In Form Furyk Fired Up For San Francisco
WGC-Cadillac Match Play
Masters winner Jordan Spieth heads the betting for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play in San Francisco but there are some bigger priced options that make more appeal…
The second of four annual World Golf Championship events, designed to bring the best golfers from the PGA and the European Tour together, this tournament boasts prize money to rival any of the Majors. The top 64 from the world rankings will compete in 16 four-player round-robin groups over the first three days, with the winners of each group progressing to the knock-out stages.
After five years in Arizona, the tournament has moved to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, founded in 1925 but redeveloped a decade ago and used to stage the 2005 WGC-Cadillac Championship and the 2009 Presidents Cup. Surrounded by water on three sides, it’s a relatively flat, tree-lined course, with generous fairways, forgiving rough and greens that can be on the slow side.
In The Bunker
Rory McIlroy has only finished outside the top eleven once in six outings this year and as world number one, goes into this event as top seed, but I’m still not tempted to back him at short odds. I’m not convinced that the particular demands of match-play golf suit him and although he did finish second in this tournament three years ago, he has finished outside the top sixteen in three of his last four visits. He’s landed in a relatively tough first round group and doesn’t appeal much at 10/1.
Veteran Jim Furyk is available at 28/1 and looks an excellent bet at that price.
He has a handful of top ten finishes to his name in this event and goes into it having returned to form in spectacular fashion at Harbour Town last time out.
He’s played this course twice before, which could give him an advantage, and he’s also been given a winnable group, featuring Martin Kaymer and Thongchai Jaidee, who are both out of sorts.
At his best, Ian Poulter is a match-play banker, and although he had been enduring a slump in recent months, he ended that in fine style in the Masters, hitting consecutive rounds of 67 to finish sixth; his best ever result at Augusta. Like Furyk, he’s played this course before, and will fancy his chances of emerging victorious from a relatively weak section. At 33/1 he offers excellent value this week.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Paul Casey, who finished tied with Poulter at the Masters, a result that equalled his previous best at Augusta. He’s playing this tournament for the first time since 2011, but its worth noting that between 2007 and 2010 he bagged four consecutive top ten finishes, including three top-fives. I fancy him to get the better of the top seed in his group, Adam Scott, who has struggled in this event for a number of years and at 33/1, he looks a good bet.