Exchange Corner: We’re not climbing aboard McIlroy bandwagon

The bookmakers were initially keen to push out the price on Rory McIlroy winning back-to-back US PGA titles yesterday but as soon as the money started pouring in they started to get a little twitchy.

The world number one has been bullish about claims at Whistling Straits, despite enduring a prolonged absence owing to an ankle injury sustained during a kick-about.

And that may have convinced a few to throw their weight behind him but not us.

Jordan Spieth (8.6) is the clear favorite at the Exchange, and why shouldn’t he be?

All the guy has done this year is win two majors and come within a shot of winning another, and heading into this week he’s been full of talking points about “proving people wrong” and “exacting revenge” (seriously… said this with a straight face) after the near-miss at St. Andrews.

And we finally get a chance to see golf’s two best players on the same stage again, as McIlroy will be teeing it up for the first time since injuring his ankle in early July.

Rory finished third at Whistling Straits back in 2010 and if you think he has some magic up his sleeve this week you can jump aboard at 14.0.

But as we’ve alluded to already we think he’s a good-looking “Lay” option at 14.5.

The guy couldn’t play any golf at all for a few weeks and based on a picture he shared of his ankle after a practice round a few days ago I think it’s pretty safe to say that he’s not yet 100% healthy.

If he were to win this week it would be a near-miracle, and I feel strongly that his odds are far too short.

Here are three guys whose price we like a little more:


Recommendations to BACK (odds in parenthesis)

Rickie Fowler (22.0) – We’re of the belief that as we sit here today, in early August 2015, Fowler is right up there on that Spieth/DJ/Rory level and should be considered a favourite anytime he tees it up.

We saw some “experts” recently saying that Fowler’s had an “up and down” year, using as proof his missed cut at Chambers Bay and the fact that he didn’t contend at St. Andrews.

That is, quite simply, an idiotic way of looking at things.

First of all, Fowler played pretty well at St. Andrews, shooting 6-under and finishing 30th.

And he just so happened to win the Scottish Open the week before, a victory that came just eight weeks after he won The Players Championship. He’s playing some great golf at the moment, too, finishing 10th at the Bridgestone last week and second in the Quicken Loans National the week prior.

This guy should be considered a favorite along with the Spieths and McIlroys of the world, yet his odds are significantly longer. That’s what we call value, friends.

Patrick Reed (72.0) – Reed is flying under the radar a bit because he hasn’t contended in quite a while, notching zero top-10s in his last 13 starts.

That doesn’t mean he’s playing poorly, though, and indeed he’s not– in addition to finishing 15th at last week’s Bridgestone Invitational, Reed put together solid performances at the Open, where he finished 20th, and the U.S. Open, where he placed 14th. In other words, there’s nothing at all wrong with Reed’s golf game; he’s actually put together a stretch that many pros would deem very successful.

We believe he has a bit loftier goals in mind, though, (just ask him, he’ll tell you) and a win this week would be career-changing.

Reed seems plenty comfortable in the bright lights so we don’t think he’s going to wilt under pressure if he finds himself in contention, and he seems to rise to the occasion in the bigger events, finishing in the top-25 in all three majors he’s played this year, as well as all three WGC events and The Players Championship.

At better than 70/1, Reed is definitely worth a bet this week.

Bill Haas (190.0) – Haas is in the midst of a slump, right? I mean, that’s the popular narrative and it’s why you probably didn’t bat an eye when you saw his astronomically long odds this week, right?

Well, golf is a funny game in that sometimes you “get it back” as quickly as you lose it, and that may be what we’re seeing with Bill Haas right now.

Three weeks ago he appeared totally lost, having missed three straight cuts and finding himself on the wrong side of par in six of seven competitive rounds at one point. And then, the light must’ve come on.

Over the last two weeks Haas has played some great golf, finishing fourth at the Quicken Loans National and 25th at last week’s Bridgestone – a performance that would’ve been much better had it not been for a poor opening round.

Haas has now broken par in seven of his last eight competitive rounds and seems to be back on the right path.

Whistling Straits is a ball-strikers course and Haas is one of the best in the world outside 150 yards, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he were to contend this week.

If you’re looking for a longshot with a legitimate chance to win, look no further.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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