UA-33754892-1 Archives for 07 August 2011 | Jason Kelly Golf

Jason Kelly Golf

Golf Betting Tips

The USPGA Championship

My selections last week finished 6th Zach Johnson @ 50/1, 9th David Toms @ 90/1, 14th Steve Striker @ 18/1 and 23rd Nick Watney @ 25/1. It is not bad tipping but we lose all of our investment, all 9 points. Our 2011 tally is now +161.96 points or £1619.60 to a £10 stake.

This week, quite incredibly, is the final Major of the year. Where has this year gone? The USPGA is played at Atlanta Athletic Club. I have studied this event for a week now and have to say I feel fairly confident in my picks. This week is going to be a real test. It is brutally long at 7463 yards and is a par 70. In 2001 David Toms won here with a tournament scoring record of -15 (265). This score is misleading. Heavy rain made the greens soft and slow and made this score attainable. At the start of the week nearly all the players thought level par would easily win but then conditions changed. 15 under will definitely not win this year.

The temperatures are going to be hot all week with rain forecast on on Friday morning and risk of a storm on Saturday. Rain will not affect the course like it did 10 years ago. It has undergone an extensive redesign and changes of grass. The greens have changed from bent grass (which got very stressed in the mid summer heat in Atlanta) and has been replaced with Champion Bermuda which likes the hot temperatures. This means they can get the greens firmer and faster than before as they have no fear of losing the greens. The greens are expected to exceed 12 on the stimp meter. The rough has been replaced with Tifton 10 Bermuda which is thick and long but lets the ball fall to the bottom of it. It never sits up and means if you miss a fairway you have very limited control. It also has a blueish look to it which frames the new Diamond Zoysia grass fairways beautifully. This grass allows the fairways to get above 9 on the stimp meter!

So what does all this mean? It means we need to find a fairway finder first and foremost. You cannot get away with driving it badly here. Initially you look at the length of the course and think it suits a long player, especially with six par 4’s over 460 yards but I do not think it is essential. With the fairways running fast I rate accuracy over power. I think a high ball flight is a big help. These greens are going to get very firm and if you are a short hitter playing long par 4’s you will need to launch those irons to stop them. Even the best ball strikers make mistakes and there is no let up so scrambling, experience and patience are all going to play their part.

I like Westwood, Scott, Day, Watney, Striker, Kuchar, Mahan, Zach Johnson, Toms and Simpson.

Westwood has finished in the top fifteen in every event dating back to the Masters except the British Open. He has the main weapons to win here. Possibly the best driver of the golf ball and perhaps the best iron player too. He played very solid golf last week at Firestone last week, closing with an impressive 65 to finish 9th. He felt he found his putting late on and said he only missed three fairways the whole week. My fear is he putted well on the flat Firestone greens. Next week he is going to face some scary putts. 14/1 is a win only price and I can’t fancy him enough to justify a lumpy win only bet. Adam Scoot is the same. He was awesome last week. Only 4 bogies, 15th in fairways and 9th in greens. He is 9th in total driving on the US Tour this year. It sounds like the perfect profile. However, a closer look at Scott shows he is 134th in putting. He seemed to enjoy the lenient, flatish greens too. If he was 40/1 he would definitely be a bet but to go for back to back wins with a suspect putter and a poor major record makes 22/1 too short.

Striker has the right sort of game for this and is a very generous price for a player in his form. Two wins in the last 5 weeks and not finished outside the top 20 since March. He is solid. He is the best at playing par 4’s on the US Tour which bodes well, he is also the best putter, makes the most birdies per round as well as the least bogies. Going with him is very very tempting. The only thing that puts me off is his record on tough courses. He is a player who is very good at going low. His wins have come with scores of -14, -18, -16, -17, -20, -17, -16, -26, -16, -22. Despite his stats he is not really a grinder. I would not put you off backing him, he is due a major, but for me I cannot find room in my staking plan for him.

Matt Kuchar is one who plays hard courses well. I would be keen on him at 40/1 if his recent form had been a little better. He finished T19th last week and playing some nice golf but his weak point the last month has been driving accuracy. The highest percentage of fairways he hit in any round last week was 57% in his 65 on day 3. He needs to drive it much better than that in Atlanta. It will be reassuring for Kuchar backers that he is patient, that he does feel at home in Atlanta and that he is capable of correcting his driving before Thursday. However at 40/1 I can’t take that risk. Watney will be my first pick. He has really matured as a player over the last 2 years. He has contended in majors in tough conditions and although faltering he will have learnt from the experience. He opened with 65 last week before rounds of 70-70-73 dropped him to 23rd. He did struggle off the tee on Sunday last week but he is a strong driver of the ball. 26th on tour in total driving. He was 4th in putting last week, has a high ball flight and can go well at 35/1.

Jason Day seems to have become a player that appears every time a big event is on, like Ricky Barnes but much, much better! I like Day but he is 161st in driving accuracy and that is off-putting. That is 30 places above Tiger Woods but too far down for me to be a backer of him here. Zach Johnson gave us a good run for our money last week. He finished 6th and was 4th in greens and 3rd in driving accuracy. Pretty impressive and very much in the same image as Toms in 2001. My concern is his low ball flight. I can’t see him stopping long irons on these greens and he has always struggled from heavy rough with his strong grip. He is also priced according to his performance last week, 40/1 is not value.

One guy that appears to be a little bit of value is Hunter Mahan. His whole game was solid last week but did not excel in one area which you have to do to contend. Hunter has missed the cut in the first three majors this year and will be determined to make amends. He also has 0 top 25’s in 6 starts. But 66/1 is a good price about a player who is due a big week. He can move it both ways and when he is on he can make it happen. I am prepared to take a risk on him at this price..

The 2001 champion David Toms made a good comeback last week in the Bridgestone finishing 9th. 68-68-68-67. He putted well last week, 3rd in putts per green in regulation. That combined with being 2nd in greens on tour and 4th in driving accuracy make him appealing again here. Obviously the course is very different from ten years ago but it will still have the same feel to him and although 55/1 is a lot shorter than the 90/1 we had about him last week, he seems to be a decent selection at a nice price. He lead the field in birdies last week and he will need to make a few in Atlanta too.

My last and stand out pick is Webb Simpson. Straight away ticks the box with his ranking of 18th in total driving. He is also 17th in greens in regulation. He seems very confident in what he is achieving this year despite it all being new to him. Six top 20’s in a row proves his form and the fact that two of those are in majors he was debuting in it is a very positive sign. He is 2nd in birdie average and 4th in scoring. 90/1 is a juicy price about him. My only concern is his suspect Sundays when he slows his routine down but quickens everything else including his swing and putting stroke. He is always learning and improving. Any sort of improvement in his recent form would see him go very close here.

I feel my four picks all have very live chances this week and also represent good value

All prices with Geoff Banks Bookmakers - For the best service and prices bet with Geoff Banks -

USPGA Championship

1.5 pts each way Nick Watney @ 35/1
2 pts each way Webbs Simpson @ 90/1
1pt each way Hunter Mahan @ 66/1
1pt each way David Toms @ 55/1

Special Bets

1pt accumulator Scott to bt Kaymer @ 4/5, Watney to bt Day @ 10/11, Stricker to bt Fowler @ 4/5, Bill Haas to bt Furyk @ 10/11

0.25pts yankee Gallacher to be top Scott @ 9/4, KJ Choi top Asian @ 11/4, Webb Simpson @ 10/3 Group E, Bill Haas Group F @ 10/3

2011 running total +161.96 pts This weeks investment 14.75 pts

My advice comes with a point system to rate the strength of a tip. A 1 point bet means placing your usual stake, so if you would consider your normal bet being £10 then a point signifies £10.