Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods head the betting at 10/1 for the first World Golf Championship tournament of the year, the Accenture Match Play Championship, staged at Dove Mountain Arizona for a fifth successive season.
The world numbers one and two are scheduled to meet in the final on Sunday but, with McIlroy coming off a missed cut in Doha on his last outing and Woods yet to make it beyond round two since the event moved to its current home, they are both worth taking on.
The vagaries of 18-hole matchplay can also make it difficult for the cream to rise to the top. On any given day the world number 64 can beat the world number one, and although it’s fun to try and work out which players have potentially the easier draw, there is a huge element of luck involved in this most difficult of tournaments to predict. Because of that though, there are some fancy prices to be had about some classy performers.
Charl Schwartzel rewarded each-way backers last week in the Northern Trust Open by finishing just one stroke outside of the play-off. He now has form figures of 5-3-1-1-2-3 coming into this tournament. Don’t let poor event form put you off – he had none last week either – and it’s worth pointing out that all four of his losses have gone to at least the 18th hole. As the third seed in the Jones Bracket, he’ll take on rookie Russell Henley in the first round which should see him progress. Schwartzel is 20/1 to triumph overall.
On the other side of the draw, last year’s champion Hunter Mahan looks worth siding with at 25/1. The American played only 79 holes to reach final 12 months ago, the third fewest in tournament history, and he warmed up nicely with eighth place at Riviera Country Club on Sunday.
My two to back – Schwartzel and Mahan.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.