World Golf Championships CA Championship
Date: March 11-14, 2010
Where: TPC Blue Monster at Doral Miami, FL
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
By Evergreen of Predictem.com
As spring nears, the crummy weather that the PGA players saw to start the season is in the rear view as week 10 brings the WGC-CA Championship from Miami, Florida. The top players in the Official World Rank descend upon the Blue Monster at Doral for the second WGC event of the year. Many thought Tiger would make his first appearance of the year this week but he remains on the shelf, leaving the spotlight to the defending champion, Phil Mickelson. This will be the fourth time that Doral has hosted the CA Championship and the event has been kind to the PGA chalk with Woods and Geoff Ogilvy joining Lefty as past champions. The Golf Channel has the early round coverage with NBC picking up the weekend telecasts.
The TPC at Doral is one of the most intimidating courses in terms of visual layout in the Tour rotation. The par 72 track will play at a hefty 7,266 yards for the championship and the players will have to contend with water on over half of the holes as well as the 110 bunkers. Hazards aside, the Blue Monster is pretty friendly to scoring; measuring just 39th in difficulty out of 54 courses used in 2009 and rounds like the course record of 61 are possible despite the overall length of the course. The green speeds are pretty average by Tour standards making birdies more common but the winner will have to navigate the 17th and 18th which represent two of the toughest par-4s on the course.
Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we like to contend. Well pick a short, middle and long odds player for the outright win and breakdown a few head to head matches as well. Here are our picks for the 2010 WGC-CA Championship.
Short Favorite: Steve Stricker (14 to 1 odds to win)
Aside from the early exit at the Accenture, Stricker has three top-10s in his three starts including a win at the Northern Trust. A short week at the match play and a scheduled week off should have Steve ready to make another run at the front page this week. Why he could win: Steadiness. There really isnt anything Steve isnt doing well right now. Coming into the week, Stricker ranks second on Tour in birdie average, scoring average, scrambling and the all around stat. Hes also ranks no worse than 21st in fairways and greens hit, putting average and ballstriking to post an overall stat sheet that hasnt been seen since Tiger, circa 2000. Stricker also fares well at Doral with T13 and T6 finishes in his last two CA starts.
Middle of the Road: Ian Poulter (25 to 1 odds to win)
Ian can obviously handle the WGC events as evidenced by his Accenture win and also likes the CA-Championship with a T16 and T13 in recent years. Poulters only stroke play event in the U.S. came a few weeks back in Phoenix and produced a T24 but a bit of a letdown was not a surprise given the physical and mental grind of the match play. Why he could win: Consistency. Poulter wont jump off the page at you with his stats, but he just gets the job done. Ian is 31st in total driving, 40th in greens hit and 27th in ballstriking for an overall stat sheet with no obvious weaknesses. Poulter ranks 3rd in putts per round in 2010 and his 6th best scrambling mark should come in handy at any course that demands lengthy approaches like Doral does.
Longshot: Oliver Wilson (66 to 1 odds to win)
This is about as deep as we go with our picks, but three correct picks so far in 2010 has us +35 units for the year and feeling frisky. Wilson is a little known talent outside of the true die hard golf fans, but it wont be long before youll see him hoisting a trophy. With a T5 here last year and a T5 at the match play as well; it seems Oliver likes the big stage. Why he could win: Talent. Another statement of the obvious out of this writer as I cant remember the last time an untalented player won an event in any sport, but the point is the game is there with Wilson. In limited action this year, Oliver ranks 25th in scrambling and his 66% fairways hit and 62% greens hit marks would be better if they included the stats from the Accenture. Wilson carded 12 birdies and finished T17 at the very tough Honda Classic last week so the softer course at Doral should see him in contention on Sunday.
Head to Head Matches (our pick)
*all matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite offshore book for single round matches, updated daily plus prop bets.
Jim Furyk (-115) v. Rory McIlroy (-115) (McIlroy)
Were going against our own grain here with the McIlroy pick as Furyks stat sheet is clearly better as a whole. Jim outranks Rory in fairways, greens, putting and ballstriking by sizable margins, but McIlroy has the 6th best scoring average on Tour. No matter if it is done with smoke and mirrors, its getting done right now for the youngster.
Martin Kaymer (-115) v. Zach Johnson (-115) (Johnson)
It can be tough to sort through the matches with the Euro players in the early season as they just dont have the side by side comparisons with the Americans, but Johnson fares well against anyone on Tour right now. Zach is 1st in ballstriking on the strength of top-15 ranks in both fairways and greens and also has the 4th best birdie average. Thats good enough for an endorsement this week as the uber-talented Kaymer will have some adjustments to make to Florida golf.