The Greenbrier Betting Preview

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Having taken a few weeks off from his most recent U.S. Open collapse, Phil Mickelson makes his third consecutive appearance at The Old White TPC for the 2013 Greenbrier Classic.
 
2013 Greenbrier Fact Sheet

  • Course: The Old White TPC
  • Location: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
  • Yardage: 7,274 yards, par 70
  • Defending Champion: Ted Potter Jr.
  • Five Consensus Favourites: Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Bill Haas and Graham DeLaet

TV Schedule:

  • Thursday – 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 3:00 PM ET to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)
  • Sunday –  1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 3:00 PM ET to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)

Key Storyline This Week
 
It was a big deal last year when Jim Justice, tournament chairman and owner of the Greenbrier, reportedly paid $2.5 million in apperance fees for Tiger Woods ($1.5 million) and Mickelson ($1 million). Technically, this isn’t allowed on the PGA Tour, which has led to situations where the European Tour, which does allow appearance fees, to get bigger names to appear at their events. Justice did it under the table and got burned when his two marquee attractions both missed the cut. Now, we don’t know if Mickelson got the appearance fee again to show up, but he is the focus regardless this week because without Woods in the field this year, he is the headliner. The PGA Tour really wants to see him contend this week, or frankly, any of the five guys above because the last thing they want is a repeat of last year when Ted Potter Jr. defeated Troy Kelly in a playoff.
 
The Old White TPC
 
The Old White is one of the newer courses on the PGA Tour schedule, but it isn’t a new track, having been designed 100 years ago by the legendary C.B. MacDonald. There isn’t much to the course, with massive fairways that are pretty easy to hit, but the greens can be a nuisance, making up for the lack of difficulty from the tees. Stuart Appleby famously won the inaugural Greenbrier Classic back in 2010 with a final round 59, becoming only the fifth player in PGA Tour history to record the number, so low scores are definitely out there if you can find the fairway. The course is a bit of an oddity in that both par-5’s appear on the back nine, and the finale is a relatively short par-3, playing to a maximum of 175 yards. Always hate the ending of a course on a par-3.
 
Thoughts On The Favourites

  • Phil Mickelson: Lefty’s last four tournaments include two runner-ups, a third and a missed cut, which is pretty common for him when you look back at his career, and I’m a little surprised that he hasn’t had more success on the course considering how open it is. He’s picked up a pair of missed cuts in his two appearances, never breaking par in his four rounds played.
  • Bubba Watson: Is Bubba ready to break out from his season long funk? His fourth place finish at the Travelers a couple of weeks ago was the first top-10 he’s posted in six months, and he probably should have won the tournament if it wasn’t for a miscommunication with his caddie on the last few holes. It’s his first appearance on the course though, so always keep that in mind when considering a bet.
  • Webb Simpson: Much like Watson, Simpson finished well at the Travelers, but it’s been an inconsistent season for him, as he’s followed up good finishes with bad ones all year. Still though, he’s coming to a place of comfort at the Greenbrier, with two top-10’s in three tries.
  • Bill Haas: Picking a player to finish well the week after a win is always a risky proposition, and that’s what we’re looking at right now with Haas. He was solid all week at Congressional, finishing with a final round 66 that was probably his best round of the year. He was the runner-up here two years ago, losing to Scott Stallings in a playoff, but I’ll be looking elsewhere this week.
  • Graham DeLaet: I’ve been saying for weeks that DeLaet was going to win a tournament this year, and he’s been really close for the last month or so. With the streak he’s been on, he’ll be part of my suggested plays.

Suggested Plays
 
Graham DeLaet (Best Odds 29-1 at BETDAQ)
As mentioned above, DeLaet is close to breaking through, and the oddsmakers are realizing this, listing him inside the top-5 for a tournament on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career. His big issue is still the putter, but until he gets off of this hot streak (five consecutive top-25’s, with three top-10’s), he needs to be considered a threat. Finished tied for 12th here last year in his second time at the Greenbrier.
 
Jordan Spieth (Best Odds 40-1 at bet365)
The 19-year old Spieth is making waves on the PGA Tour faster than expected, putting himself in a position to win going into a weekend for the second time in the last month at Congressional. His third round 74 derailed those chances, but his game is in a good place right now. With a lesser quality field, his talent makes him a steal at 40-1, and it’s definitely possible that he follows the trend of players winning their first PGA Tour events at the Greenbrier.
 
Brendon de Jonge (Best Odds 55-1 at 888 Sport)
de Jonge’s trademark consistency has been absent this year, with just three top-10 finishes in 22 events this season, and none coming since the Heritage over two months ago. He didn’t have the best finish here last year, but he does have a solo third and a T-4 in his first two trips, so an each-way bet at these numbers seems like a solid play.
 
Jimmy Walker (Best Odds 61-1 at Betfair)
Walker’s run has cooled significantly since the start of the season, but when he’s going well, he’s got the exact game that wins here. His lack of accuracy isn’t as painful here since the fairways are so wide, and he drives the ball as far as anyone, plus he’s a good putter. It probably explains why he’s finished tied for fourth here twice.
 
Peter Hanson (Best Odds 66-1 at BETDAQ)
Hanson only has one top-10 in stroke play events on the PGA Tour this year, which is incredibly shocking to me given his skill set. I’m taking the Spieth approach here and finding some value with an immensely talented individual, the only difference being that Hanson is one of the best putters in the world. First appearance at the course is happening this week, but I’m not too concerned about that. I think he grabs that second top-10 this week, and maybe more.
 
David Hearn (Best Odds 94-1 at Betfair)
Hearn has a pair of top-20’s in his two appearances at the Greenbrier, and he’s had a decent run of form in the last few weeks. He doesn’t hit the ball a ton, but he’s usually solid with fairways and greens. I like him as my dartboard pick this week.

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