World Golf is in wind-down mode as we approach Christmas, and this week’s two events are a quirky 3-round affair from America and the Thailand Golf Championship.
Franklin Templeton Shootout
This isn’t most people’s idea of golf, but it’s quirky 3-round format is a great place to watch 24 decent professionals play some golfing formats that many of us play during our club-golf season. Round 1 is a 2-man Texas Scramble, round 2 is a modified alternate shot format, and round 3 a standard better-ball.
The teams are JB Holmes & Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Harris English, Zach Johnson and Patrick Rogers, Graeme McDowell and Gary Woodland, Camillo Villegas and Cameron Tringale, Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel and Hunter Mahan, Charles Howell and Rory Sabatini, Daniel Berger and Charley Hoffman, Retief Goosen and Danny Lee, Kenny Perry and Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair and Mike Weir.
Despite it’s low-profile nature, the winners have often been high-profile names, with last year’s winner Jason Day and Dustin Johnson on the role of honour in the last 5 years.
I was hoping to find some value amongst the outsiders but, as most of them seem out or form, I’ll be surprised if this isn’t won by one of the first three pairs mentioned above. JB Holmes and Patrick Reed are the 7/2 favourites but, whilst JB Holmes has twice finished second with lower-ranked partners, I’m not convinced this will get Patrick Reed’s juices flowing. Third favourites Zach Johnson and Patrick Rogers are more interesting as Johnson has mentored partner Patrick Rodgers in his debut season on the PGA; and their bond may well be a strong one. Meanwhile English and Kuchar have finished first and second in the last two renewals, and look to enjoy the challenge.
It’s a bit of fun, and I’m happy to split my stakes between Rogers/Johnson and Kuchar/ English.
1 point Kuchar and English @ 11/2 (Various)
1 point Johnson and Rogers @ 6/1 (Various)
Thailand Golf Championship
Due to his commitment to the PGA Tour, and his inability to win a major championship, Sergio Garcia knows that he’ll have to pick-up a couple of wins if he’s to be one of the top-5 ranked players in the world come the time of Ryder Cup Selection – and that’s enough motivation for me to think he’ll go very close in Thailand this week. He proved his current wellbeing with victory in Vietnam on his last appearance, and he won by 4-shots here in 2013.
2 points Sergio Garcia @ 6/1 (Paddy Power, 888)