World Cup of Golf Betting Preview

Adam Scott (Courtesy: Hone Morihana)

Adam Scott (Courtesy: Hone Morihana)

Adam Scott leads a decent 60-man field at Royal Melbourne, as the Masters champion looks to win his third consecutive tournament at the 2013 World Cup of Golf.

2013 World Cup of Golf Fact Sheet

  • Course: Royal Melbourne Golf Club
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Yardage: 6,643 yards, par 71
  • Defending Champion: Matt Kuchar/Gary Woodland (Mission Hills)
  • Five Consensus Individual Favourites: Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson
  • Five Consensus Team Favourites: Australia, USA, Ireland, Italy and Sweden

TV Schedule

  • Wednesday – 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Thursday – 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM ET (Golf Channel)

Key Storyline(s) This Week

Scott going for his third consecutive win, and second in a row at Royal Melbourne, is what most people will be focusing on this week and in a field like this, you shouldn’t be surprised if he pulls it off, even though winning three times in a row is almost unheard of these days.

Jason Day will be playing with a heavy heart this week, as we heard that Day’s family was affected by the typhoon that hit the Philippines. According to the Herald Sun, Day’s grandmother, an uncle and six cousins are among those that have been pronounced dead in the disaster. Day released a statement a few days ago:

“I am deeply saddened to confirm that multiple members of my family lost their lives as the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. My family and I are thankful for all who have reached out with their prayers and concern. We feel devastated for all who have been affected by this horrific tragedy. While I understand the media’s interest in this matter and hope that any coverage can spread awareness to assist with the relief efforts that continue in the Phillipines, I hope that all will respect my family’s privacy during this difficult time. I will have no further public comments at this time. Please pray for all who have suffered loss. Thank you.”

The last thing to keep an eye on is the format of the event, which has both a team and individual portion. From the official website:

Beginning in 2013, the competition becomes primarily an individual event with a team component. The 60-player field will be selected based on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) with up to two players per country allowed to qualify (four per country if they are with in the top 15 of the OWGR). The format will return to 72 holes of stroke play, with the individuals competing for $7 million of the $8 million total purse. OWGR points will be awarded for the first time. The top two-ranked players from each country will compete for the team portion, using combined stroke play scores. The individual portion is similar to what will be used at the 2016 Summer Olympics, except that England, Scotland, and Wales will have teams instead of a single Great Britain team in the Olympics.

NOTE: In addition to the individual stroke play competition, a team competition will occur. The highest two ranked players on the OWGR from a given country will automatically compete concurrently in the team competition (via aggregate score), with any additional players from that country who are ranked lower only eligible for the individual competition. Players from countries with only one player will play only in the individual competition.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club

Quite simply, we’re looking at one of the best golf courses in the world. Consistently ranked inside the top-10 courses to play worldwide, Royal Melbourne was the design of Alister MacKenzie, with some people thinking that this layout is his finest ever. Considering that MacKenzie also worked on Augusta National, Cypress Point and Pasatiempo among others, you can see that people really love Royal Melbourne. What makes it so good?

There’s some thought that the wide fairways and big greens make the course play easier, but it provides tons of options for the players from the tee, things that MacKenzie took from the design of the Old Course. From a course review by iseekgolf.com:

Mackenzie’s ideals were based upon the genius of The Old Course at St Andrews where the golfer had a multitude of options to consider before both club and shot could be correctly selected. He abhorred the use of long grass as a means of punishing the wayward and it seems he enjoyed confusing the golfer as he confronted them with the golfing equivalent of a multiple choice exam.

It is a great design that has stood the test of time, and it favours those who have seen it several times thanks to all of the subtle nuances that the course provides. For the best information on the course, check out the post at Golf Club Atlas.

Thoughts On The Favourites

Individuals:

  • Adam Scott (3-1): Two wins in a row at the Australian PGA and last week at the Talisker Masters, which was held at Royal Melbourne. He loves the course and is the best player in the field, not to mention the hottest player in the game not named Stenson.
  • Matt Kuchar (7-1): Finished as the runner-up to Scott in his first appearance at Royal Melbourne, a week after getting into the top-10 at the McGladrey. Averaged the least amount of putts of anyone in the field last week.
  • Jason Day (9-1): Missed the cut in his lone professional appearance at Royal Melbourne back in 2005, and went 1-3-1 at the 2011 Presidents Cup. He hasn’t played in about two months since the Tour Championship, and talent wise, he stands out in this field, but with everything that’s happened to his family over the last few days, it’s really tough to predict anything.
  • Graeme McDowell (16-1): McDowell comes in with some good form, getting into the top-20 in his last two tournaments, but Royal Melbourne has given him trouble over the years, although it came when he was admittedly a much worse player than he is now. In six rounds at the course, he’s been sub-70 just one time.
  • Victor Dubuisson (25-1): If it wasn’t for the runs that Scott and Stenson were on, Dubuisson would probably be getting a little more attention. After winning his first professional event in Turkey two weeks ago, he was in the final group with Stenson in Dubai last week before ending up in solo third. I think he could be in for some trouble though, as the first time through at a course like Royal Melbourne doesn’t usually provide the best of results.

Teams:

  • Australia (2.75-1 – Adam Scott/Jason Day): The two most talented players in the field also happen to know the course better than anyone.
  • USA (8-1 – Matt Kuchar/Kevin Streelman): Have a feeling that Kuchar will have to carry this team here. Streelman hasn’t had a top-10 finish since the PLAYERS Championship back in May.
  • Ireland (12-1 – Graeme McDowell/Shane Lowry): I’ve always liked both McDowell and Lowry, but the one bad round that Lowry is bound to have scares me a bit from a team perspective.
  • Italy (15-1 – Francesco Molinari/Matteo Manassero): The relatively short course by today’s standards leads me to believe that these guys could be the ones to watch.
  • Sweden (15-1 – Peter Hanson/Jonas Blixt): After a tough season, Hanson’s consistency appears to be returning and Blixt is one of the best putters in the game, but he hasn’t played the course to date in his career.

Suggested Plays

Individual

Matt Kuchar (Best Odds 8-1 at Coral)

Usually I don’t like taking anyone at less than 10-1, but I really feel strong about Kuchar this week. After seeing the course for the first time last week, he finished as the runner-up to Scott and he’s the type of player who thinks his way around most layouts, which is paramount here. I think he gets it done for his third win of 2013.

Graeme McDowell (Best Odds 17-1 at Bet Victor)

He’s playing really well right now and much like Kuchar, he’s a very smart player on the course who doesn’t make too many mistakes. I’m not too concerned about his prior course form, mostly because it was so long ago.

Matteo Manassero (Best Odds 51-1 at Stan James)

The results haven’t been there for Manassero in the last few weeks, but he hasn’t been worse than even par in each of his last 16 rounds. He hasn’t played the course before, but like I said above, his game is pretty well suited for it and with a less than stellar field, I like him at this kind of price.

Ryo Ishikawa (Best Odds 51-1 at Ladbrokes)

Ishikawa’s one of the streakiest players in the game, and he’s coming off of a runner-up finish in Japan at the Taiheiyo Masters, so you could be getting him on the upswing again here. I said above that Scott and Day are probably the two most talented guys in the field, but Ishikawa might be third on that list, so I’ll take him and hope for good things.

Stephen Gallacher (Best Odds 81-1 at Stan James)

Going on course form here with Gallacher, as he hasn’t really done much of note since the Portugal Masters in early October. In four previous appearances, Gallacher has put together two top-five finishes, and only three of his sixteen rounds have been over par.

Team

Italy (Best Odds 15-1 at Stan James)

I just like the fact that both of these guys are steady and shouldn’t make too many mistakes out there. Ultimately, it’s really difficult to think that anyone outside of Day and Scott come away with the team portion, but at a price of less than 3-1, there’s nothing there. These guys will hang around and challenge.

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