Previewing The Masters

Masters

The week all golf fans have been waiting for is here, The Masters. Played at the majestic Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC), The Masters is the biggest golf tournament on the planet. Making it more special is the fact that golfers have to be invited.  Golfers strive to find a…..

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Sucks to Suck

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By: Michael J Roza Jr

*Yawn.* *Stretch.* Hey sport fans. Sorry for the hiatus. There have been several great disappointments that have happened since you last read my words. The Falcons completed a historically epic second half meltdown to lose to The Evil Empire. Alabama lost the big game on a pick play……

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2016 United States Open Preview

UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 21:  Jordan Spieth of the United States poses with the trophy for photographers after winning the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 21, 2015 in University Place, Washington.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The United States Open at Oakmont Country Club. If you’re not familiar with golf, Oakmont may mean nothing to you. As an avid golfer, it strikes fear into me and I have never played the course. Oakmont will once again prove to be the toughest test in all of golf. The 2007 United States Open was played at Oakmont and winner Angel Cabrera finished at FIVE OVER PAR. Compare that to the last two United States Opens where in 2014 at Pinehurst, Martin Kaymer won at nine under par and last year at Chambers Bay, Jordan Spieth won at five under par. When you see Oakmont on TV you will see no water and barely any trees. What you will see is rough that swallows golf balls and greens that are slicker than ice. We can’t forget about the 210 bunkers. They are placed perfectly in the areas where players will be trying to land their tee shots. To win here you have to hit fairways often and make clutch putts. One errant tee shot could be disastrous. But it is the United States Open. Seeing the best golfers in the world struggle is fun to watch. Here are my top five players for this week. There are some big names yes, that’s because to me there are only about 20 guys of the 156 that have a realistic chance of winning.

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  1. Jordan Spieth- Defending United States Open Champion is one of the best putters in the world. After his collapse at the Masters, many thought it would take him a long time to rebound. It took only 3 weeks, where he won the Dean and Deluca Invitational. I can’t stress enough how tough these greens will be. Spieth will have a chance to pick up some strokes on the field with his putting alone.
  2. Hideki Matsuyama- To win the United States Open you have to be an excellent ball striker. Matsuyama is just that. When looking at players that could excel on a tough course I simply look at their track record in Major Championships. Matsuyama has quietly made 10 of his last 11 cuts in Majors. If his putter can get hot this week he could win this thing.
  3. Jason Day- Day has made 13 straight cuts at Major Championships and 3 straight United States Open top 10s. He has already won three times this year, one of which was the Players Championship. Day is a complete package. He is long, straight and can putt. The World #1 should be in contention on the weekend.
  4. Dustin Johnson- Johnson is getting the reputation that he can’t close out the big one. In the past, Johnson has been leading or in contention in Major Championships but always finds a way not to win, like last year 3 putting the 72nd hole to lose by 1 shot to Jordan Spieth. In my eyes to be in those situations you have to be playing good golf. He has won 9 times on the PGA Tour so winning isn’t something he is scared of. He will eventually finish it off and win a Major Championship.  Johnson is in great form right now heading into this tough course.
  5. Rory McIlroy- McIlroy is as gifted as it comes in golf. He can hit any shot in any situation. He is only 27 and has 20 professional wins, including 4 Major Championships. Big time players come through on big stages. The United States Open is one of those stages.

Bubble Guys- Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott and Justin Rose

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The PLAYERS Championship Picks

The PGA Tour returns to a familiar spot, TPC Sawgrass, for the 2016 PLAYERS Championship. Deemed the “5th Major”, this tournament hosts arguably the toughest field in all of golf. Most recognize this tournament by the famous 17th island green pictured above. This daunting hole ranges from 120-140 yards each day and humbles the games best as they try to avoid disaster. Let’s move into our picks for this week’s fantastic event.

  1. Rory McIlroy– McIlroy began his career with three straight missed cuts at this event. His last three….all top 10s. He is also on a tear this year with three straight top 10 finishes. This tournament demands precise shots on holes 16,17 and 18 on Sunday to win. Although he is a 4-time Major Champion, McIlroy has also crumbled on Sundays under pressure. He will use his success and failures on Sundays to win this week.
    Betting Odds: +800 (Bovada)rory
  2. Hideki Matsuyama– Every week I look at the field and chose who I think can win and every week no matter the course Matsuyama is an option. Besides his WD at the Honda Classic he has recorded top 25 finishes in six of his last seven events including a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He is 2/2 at TPC Sawgrass with two top 25 finishes. He is also a tee to green monster. He ranks 5th on tour in strokes gained tee to green, 3rd in birdie average, 6th in scoring average, 16th in ball striking etc….I can keep going if I wanted too. Get familiar with his name because he is becoming one of the most consistent golfers in the world.
    Betting Odds: +2500
  3. Sergio Garcia– Garcia has had major success at this tournament. He has missed the cut only twice in sixteen tries and has recorded six top 10 finishes including a win in the 2008 edition. He is also the all-time money leader at this event. Garcia always seems to have his name near the top of the leaderboard at this event.
    Betting Odds: +3000
  4. Henrik Stenson– Another player with great success here. Has missed the cut twice in ten attempts. Has recorded four top 10s and won the event in 2009. He stumbled last week missing the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship but before that posted six straight top 30 finishes. Currently is ranked 2nd on tour in ball striking, 3rd in total driving, 8th in birdie average, 4th in stroked gained tee to green and 8th in greens in regulation percentage. All areas needed to thrive here at TPC Sawgrass.
    Betting Odds: +2800
  5. Rickie Fowler- Fowler embarrassed me when I chose him to win the Masters. He missed the cut in ugly fashion. With that being said, I can’t ignore the way he has been playing this year. In twelve events this year he has posted nine top 25 finishes and six top 10s. I could talk all about his stats but only one category really matters with him, he is ranked 1st on tour in all around ranking meaning he is good at everything.  I expect the defending champion to be in contention on the weekend.
    Betting odds: +1800

Bubble Guys:

Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Jason Day and Chris Kirk.

Guys with great odds to win:

  • Kevin Na- +6600
  • Martin Kaymer- +9000
  • Bill Haas- +9000
  • Jim Furyk- +12500
  • John Senden- +15000
  • KJ Choi- +22500
  • Martin Laird- +22500

One and Done Pick: Rory McIlroy 

 

 

Previewing The Masters

It is finally here…..the Masters. In its 80th edition, the Masters is the biggest tournament in the world. Year in and year out Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC) hosts the best golfers in the world. This year is no different. Two of the biggest names in golf are not playing however, Tiger Woods and Fred Couples, both injured.

There is no doubt that the years of a clear favorite are over. Although some have shown dominance, no golfer has been the clear favorite in every tournament they played in like Tiger Woods did during his prime. This week anyone can win. The betting favorite right now is Jason Day at +650 (Bovada.com). He currently is ranked #1 in the world and has won his last two tournaments.

The Masters is the toughest tournament to pick a winner. Obviously I would pick Spieth, Day and McIlroy this week but that’s not fun. Here is my top 5 not named Spieth, Day or McIlroy:

1. Rickie Fowler- Everyone is all over the big three of Day, Spieth and McIlroy. What about Fowler? Fowler is a gamer plain and simple. In 2014 Fowler finished 5th or better in all four majors. Talks began that he couldn’t win the big one. Fowler answered the following year by winning the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. At ANGC Fowler has made the cut every time and has posted a T12 and T5 in his last two tries.

Betting odds- +1600

Rickie-Fowler

2. Bubba Watson- Watson has been hit or miss here at ANGC but he has won twice (2012, 2014). This course sets up great for a player who shapes it right to left on the tee. Watson does that great. Not to mention he is ranked high in a variety a categories that will help his chance of winning on this course: driving distance (4th), greens in regulation (1st), stroked gained tee to green (1st) and strokes gained total (4th) (pgatour.com). I’ll go with his current trend of winning the Green Jacket on even years.

Betting odds- +1000

3. Hideki Matsuyama- In his last eleven majors he has only missed the cut once. Shot a Sunday 66 last year to finish 5th. Matsuyama has also posted a solid year so far posting a top 25 finish in six of nine starts including a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Lots of pressure on him to become the first golfer from Japan to win a major.

Betting odds- +3500

4. Justin Rose- Rose has never missed a cut at ANGC in ten tries and has finished top 25 or better in eight of them. Finished with a career best T2 here last year. It may get windy this week. I love players from across the pond when the weather turns. I expect a good week for Rose.

Betting odds- +2500

5. Phil Mickelson- Mickelson is trying to join elite company. If he wins he will join only Tiger Woods (4), Arnold Palmer (4) and Jack Nicklaus (6) as players who have won the Masters four or more times. This is Mickelson’s 24th Masters. Along with his three wins he has had great success at ANGC posting eleven top 5 finishes. I could see the 45 year old Mickelson with his knowledge and success on this course making some noise come Sunday.

Betting Odds- +1600

Bubble Guys:
Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed

Guys with great odds to win:
Sergio Garcia- +6600
Paul Casey-+7000
Ryan Moore- +12500
Bill Haas-+12500
Lee Westwood- +17500

One and Done Pick: Rickie Fowler

2016 Valspar Championship Preview

We’re at the midway point of the “Florida Swing” and just a month away from the Masters. So far, this golf season has seen some big time names winning making it somewhat easy to pick winners each week. I take part in a fantasy golf league. Each week I chose five golfers who I think have a chance to win. So far I’ve picked 7 out of 9 tournament winners. They are as follows:

Hyundai Tournament of Champions- Jordan Spieth- 8 Shot Victory- Betting odds +525
Career Builder Challenge- Jason Dufner- 1 Shot Victory- Betting odds +3952
Farmers Insurance Open- Brandt Snedeker- 1 Shot Victory- Betting odds +1586
Waste Management Phoenix Open- Hideki Matsuyama- 1 Shot Victory- 1st career PGA win- Betting odds +2450
Northern Trust Open- Bubba Watson- 1 Shot Victory- Betting odds +2649
Honda Classic- Adam Scott- 1 Shot Victory- Betting odds +1600
World Golf Championship- Adam Scott- 1 Shot Victory- Betting odds +1200

As you can see big time names have been winning. The biggest win for me was Jason Dufner where a $100 bet would have cashed in $3952. Let’s see if we can keep it rolling this week.

2016 Valspar Championship Preview
Where: Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor, FL
When: March 10-13
Course: Copperhead- Par 71-7,340 yards

This week I have picked some notable names and some dark horses for my Top 5 Players.

1. Henrik Stenson- Stenson is currently ranked 7th in the world. Last year Stenson made his debut in this event and posted a 4th place finish. He was only 1 shot out of making the playoff. Stenson has been playing good as of late with three top six finishes in his last four starts.
Current Odds- +1400HenrikStenson

2. Jordan Spieth- Winning back to back years is tough for any player to do. Spieth playing uncharacteristically poor right now is troublesome but he is ranked #1 in the world for a reason. I see Spieth gaining back his form this week as he looks to defend his Green Jacket at the Masters in a month.
Current Odds- +550

3. Harris English- English is currently ranked 70th in the world and has recorded top 10 finishes in two of his last three starts. He also has recorded top 10 finishes here in two of the last three years. Last year he closed out with a final round Sunday score of 65 which was the lowest score of the tournament.
Current Odds- +3500

4. Ryan Moore- Moore is currently ranked 61st in the world. Had the 54 hole lead last year before shooting a 1 over 72 on Sunday and finishing 5th. Moore has posted four top 12 finishes in six starts this year including a T10 last week. I really like Moore and his odds this week.
Current Odds- +4500

5. Patrick Reed- Reed was a combined +15 in his last two events. He is due for solid week of golf. Why not in the place where he lost in the playoff last year.
Current Odds- +2500

Here are some players who almost made the list:
-Daniel Willitt
-Jason Dufner
-Charl Schwartzel
-Kevin Na
-Graeme McDowell
-Jason Kokrak

All sports betters love the big pay day a long shot could bring in. Here is a list of longshots I like this week:

1. Hunter Mahan- Mahan was ranked as high as 4th in the world in 2012. Since then has dropped to 87 with only one win since 2012. He has been playing poor this year but has the tools to turn it around. Odds are really good for a guy of his caliber.
Odds to win- +12500
Odds for top 10 finish- +1000

2. Troy Merritt- Before his T11 at the Northern Trust Open he missed four straight cuts. In fact, out of nine tournament this year he has missed the cut six times. The other three? How about a T21, T18 and T11. He is hit or miss but with his 6th place finish here last year I’m hoping he is a hit. Currently World Number 112.
Odds to win- +15000
Odds for top 10 finish-+1200

3. Sung Kang- Here is a name not many have heard before. In his first 6 starts this year he missed three cuts and his best finish was T39 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. At Pebble Beach veteran caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan, former caddie for Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk’s current caddie (Injury), took over the bag for Kang. Since that switch Kang has T17, T8 and T10. Kang is under the radar and coming in HOT. 188th in the World.
Odds to win- +8000
Odds for top 10 finish-+700

4. Cameron Tringale- Currently ranked 84th in the world. Started the year hot but has missed three of the last four cuts. He does own a solid track record here with last three starts being 3rd, T25 and T17.
Odds to win-+12500
Odds for top 10 finish-+1000

5. Ian Poulter- Currently ranked 64th in the world. Poulter is one of the guys on tour that plays a lot in Europe. His play has been good in Europe been iffy in the USA. He finished T24 here last year despite some altercations with some fans on the course. I say he will have a chip on his shoulder this week and could be on the first page of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Odds to win-+11000
Odds for top 10 finish-+800

My one and done pick: Henrik Stenson (+1400)