UA-33754892-1 Archives for 29 December 2013 | Jason Kelly Golf

Jason Kelly Golf

Golf Betting Tips

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Happy New Year and here’s to a huge 2014.

We ended last year losing 24.22 points. Our first year of loss in four. A little frustrating but it was a tricky year for betting on golf from my angle. Most weeks, especially in the big events, players at the top of my figures where also at the top of the market. As you know, I tend to duck favourites and like to make value plays. This means finding underrated, unfashionable or unpopular players. Players that the layers are not automatically going to get in the book and punters don’t feel inclined to back.

The two we followed a lot this year both ended up with wins, but unfortunately we didn’t back either Jimmy Walker or Chris Kirk when they finally did win. Two other regrets for 2013 were playing away from the US Tour too much and wanting to make selections for every event, often to keep people happy rather than trying to make them money.

This year there are a couple of players I really like the look of going into the season proper and a few that should provide decent value in taking on. One guy who I thought could be huge in 2014 was a multiple winner in 2013 already, but he started to look like a player with the full package that could really contend for majors and WGC’s. Unfortunately Harris English has moved from Ping to Callaway. Other players that have made this move include Gary Boyd and Danny Willett. It ruined them for at least one season. Generally I believe its the ball that kills the players making this move, same with guys that move to Nike.

Anyway, lets get on with 2014 and the US Tour is in Hawaii at Kapalua’s Plantation course for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

The Crenshaw/Coore design measures in at 7452 yards and boasts some of the biggest fairways and greens on tour. It has to have large landing areas to keep the course playable when the inevitable winds pick up. Statistically this is a funny event to try and get a grip on. A long par 73 with big targets from the tee should suit the big hitters but this only seems to be a real advantage in years when the wind blows. Like last year, when he tournament was reduced to 54 holes and a Tuesday finish, Dustin Johnson was victorious. He averaged 307.8 yards, which sounds medicare but lead the field by a clear 25.5 yards. Dustin got there early last year and worked very hard on distance control with his wedges in the build up. Certainly proximity to the hole will have some bearing on the outcome but not as much as putting, especially lag putting and 6ft in. Most players will be hitting 80%+ of greens, last year in brutal conditions, 96.6% won the stat. Putting on grainy greens with varying speeds is key.

Out of the bombers, and the three that stand out in this field are Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker and Gary Woodland, I like Walker the best. First timers have a good record here and with only one past winner (Dustin) in the field and 13 out of the 30 players debuting here experience won’t be a separating factor. Walker is 33/1 and unlike Dustin 8//1 and Woodland 30/1 is a consistently good putter. Getting the monkey off his back could give him the belief to really kick on this year. I would like to back a bomber as this theory worked well when we nearly landed the 125/1 on Robert Garrigus a couple of years ago. He got beat in a playoff.

This is a very competitive line up and will take some winning. Scott 6/1 has obviously been in great form in Australia over the winter and is a worthy favourite. He could become a little distracted by the surf on offer in Hawaii and does not have particularly good course form. 18th and 21st in his two starts. Kuchar looks fair at 8/1 as he is playing well, is an each way machine, has good course form but does not win enough to make him particularly appealing at the price, as you would want to back him each way. But he is due and does have the lowest stroke average of the players on show at Kapalua. Dustin at 8/1 is fair enough but he is all or nothing and is very hard to predict.

My top five are Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk, Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson. The one I really did like on first glance was Russell Henley. He won in Hawaii at the Sony Open to qualify for this at the start of 2013. That is a very different course but has grainy greens and he has the type of pop stroke that should suit. He is 66/1 but a quick look at his stats shows a serious decline in his game from the first half of last year.

A few things have made separating my top 5 a little easier. Firstly Kirk has been well fancied. The 33/1 has gone, there is a bit of 28/1 left but is a general 25/1 chance. I liked him at 33/1 when he was as big and bigger than Woodland and Walker. Spieth has played only twice since finishing 2nd in the Tour Championship in his rookie season. He is some player. However, these two events, the WGC-HSBC Champions and the World Challenge, did not show anything too exciting, especially compared to a Scott or a Kuchar. 22/1 about such a talent is tempting but left alone on this occasion.

So it comes down to Zach Johnson or Webb Simpson. Zach is 14/1 and Webb 10/1. I would have had them about the same price for this as both have been in great form over the last few months and are similar players. Zach has two wins and 6 top 10’s in the last 6 months. Webb finished 4th in the Tour Champs, won in Vegas, 7th at Seaside and 5th at Tiger’s World Challenge. The separating factors that make Webb the bet are found in course form and stats. Zach has only one top 15 in 6 starts here where Webb had a tied 3rd in 2012 and 11th last year. Zach is very strong statistically but Webb’s figures are beautiful right now. 1st in greens, 4th in scrambling, 3rd in putting, 1st in scoring. If he plays to recent form he is going to be very hard to beat.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

2 points win, 1 point place Webb Simpson @ 10/1

2014 running total = 0 points. This week’s investment 3 points. This weeks P&L = +0.5 points

2013 total - 24.22 points
2012 total +150.36 points
2011 total +370.78 points
2010 total +189.33 points

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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.