It’s a shame that three of the top four in the world have stayed away from this week’s WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. However, that’s not as I wanted to back them, but instead because they’d take a big percentage out of the book, meaning there would be more value elsewhere.
Perennial favourite Tiger Woods, along with Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson, have such poor recent records in this event that they have always been the first to strike from the shortlist. Alas, none of the trio will be in Arizona, making an already tricky tournament to predict even tougher for punters.
This isn’t the lottery that some tipsters would have you believe, though, even if golfers can play well and lose in the first round or perform poorly but progress. Come the final, recent winners have all deserved their success, and it’s a long time since we had back-to-back triple-figure odds winners in Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Henrik Stenson (2007).
Due to the withdrawals, the Swede (20/1) is the top seed this week, but his record at Golf Club Dove Mountain is shocking, with four first round exits on his CV. Ante-post favourite Rory McIlroy (12s) has been inconsistent at the 7,791-yard, par 72 venue, and his last day 74 when odds-on to win the Dubai Desert Classic last time out suggests he is not ready yet to win an event as cut-throat as this.
With four quarters, punters are urged to pick a player from each, and, in the Bobby Jones bracket, Jason Day’s 20/1 looks a solid selection. The Australian has had a tendency to play his best golf when fresh -note his World Cup win after two months off the fairways – and after just two starts in 2014, this could be the time to catch him right, especially given his similar schedule 12 months ago helped Day to third place in this event.
Defending champion Matt Kuchar (20/1) has comparable current form to last year coming into this edition of the matchplay, an event he has finished in the top five of in each of the three previous seasons. “Kooch” has recent finishes of 7-2-4-6-8-MC and is the pick from the Gary Player bracket.
In the Ben Hogan Bracket, Harris English, who won both his Walker Cup singles matches in 2011 and is in terrific form this term, could spring a surprise at and reach the last four, he’s 66/1 to claim the title.
Bubba Watson, fresh from his Northern Trust Open success on Sunday and playing in the Sam Snead bracket this week, could easily enjoy further success at 25/1 on a track he has rewarded each-way punters at in the past.
My four to follow – Day, Kuchar, English and Watson.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.