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Money going towards KJ Choi for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational

| 04.08.2010

The WGC Bridgestone Invitational, which starts on Thursday, will mark the last time all of golf’s big name stars wield their clubs on the same course before the US PGA later this month.

As such, the Ohio event can be used as a good indicator for who should do well at the year’s final major at Whistling Straights.

Tiger Woods is, as usual, the favourite, and given he has won this event seven times in the last 11 years the 4/1 price attached to the world number one could be seen as generous.

However, without a victory since his return from a self-imposed exile, 14-time major winner Woods’ position at the top of the charts is at risk from two names also competing at the Firestone Country Club.

Phil Mickelson, the current number two, will overtake Woods if he takes home the trophy for the second time in his career – a 12/1 chance. Mickelson is 5/6 to shoot a lower round than playing partner Rory McIlroy, who is 20/1 to win the whole thing.

If world number three Lee Westwood is to reach the rankings summit, he needs a victory and for Woods not to come runner up. Indeed, that outcome has generated a lot of interest from backers, with the Englishman’s odds coming in to 12/1 from 14/1.

Having finished in second place for two of the year’s three majors so far, Westwood has shown his quality but nagging doubts remain over his ability to complete the job.

A somewhat less likely name receiving large bets is South Korean KJ Choi, who has moved from 80/1 to 50/1 ahead of the opening tee-off, which is 1.30pm UK time.

The 40-year-old impressed at last month’s Scandinavian Masters, going into the final day with the lead before crumbling to end up in 13th spot.

Choi, a Texas resident, has won nearly everywhere during his 17-title career, though, and is always a resilient player. He is 10/11 to out-score his opening round playing partner Boo Weekley.

Overall, the Europeans are getting the lion share of the bets after their dominant display over the Americans at The Open Championship last month.

Are these Euro wagers tinged with patriotism ahead of October’s Ryder Cup? Europe were moved to 8/15 to beat the USA after a big bet on them was placed a fortnight ago.



Richard Anderson