GOLF guru Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) delivers his expert betting verdict on the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Arnold Palmer Invitational | Thursday-Sunday | Sky Sports
The Florida Swing continues this week as we head into Disney country at the magnificent Bay Hill Country Club.
Bay Hill is situated in Windermere, not too far from the theme parks of Orlando. A classical Florida track of some 7,419 yards playing par-72. This should be a very difficult course to play.
Fairways have been widened over the last few years but rough is penal and water is very much in play on eight holes. The Bermuda Grass Green complexes are fairly large but well protected. This year they have taken a lot of rough away from around those greens and that means you will see a lot of balls rolling into bunkers and hazards.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational does not quite have the same standing as The Memorial (Jack's tournament) but it’s still a tournament that has generally been won by the greats of the game.
Now with all that, it should be difficult but a glance at recent scores makes that look a fairly silly view. Matt Every, the champion in 2014 and 2015 won with scores of -19 and -13; Tiger also triumphed with -13 in 2013.
Having soaked up 28mm of rain in the last few days, we could be looking at something close to last year’s winning score.
A quick word about the aforementioned double champion – Every went off at 66/1 on his first win two years ago. Astonishingly, he started at 300/1 when retaining his title last year. You can still back him at 100/1 this time round.
When looking at what appears to be a shoot-out with players firing at pins, it is often wise to turn to the hottest putter. Without a doubt, that is Adam Scott right now. Second, first and first is an incredible run of form and he rightly goes off at odds of 8/1. It is incredibly difficult to not tip him this week.
In all honesty, I am finding it very hard to see past the top-two in the betting. I can’t tip both and so the only logical reason I have for opposing Scott with another short price is simply that players just don’t win three tournaments on the spin – they just don’t. Do they?
No, my money is going on a player I have consistently sniped at – Rory McIlroy has to be my NAP this week. I can hear most of you now screaming that you cannot back a player at 6/1 (Betway).
I am with you but this has all the makings of a classic Rory win. Soft greens, low scoring and for the first time in forever, the Northern Irishman has a hot putter.
You can excuse McIlroy surrendering a four-shot lead a fortnight ago at Doral. He went off with a very defensive attitude, which is understandable with that kind of lead and just could not switch up when the situation demanded. But how impressive was his putting on the first three days?
A change of grip worked wonders and I think he carries it through here to regain top spot in the world rankings. He also has two wins on Bermuda Grass, which is a big advantage. Some players positively hate it.
Paul Casey loves Bermuda Grass. Seventh at Doral two weeks ago was an awesome performance whilst top-three finishes at Riviera and PGA National in 2015 read very well when looking at Bay Hill.
Casey may not have won on the PGA Tour since 2009 but he has been agonisingly close a number of times and at odds of 51/1 (Netbet), is an absolute must back this week.
I have already mentioned the triple digit odds for Matt Every – another I cannot quite understand is Morgan Hoffman. Fourth on debut here makes quotes of 200/1 look very generous. William McGirt at 80/1 is another that looks seriously overpriced and Kevin Na should go well but 40/1 is way too short, although he has some very nice form here.
Scott Brown really caught my eye last week with a seventh at the Valspar. That followed up a 10th at the Honda Classic and this guy is in the form of his life putting wise. Three top-10s from his last five starts on Bermuda Grass is another stat that stands out and 125/1 with SkyBet is a very viable each-way play.
Ryan Moore has form figures of 11-missed cut-10-3 in his recent starts and I know more than one of you were on him last week for a place. Moore has a fourth-placed finish here from 2012 and is clearly in good nick right now.
I think Moore’s worth a play at 35/1 (Boylesports), as I cannot see him being too far away on Sunday. I like Moore. He is accurate with the driver and the essential for this week, a hot putter.
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Rory McIlroy to win (6/1 Betway)
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Paul Casey to win (51/1 each-way Netbet)
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Scott Brown to win (125/1 each-way SkyBet)
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Ryan Moore to win (35/1 each-way Boylesports)
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