The Transitions Championship Preview and Picks
Date: March 18 21, 2010
Where: Innisbrook (Copperhead Course) Tampa, FL
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen of Predictem.com
The golf world is buzzing with the news that Tiger is making his 2010 debut at the Masters but the rest of the Tour is also eyeing the years first Major, either busy with prepping their games or simply trying to make the field. Those who are not currently exempt to the Masters have just two weeks left to get inside the top-50 to earn an invite and some have to win to punch their ticket. The Transitions Championship is on the schedule this week and while some top players choose to skip this stop, the field is very deep and includes the majority of the best from both the PGA and EPGA Tours.
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook in Tampa, Florida is the tournament host and will challenge the players with one of the most demanding par-71 layouts in the Tour rotation. The 7,340 yard track offers up birdie opportunities with four par-5s but also features five par-3s which can erase under-par scores if the players arent having a good round of ballstriking. Copperhead ranked 9th most difficult in 2009 and scores of 8-under and 4-under have won the last two years. Holes 15 through 18 contain four of the top-10 most difficult holes on the entire course, including two of the hardest par-3s so a falter on Sunday could leave the door open to anyone in the final five groups or so.
Each week, we take a look around the boards at the online sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we like to contend for the win. Well give you a short, middle and long odds pick to win it all and breakdown a few head to head matches that you can typically find online as well. For the year we are +32 units on our picks to win after correctly tabbing Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson and Camilo Villegas prior to their respective victories. Here are our picks for the 2010 Transitions Championship.
Short Favorite: Steve Stricker (12 to 1 odds to win)
Until Tiger comes back and proves he can win as often as he used to, Stricker will likely occupy the favorite spot on the board and is a good pick this week based on his overall consistency and control. Steve logged a T16 last week at the CA-Championship which was his worst finish in a stroke play event this year and his solid overall game makes him a good pick on the tougher courses. On the year, Stricker ranks 29th in fairways and 44th in greens for the 15th best ballstriking mark and his 7th best putts per round number is probably the best stat to lean on this week. Steve is also in the top-5 in scoring and birdie average and is currently 12th in par-3 performance which will be an advantage this week.
Middle of the Road: Sean OHair (28 to 1 odds to win)
OHair has had a very good but quiet 2010 season with no missed cuts in six starts and his T18 at last weeks CA was punctuated by a final round 66. Sean is the 2008 champion at Innisbrook when the event was called the PODS Championship so he can obviously get it done at Copperhead. OHair isnt flashy but is consistent on the stat sheet, ranking 24th in total driving and is in the top-40 in driving distance at 290 yards plus on average. He is just about average in hitting the fairways, but finishes off holes well and saves pars with a 9th best scrambling stat. His 97th best putting average is nothing to get excited about, but Sean has proved to be a clutch putter, ranking 3rd in putts in the 5 to 15 foot range.
Longshot: D.J. Trahan (66 to 1 odds to win)
Having a bit of early season success has allowed us to look a bit deeper on the board for the true longshots but Trahan has a killer stat sheet for someone so far down the board. D.J. is currently 12th in ballstriking which is ideal on a tough track and his top-15 marks in greens hit and scoring average should have him in the 40 to 1 range at least. Trahan also ranks 22nd in total driving and the rest of his sheet is good enough to have him at 20th in the all around heading into this week. Since missing the cut in his first start D.J. is five for his next five weekends with four top-17 finishes. The value is here with Trahan as only 11 players have a better scoring average currently youll likely find 25-30 players ahead of him at the books.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *matches are for entire event. Check out your favorite offshore bookie for single round matches and prop bets.
Retief Goosen (-115) v. Geoff Ogilvy (-115) (Ogilvy)
Its a little hard to pick against the defending champion, but its not like Ogilvy is just anyone and hes got it where it counts when it comes to head to heads. Geoff has the better numbers in the key categories this week, hitting more greens and making more putts in 2010 play. If Ogilvy has a good week of driving, he is a good pick against anyone as the 161st rank in fairways is his only stat sheet wart. Goosen is really solid across the board but Ill take Ogilvys 4.5 birdies per round against the 3.3 of Goose.
Stewart Cink (-115) v. Sergio Garcia (-115) (Cink)
Nothing personal against Sergio, but his putting woes seem never ending and while Cink is not a putting machine, an 87th ranked flatstick is better than one ranked 155. With both players similar in fairways hit, Cink takes another big edge in greens, ranking 11th on Tour to Garcias 74th. Those two stats explain why Cink is 46th in birdies per 18 and Sergio is currently 140th.
To get a full list of odds for this tournament check out our Odds to Win page