GOLF guru Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) has been in spectacular form already in 2016. Can he pocket us another winner when the WGC Cadillac Championship rolls around this week?
WGC Cadillac Championship | Thursday-Sunday | Sky Sports
You get the feeling that the 2016 season is just about to start for real – we’re just five weeks from Augusta and the big boys are coming out to play.
The first World Golf Championship event of the season has a field of 67 elite golfers and, unusually, no halfway cut.
Trump National at Doral (yes THAT Trump) is one of the very few difficult courses on the PGA Tour. A par-72 of some 7,528 yards, this place lives up to the nickname of ‘The Blue Monster’.
Greens are relatively soft but any wind over 10mph and this course becomes extremely difficult to break par on. The 14 water hazards will penalise a fair few players this week but miss the fairways on the wrong side and you may as well be in the hazard at a number of holes.
A complete redesign was finished in time for the 2014 event, won by Patrick Reed – his score of -4 is about what you would expect this time round.
Looking back at recent results, there is one standout and that is length off the tee. 2015 is best proof of that – the top three in driving for the week were Dustin Johnson, JB Holmes (who really should have won) and Bubba Watson.
That last name was possibly the first to catch my eye when looking at the early betting. Despite finishes of second and third on the redesigned course, Bubba is very vocal in his dislike of the new track.
Then again Bubba moans about quite a lot; a very difficult guy to like in many ways. He moans more than your average Arsenal fan – it will finish me off if I ever find out Bubba is a Gooner.
I tweeted a shortlist of 10 on Tuesday night but as is often the case, I have changed a couple of those at the last moment. My Monday night’s are spent researching and number-crunching but in the end, gut feeling is the decider.
The form of Adam Scott makes him very difficult to ignore this week. I really did not see him ever winning again with the short putter. But wow, how wrong can you be?
Two weeks ago, I watched him putt better he ever has since his Major win. There is no way he can do that again, I said to myself. No way, as Rickie Fowler led at halfway. So sorry to anyone that feels differently, but I need to see more before putting any money down on Scott.
Can you back Dustin Johnson? I can honestly see him winning again. He went off at 22/1 last year and he is more than capable of retaining his title but he looks broken since Chambers Bay and, as with Scott, I cannot risk my cash until he proves he’s over yet another blown Major.
Rory is once again the favourite. He went off at 13/2 market leader last week and I backed him to miss the cut. Both he and Jordan Spieth are capable of bouncing back to form at any moment and embarrassing critics like me.
If there were a cut here, I would again be looking at Rory missing it. His putting is an absolute mess at the moment whilst Jordan is not in any kind of form either, so I would advise a watching brief with him.
My first selection has let me down a few times but I cannot shake the belief that Justin Rose is going to win very soon. The fact that he is available at 25/1 with Bet365, twice the price of DJ and Bubba, makes him a standout value pick this week.
The 2012 Doral champion went round this course yesterday in 62. He is now in the Tour top-20 for driving distances and has all the tools to get the job done. How many times have I written that same line about Rose? I am going to keep faith for the moment.
The change in my shortlist is to Henrik Stenson. Another 25/1 (Bet365) pick that can really contend come Sunday. The Big Swede has started 2016 in nice form with finishes of third and sixth on the Desert Swing.
The advantage Stenson has here is with one club, the 3-wood which Stenson uses repeatedly. As long a driver with this club, as half the field are with an actual driver, the extra accuracy gives him a distinct advantage on some very tight fairways.
The Swede’s last win was at the back end of 2014 but a string of runner-ups, knee surgery and a huge improvement with the short stick are reasons to be very positive about his chances this week.
Louis Oosthuiezen is a name you may have seen on my Twitter feed recently. He won easily in Perth last week and over the weekend I advised that 66/1 quotes for Augusta were incredibly generous if he was showing any kind of form.
That price disappeared on Sunday and is now 40/1 and 33/1 in places. If Louis is fit after all his back issues (another thing me and my namesake share) then he’s a danger to anyone.
I think we can get a run out of him this week. Quotes of 6/5 for a Top 20 finish are about right; 33/1 in most places is a little short but I am happy to take a punt at the 40/1 with Betfred
My big price picks this week feature Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Marc Leishman and Smylie Kaufman. However, I cannot give you logical, sensible, fact based write-ups about any of them so I am leaving them out for the purposes of this piece.
The honour of last pick will go to Brandt Snedeker. The 50/1 on offer with Skybet is just way too tempting.
I’m sure most of you out there are Snedeker fans – he’s hard not to like. A few of you followed my in-play Twitter tip a few weeks back when he came through the field in the fourth round to take the title from a country mile back.
Sneds can hit it miles and generally putts very well. Seventeenth round here last year is decent form and he has played so much better in 2016.
WGC Cadillac Championship – Justin Rose each-way (25/1 Bet365)
WGC Cadillac Championship – Henrik Stenson each-way (25/1 Bet365)
WGC Cadillac Championship – Louis Oosthuiezen each-way (40/1 Betfred)
WGC Cadillac Championship – Brandt Snedeker each-way (50/1 Skybet)
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