Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 09:08 29/01/2014
It's that time again for the most boisterous golf fans in the world to put down their pints and leave the pubs and attend their local golf event at TPC Scottsdale, and then down another twenty pints! Usually golf fans are fairly restrained spectators, but this event is seriously rowdy, and the Par 3 16th is where all the action takes place, miss the green and you will be booed, caddies will also be booed if they don't partake in the now infamous caddie races, where the caddies run to the green, and the caddie who loses is fed to the crocs. Ok, they are booed again. Anyway you get a flavour of this event, players have to embrace this gladiatorial atmosphere to prosper.
The course itself measures 7316 yards, and offers up plenty of birdies to the players. Most of the players will be able to reach the Par 5s in two, and aggression on the Par 4s will play dividends to accurate iron players. It also helps to be a bomber of the tee, as accuracy of the tee is not an attribute that is needed this week, and players will need to go low with the flat stick as Mickelson's winning score of -28 last year underlines.
I would advise that bets are kept to a minimum this week as it will be a player who burns up the course this week who will win, and in all honesty I feel I could put up a general short list of about twenty. Having said that, there are a few players that appeal more as a slightly betting proposition than others.
Ryan Palmer landed a nice E/W touch for us a couple of weeks back, and I am inclined to tip him again for a big week. There are similarities with how he played to record a second place at the Humana event and what is needed here this week. He's not the straightest with the driver, but he is a fearless, aggressive competitor and when on song can go very low. He has been 2nd here in 2006, and was 5th last year, and has been in good form for some time now.
Ryan Moore has to be on everyone's short list for this type of event. He's regularly playing well and has the type of personality to use the crowd to his advantage. Another guy who can shoot low, and last year he shot four rounds in the 60s to come fourth; every chance of another place or better this time.
For my last pick, I have chosen Brendan Steele, who has not really played to a great level recently, but has a fine record here with a tied 5th and 6th place to his name. At juicy odds he may give us a good run for our money.
Other notables taking part are defending champion Phil Mickelson; who could go very well, but he has back problems and were severe enough last week tocause him to pull out of Farmers event, and Bubba Watson who if able to put his whole game together could easily win here. I would just like to see a little more evidence his game is getting back to his best, especially the putting.
Ryan Palmer 35/1 E/W Betfred
Ryan Moore 28/1 E/W Coral
Brendan Steele 66/1 E/W Boylesports