Like the Patriots in NFL odds, you can’t talk about the top contender without mentioning Tiger. A pessimist will say he hasn’t been himself lately, “only” finishing second in his last two tournaments and struggling with short putts. An optimist will call the pessimists crazy and point out that Tiger has five wins in 2009 and a win at the Deutsche Bank in 2006. Believe it or not, I’m closer to the pessimist side. Don’t get me wrong – I think Tiger will be just fine and will crack the top 10 this week – but, to me, Tiger offers so little value at the sportsbook that you should only bet him when he’s a slam dunk.
Even though Tiger should win it, don’t be surprised if Steve Stricker steals player of the year honors. The plucky Stricker has two wins and five top-five finishes this season and almost always contends if the course isn’t too long – and the TPC of Boston isn’t. Thanks to his good ball striking, course management and putting, he’s a safe bet to contend…though he’s still prone to mistakes on Sundays in bigger tournaments, as he showed on 18 at the Barclays.
I’ve led the charge of Harrington bashers this season – 2009 will go down as a year to forget for him – but Paddy is turning his game around. Despite his much-publicized meltdowns in recent tournaments, he still has three straight top-10s, including two second-place finishes. He doesn’t come without risk but think of him like you would a horse at an online racebook who is running faster than the other contenders entering the big race.
Alarm! Alarm! Many betting services will recommend Vijay like crazy this week. He’s a two-time winner of this tournament and owns both the course record and the aggregate score record. However, as kind as the Deutsche Bank has been to Vijay in the past, he’s playing terrible golf right now. He was the defending champ at the Barclays, last week’s event, and followed up the win with a missed cut.
Pick: Padraig Harrington