsbook. Odds for the 2011 Transitions Championship were found on the board at Bodog Sportsbook.
Short Favorite: Nick Watney (11 to 1 odds to win)
There is not much more to say about a player that in five starts has not finished worse than 9th and is coming off a win against the strongest field in golf. If you do need more, Watney is first in the all around stat category and is top-3 in birdie, scoring and putting averages to go along with a strong tee to green game. There really isnt any player that can boast a better start to this or really any season recently, so feel good in betting him anywhere you can, at least until he finishes outside the top-10.
Middle of the Road: Bubba Watson (28 to 1 odds to win)
The longest driver on Tour this year has also been hitting enough fairways to be 10th in the total driving category and comes into the week ranked 1st in greens in regulation. That has been good enough for the 4th best birdie average and has produced a win at the Farmers and a 4th at the Accenture Match Play. Watson was 3rd here last year proving that you can contend at Innisbrook with the longball and if he can limit his mistakes, hell be right back near the top this week.
Longshot: Charley Hoffman (80 to 1 odds to win)
After missing three of eight cuts with just two top-25 (T24, T25) finishes, Charley is the definition of a longshot heading in. Still, Hoffman is managing the 11th best birdie average and has the 7th most birdies total in 2011 play, so there is reason to like his chances. Charley is plenty long to handle this course and his putting has been good enough, ranking 34th entering the week, so his chances to win likely are tied to keeping bad shots in play and eliminating the big mistake. There is no real way to predict if or when he will do that, but the value is there this week along with a course that demands it so its a sink or swim week for Charley.
Head to Head Matches *matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite online bookie for single round matches and prop bets.
Jim Furyk (-115) v. Justin Rose (-115) (Rose)
Furyk is returning to the course that kicked off his return to form in 2010 but is again looking to get a hold of his game. Fuyrk is outside the top-100 in putting, scoring and ballstriking and is at too much of statistical disadvantage Rose at this point. Justin isnt tearing it up, but he is hitting a good amount of greens, just not converting a lot of opportunities.
K.J. Choi (-120) v. Bill Haas (-110) (Haas)
The bookmakers have Choi the favorite based on his 2-time champions status but the stats just dont back it up. Choi has struggled in the early parts of the season and ranks outside the top-25 in most scoring stats while Haas is strong across the board and currently in the top-5 in GIR% and ballstriking. Previous champs are always dangerous but Haas is a good bet against just about anyone and wouldnt be a bad pick to win this event outright.