(all lines courtesy Ladbrokes.com, the Official Bookmaker of NoLayingUp.com)
Horses for Courses
Rory and Westwood One are great fantasy plays this week. Their odds to win are terrible, but they both love this course, and have a history of success here. Westwood was T4 and T5 the last two years, while Rory won the event in 2010, lost in a playoff in 2012, and finished T10 a year ago in an otherwise awful year. However, you can only get 14/1 on your money for both of them. Play away in fantasy, but the odds aren’t good enough to suggest a bet on any of these guys. Concerning Mickelson, I’d be lying if I said NLU isn’t concerned about him. If he’s going to bounce back this would be the place to start – Phil has four top 10’s in the last five years, including three top 5’s. However, at this point a Phil play this week simply isn’t advisable.
Jim Furyk (25/1) – Top 26 here in each of his last four starts. Does he have the firepower to win?
Rickie Fowler (33/1) – With his history here, I expected him to be closer to 20/1. He won the event in 2012, and finished T16 and T5 the two previous years. He’s coming off an MC at the Zurich, but finished T5 at the Masters, and 6th the week before that in Houston.
Ryan Moore (40/1) – Loves this track. T6 last year, and T5 in 2012. His form has not been great lately, but this course sets up well for him.
Jamie Donaldson (50/1) – Really underrated player T14 in the Masters, and a T2 performance at Doral are his noteworthy performances in the states this year, and he’s also got eight top 15’s in his last fourteen starts worldwide.
J.B. Holmes (50/1) – Hunching on this one. Decent track record here with a top 10 back in 2011, but this pick is MUCH about form. Holmes is in a good place again with his health and you can tell he’s gaining momentum. Played well at Bay Hill, Houston, Hilton Head and New Orleans, not finishing worse than 18th. I’m buying on Holmes over the next two months.
Pat Perez (66/1) – YES PLEASE. Scorched the place during the first two rounds in 2011 w/ 67-65 but faded on Sunday. T32 here LY. Last tournament round was final round 64 at Hilton Head, a round that featured 9 (!!!) birdies on a windy day. DubP’s game is tight right now, we just need him to stick around for all four rounds.
Robert Karlsson (80/1) – Holy value! The Charlotte resident finished T4 here a year ago, and hasn’t finished worse than T14 in any of his three starts on the PGA Tour this year. He comes in at 5th on the PGAtour.com power rankings this week, and is the definition of a value flier. Clip your coupon here and buy that ticket!
Kyle Stanley (150/1) – I’m doing it! T6 here a year ago, and was in great position at the Zurich by mid afternoon Saturday before he let it slip on Saturday and Sunday. It was right around this time last year that KFS busted out of a season long slump to finish 3rd at the Zurich, T6 at the Wells Fargo, and 3rd at the Memorial. I’m like Skip Bayless with Tim Tebow: I can’t quit KFS. The flatstick has to get hot at some point, right? Right????
- Early reports are that the greens are in fantastic shape this week, and last year’s disaster will be avoided. I’ve seen the word “perfect” used in more place than one. For more details, check out this on course report from Stephen Britt.
- Charlotte resident Webb Simpson has been quietly awful in 2014, with his last finish in the top 45 (excluding the match play) taking place at the Farmers three months ago. He started the season so hot that we’re left to wonder if something isn’t physically wrong with The Whitest Man in America. He’s widely regarded as one of the most consistent players on tour, so this is something that we should be keeping an eye on.
- If you see smoke coming out of the top and sides of this preview, it’s us fuming over Brooks Koepka not getting a sponsor’s invite this week. He Monday qualified for the Zurich last week, and earned enough FedEx Cup points to lock up special temporary membership to the PGA Tour for the rest of the year, meaning he can accept as many sponsor’s invites as he wants. Ben Kohles, who did nab a sponsor invite, played here last year and shot 78-74 (had his tour card LY and didn’t do much with it). We’re struggling to see how he got a spot over Koepka. Varner III and Gore received other exemption spots, which we don’t have much of a beef with.
- With Pinehurst No. 2 so close (2 hrs. East), you have to wonder if FIGJAM and his buddies snuck out for a couple practice rounds in advance of the US Open…
- I can’t figure out why Gary Woodland hasn’t done well on this track. It would seem to set up for him well with his mammoth length. He’s been in the lab since his hilarious final round at Augusta.
- In that same vein, one would think Bill Haas (Member, FDIC) will win here one of these years. He’s long, he putts well, and this is his hometown event. He plays here every year and has a couple of 4th place finishes to his name, but the last two years he’s been awful. Bill needs to know that it’s his fiduciary responsibility to capture this title.
- Shouts out to Fielding Brewbaker for Monday qualifying into this event. No idea who he is – just in awe of his name. Hopefully he has a frat weave to match his name!
- My home course growing up switched it’s greens from Bent to Bermuda last year. I got a chance to play it a few months ago and I was beyond confused. Aside from slope being removed from the greens (the Bermuda gets stupid-fast in the summer, to the point where the old slopes would’ve been outrageous), the new greens look identical from the fairway. However, the different grass completely altered the way I played the entire course. I’d imagine that Quail Hollow members are about to get similarly mind-f***ed when they try their new greens out.