Gambling Picks for The American Express

We are back! We are putting last week’s disastrous results behind us. As always let’s have some fun and make some money.

Last Week: 0-6!
2021 Year to Date: 2-8

All Odds are taken from DraftKings.

Finishing Position
Phil Mickelson Top 30 (+150)

Mickelson is serving as the tournament host this week. He has a strong history here, posting a second-place finish here in 2019 and a third-place result in 2016. We will selectively choose to forget the missed cut last year. Plus, it’s always fun to root for Phil. Let it ride on lefty.

Finishing Position
Tony Finau Top 20 (+100)

Tony Finau ended 2020 with a T8 showing in Mayakoba. In his last start, he finished T31 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He finished 14th in the event last year, highlighted by a second round 62! Finau is due for a strong week. Back the big hitter.

Finishing Position
Patrick Reed Top 20 (+100)

Listen, I hate Patrick Reed. Hate might not even be a strong enough word. But last week I got my teeth kicked in and this course is suited to his strengths. I’m eating crow and making the smart play here. He won here in 2014. Four straight finishes of T21 or better. Lock it in.

Finishing Position
Rickie Fowler Top 30 (+120)

Rickie has had a rough go of it lately. To say he is due is an overstatement. His odds for a top 30 finish are only a little higher than 50-year-old Phil Mickelson. He missed the cut in his last start in Mayakoba and before that he limped to a T29 finish at The Masters. He got off to a strong start here last year with rounds of 64-65 before stalling on the weekend. He came in 10th after posting scores of 70 and 71 to fall down the leaderboard. Slick Rick can finish top 30. Did you know he technically isn’t in the 2021 Masters field yet? He needs some strong results quick to qualify.

Finishing Position
Matthew Wolff Top 20 (+150)

He is making his first start since missing the cut at The Masters. Wolff is teeing is up for the first time in two months. The young gun is rested and poised for a breakout this week. He finished 61st here last year with not exactly eye-popping numbers, but his game is held in much higher regard this year. He’s fun to watch and hits the ball a country mile. This week we are all part of the #WolffPack (did I just make that up)?

I wanted to back Brooks but wasn’t a fan of any of the odds for him. Keep an eye out because we’ll be dropping a weekend look at the odds both on the PGA Tour and European Tour.

Speaking of the European Tour, let’s throw in a little action on what’s going down in Abu Dhabi.

Better Finishing Position
Rory McIlroy (+100) over Justin Thomas

Did you know that Rory McIlroy has NEVER won his first calendar start of the year! Me either. Maybe the bulked up Ulsterman can buck that trend. That being said, McIlroy has finished fifth or better in his first event in 12 of the last 13 years. RESEARCH! That includes a top-five everywhere he’s started his year since 2014.

Who do you like this week?

FORE!

The American Express Preview

The PGA Tour is back on the mainland this week for The American Express La Quinta, California. This year’s edition will have a different look – only two courses will be used, and amateurs will not play alongside the professionals.

Third tournament of the calendar year. Below are seven things to know about The American Express.

1) Different courses! The event takes place at the Stadium Course at PGA West (par 72) and Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West (par 72). For the first time in tournament history, The American Express will be conducted on only two courses. Players will play a round at each course before heading to the Stadium Course for play over the weekend.

2) Water Water Everywhere!  There is a TON of water in play at the Stadium course. Below is a picture of the 17. Great little par three that has some TPC Sawgrass vibes. On the front, there is water in play on the fifth (par 5 with water in play left off the tee and right on approaches to green), sixth (long peninsula par 3), seventh (short par 4, guys will likely use an iron off the tee with water running along the right side of the hole and surrounding the green) and ninth (medium length par 4 with water all long the right side).

3) Time To Go Low! Over the last eight years, winners at this event have averaged 27.7 birdies or eagles for the week at this event. So guys will have to go low to be in contention this week. Each of the last seven years the winning score has been -20 or better.

4) Rahm Withdraws. Tournament favorite and world No. 2 Jon Rahm withdrew from the event yesterday. He did not give a reason for skipping an event he has a strong history at. Rahm finished sixth at the course in 2019 and won it back in 2018.

5) Strong Field. Despite Rahm withdrawing, the American Express still has a very strong field. Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Singjae Im, Matthew Wolff and tournament host Phil Mickelson are all teeing it up.

6) Charity exhibitions Are Back! Tournament host Phil Mickelson will be mic’d up and playing in a charity exhibition on Wednesday alongside Tony Finau and Paul Casey. Phil is always much watch during these things so tune into Golf Channel Wednesday afternoon.

7) The Champ Is Here! That is not a Cameron Champ pun, but he is in the field. Andrew Landry is the defending champion at the event. He carded a four-round score of 26-under-par to pick up the win last year. Landry is looking to become the first golfer to defend his title at The American Express since Johnny Miller in 1975-76.

Everyone loves a trophy you can drink out of.

Should be an exciting week of golf both here and on the European Tour is Dubai. The field over there is a packed as well with JT, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson and every other big name European player you can think of.

FORE!

Sony Open in Hawaii Monday Morning Superlatives

The second PGA Tour event of the calendar year is in the books and once again we saw a winner decided on the final hole of play. Kevin Na played the back nine at Waialae Country Club in 32 on Sunday to erase a three-stroke deficit and pick up his fifth career PGA Tour win.

Kevin Na wasn’t the only winner this week. Let’s take a look at our Monday Morning Superlatives and all the oddities you might have missed last week in the golfing world.

Most Likely To Owe You An Apology…
Me

Hand up! My picks were absolutely god awful last week. I went 0-for the board. I won’t make excuses (Morikawa missed a three-foot birdie putt and another one inside 10 feet so that’s why he wasn’t in the top-20 after day one). Just need to study my spreadsheets better and crunch some more numbers.

Most Likely To Go Viral…
Kevin Kisner

In his pre-tournament press conference, Kevin Kisner pulled a Kevin Kisner and gave us an incredible sound bite. When asked why he plays at events and courses he spoke the truth. He was kind of serious in his response which makes it even funnier. The video is below. In case you were wondering, Kisner finished this week T32 and brought home over 34K.

Most Likely To Make the Most of an Opportunity…
Nick Hardy

WHO?! Well, the former Fighting Illini golfer won a 3-for-1 playoff to Monday qualify for the Sony. He went on to shoot 69-63-66-66 to finish T14, earn over 113K and get a spot in the Farmer’s Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in two weeks. A great story we heard little about this weekend. Hardy was the 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year and First Team All-American and he finished 2020 at No. 15 on the Korn Ferry Points Tour list. Normally, that would have given him his tour card, but not due to the restructured rules because of COVID. Keep an eye on this guy.

Most Likely To Make You Smile…
Chris Kirk

Chris Kirk has battled through a lot since winning an NCAA Title at Georgia with Brendon Todd and Kevin Kisner. Kirk was playing on a major medical extension after taking a seven-month leave of absence from the game to battle alcoholism, anxiety and depression. This was his final event on the exemption and he needed to finish T2 or better to earn enough Fed-Ex Cup points to retain his tour card. And guess what… he shot four straight rounds of 65 to finish T2. Good for Chris.

Most Likely To Have PTSD From This Event…
Brendan Steele

For the second year in a row, Steele saw a back-nine lead disappear at the Sony Open. He jumped into the 54-hole lead by carding a nine-under par 61 on Saturday. He entered the back nine with a THREE-STROKE lead. He made a bogey on the short par-4 tenth. He made another bogey on 14 before missing a 10-foot birdie to tie the lead on 17. He also missed a seven-footer for birdie on 18. A course that demands precision off the tee and accuracy on approach, Steele missed five of seven fairways coming home.

FORE!

Kevin Na Wins the Sony Open in Hawaii

Kevin Na closed with a final round five-under-par 65 to earn his fifth PGA Tour win on Sunday at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Trailing by three shots heading into the back nine, Na came in 32 with four birdies and just one dropped shot.

After three-jacking on 12 from 49 feet, Na bounced back with three straight birdies.

He absolutely walked home this 10-footer on 14.

That is the definition of swag.

He took the lead on 15 after sticking his approach from the fairway to five feet.

The 37-year-old Na showed poise down the stretch and put the tourney away on the 18th. After his tee shot found the rough, he hoisted a five wood that hit in the center of the green and rolled right past the hole and into the rough. He was able to get up-and-down for the birdie and the one-shot win.

Another exciting Sunday that saw a tournament decided on the final hole. We are back to the continental United States next week as the Tour heads to La Quinta, California for the American Express Championship.

We’ll have some additional coverage of the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with some big names in the field there.

Come back later today for our Monday Morning(ish) Superlatives.

FORE!

Gambling Picks for the Sony Open in Hawaii

We are back and we are ready to build off last week’s success. Let’s make some money and have some fun!

Last Week: 2-2
2021 Year to Date:
2-2

Couple things to know before diving into this. All of the odds are taken from DraftKings. Cuts are back in play with a 140-man field.

Still rocking island vibes as we are in Honolulu.

Top 20 After Round 1
Collin Morikawa (+200):

Morikawa is coming off a T7 finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. In his first time playing the Sony Open last season, he held the first round lead and ended up finishing T21. Obviously, he enters this week with heavier expectations and more fanfare. In doing some Googling (I think that is an actual verb), Collin has some family on the Hawaiian Islands so he should feel at home and use the positive vibes.

Top 20 After Round 1
Kevin Kisner (+250):

Over the last 15 years, winners of the Sony Open have had an average strokes gained putting rank of 3.9. Kisner is universally known as a good putter. He finished T24 last week and closed on Sunday with five-under-par 68. Here’s hoping the momentum carries over.

Finishing Position
Matt Kuchar Top 30 (+100):

Matt Kuchar’s last start saw him team with Harris English for a win at the QBE Championship. His putting and iron play was impressive in the event. Prior to missing the cut here last year, Kuchar reeled off six straight finishes of T13 or better at Waialae Country Club. He won in 2019 and here’s hoping for a return to form.

Finishing Position
Abraham Ancer Top 20 (+110):

Abraham Ancer is going to have a big week. I just feel it. In his last three events (Sentry TOC, Mayakoba and The Masters), he has finished T17 or better. I was tempted to take him for a top 10 finish, but cooler heads prevailed. He ranks eighth on Tour in driving accuracy, which will be key this week to give himself clean looks with wedges and short irons. Also check out the amount of swag he has in the GIF below…

Finishing Position
Brendon Todd Top 20 (+225):

Much like Kisner, I’m taking Todd this week because of his putting prowess. He ranks fourth on Tour in strokes gained putting this season. He finished T13 last week at the Sentry TOC and T8 back in December in Mexico. He ranks SECOND on Tour in driving accuracy and with calms winds expected he should have plenty of looks from the short grass. You don’t want to bet against this guy…

Tournament Matchups
Better Finishing Position (Tie no bet)
Keegan Bradley (-118) over Talor Gooch:

If we are in the trust tree this was a complete gut pick without doing any research. Was skimming the matchups this week and I thought, “Would be fun to track Keegan all week.” That being said, let’s take a look at some stats. Major Championships… Keegan 1, Gooch 0. Keegan beat Gooch in the last event they both played, the RSM Classic. Keegan finished T15 and Gooch did not make the cut. Keegan has also finished higher than Gooch in each of the last two Sony Open’s. Keegan has gone 12th and 29th, while Gooch has finished 63rd and missed the cut. Big brain thinking from me. Let it ride, Keegs.

Let’s have some fun and make some money!

FORE!

Sony Open in Hawaii Preview

The Hawaiian Islands swing continues to start the 2021 calendar year on the PGA Tour as this week the players are in Honolulu for the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Below are 10 things to know about this week’s event.

1) The Sony Open is contested at the par-70 Waialae Country Club. The course, which was founded 94 years ago, has hosted the Sony Open since 1965. The narrower, flatter layout is a contrast to last week’s venue, Kapalua. Last week was a bombers paradise and this week distance is negated with tighter, tree-lined fairways with much smaller greens.

2) Seven of the last nine winners of the Sony Open in Hawaii have played the week before at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. This year is a little unique with a different look to the field at Kapalua. There are 32 players in the field this week that teed it up last week.

3) Putting plays a big role at Waialae Country Club. Per Justin Ray of the 15th Club, “This event has valued putting performance more than the typical PGA Tour event: over the last 15 years, winners of the Sony Open have had an average strokes gained putting rank of 3.9. The PGA Tour average for tournament winners in that same span is 13.5.” That means we’ll be showing some love in our picks column to some of our favorite rollers of the rock.

4) Cameron Smith is the defending champion. The mullet-rocking, free-swinging Australian carded a final round score of 68 and beat Brendan Steele on the first playoff hole. Smith’s -11 winning score was the highest in recent memory. Typically, if winds stay calm players can go low. Justin Thomas holds the 18-hole scoring record with 59 in 2017.

5) In what many are saying will be a “down” week because many of the top players in the world are passing on the event, we still have 10 of the top-25 in the OWGR in the field. Webb Simpson is the highest ranked player in the field at No. 8 and he is also the betting favorite as he finished third here last season.

6) The Sentry Tournament of Champions needs to take notes because this is a trophy! That looks regal as all get up. It kind of looks the College Football Playoff Championship trophy. The lei has a little more flare to it than the one at the Sentry TOC as well. Overall this gets two big thumbs up.

7) Viktor Hovland is the highest ranked player in the Fed-Ex Cup in the field. He is looking to improve on a poor Sunday finish at the Sentry TOC. He has back-to-back top-15 finishes in his last two full field events, including a win in Mexico in early December.

8) Charles Howell III AKA Chucky Three Sticks absolutely owns this golf course. He has posted 10 top-10s, in 19 starts at Waialae. He has finished second here twice and also racked up two other third-place finishes.

9) Jimmy Walker, the 2016 PGA Champion, is looking to return to form. He has won twice on this course in the past and the familiar setting could help get him back on track. He has more missed cuts (3) than made cuts (2) this season and he’s searching for his first top-20 finish since the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge.

10) For the second straight week, we’ll have primetime golf. The coverage schedule looks like this Thursday-Saturday, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Sunday, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Golf Channel). Flipping back-and-forth between playoff football and PGA Tour golf on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon sounds delightful.

FORE!

Sentry Tournament of Champions Monday Morning Superlatives

The first PGA Tour event of the calendar year is in the books. Much like the first event after the COVID-19 break, the winner was decided in a playoff. Harris English held off the field and birdied both the 18th hole and the first playoff hole to earn his first PGA Tour win since 2013.

Harris English wasn’t the only winner this week. Let’s take a look at our Monday Morning Superlatives and all the oddities you might have missed last week in the golfing world.

Most Likely to Regret Their Choice of Words…
Justin Thomas

After missing a four-footer for par on the fourth hole on Saturday, Justin Thomas muttered a homophobic slur under his breath. He apologized immediately after the round and mentioned yesterday that golf was the not main thing on his mind following the round. JT is a good guy and one of the best players in the world. It’s an opportunity for him to grow. Listen, we aren’t the morality police (far from it), but it had to be mentioned. Now onto some lighter stuff!

Most Likely to Turn Your Head…
The designers of the of this trophy

Seriously, what is going on here? I have no clue what I’m looking at. I guess it’s supposed to be a wave with either a whale or a dolphin’s tale coming out of it. Someone has to explain this me. Maybe I’m just not seeing it. I still think I’m looking at a whale eat a dolphin somewhow. I will admit, I do dig the lei.

Best Scenery…
These Views

This course is incredible and so are the views. I don’t really have much to add. A picture is worth a thousand words and all that junk. What I did find out is that if you’re ever in the area it’s $359 to play a round here.

Best Dressed…
Bryson DeChambeau

Lots of guys got into the island mood with their wardrobes and kits last week. Obviously I was a big fan of BDC’s gear. He is a scientist in every aspect of the game, even in how he dresses. Two thumbs up. Also Bryson loves to plug his sponsors. LOVES it. Can’t knock the hustle.

Most Likely to Make Me Eat Crow
Xander Schauffele

That is a look at Xander’s unreal 81-foot eagle putt to end his second round. I was one of the few that doubted how X-man would perform in 2021 debut. Coming off a Positive Test and his first competitive action, I didn’t think we’d see much from him. He closed with a 66 to finish in a tie for fifth. He has finished in the top five in three of his last four starts at the Sentry TOC. So next year, remind me to back him hard.

Brightest Future…
Jaoquin Niemann

The youngest player in the field, Niemann tied a tournament-low with a round of 64 on Sunday. He carded nine birdies to work his way up the leaderboard and into a playoff. Now, if you were watching live you might have been wondering why he was just hanging out with Sergio after he finished up on 18 as opposed to warming up for a potential playoff. Maybe that was how he was dealing with nerves or he just thought he was going to win. Either way, the future is bright for the 22-year-old.

Did I missing something you noticed from the weekend?

Let me know!

Until next time…

FORE!

Harris English Wins the Sentry Tournament of Champions

After getting off to a slow start, Harris English posted a back nine score of four-under 33, including a clutch birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Joaquin Niemann. He converted the 54-hole lead to earn his third career victory on the PGA Tour.

Before we get into the breakdown, how old do you think Harris English is? There is no way you’re going to guess correctly. Think about your number… Okay, he is 31 years old! He’s younger than me. If you told me he was in his late thirties or early forties I would have believed you.

Down the stretch, English nailed clutch putts and stiffed his approach shots. Check out this 3-iron into the 18th.

He missed the would-be winning eagle putt on the amateur side, but he carded a birdie on the first playoff hole (18) to earn his first win since 2013!

Niemann, the youngest player in the field, made a hell of charge with a Sunday 64. He made nine birdies to go along with 0 dropped shots on the day. He missed several opportunities to go lower, including parring the 18th in regulation and in the playoff.

In regulation, Niemann missed a five-footer that would have put him at 26-under-par. In the playoff, his approach was inches from being perfect. It trickled into the rough on the left-side of the green and he was unable to get up-and-down.

Also, for those keeping track we went 2-2 on our picks this week. Hit on Sergio top 20 after round one and Justin Thomas top five. Hideki finished dead last so that was a bad call on him beating Xander and Hovland had a rough Sunday. He was T10 to enter the day and finished up T31 after a three-over 76.

It has been a hell of ride for English since he turned pro 10 years ago. He’s had ups and downs and battled the yips and had to go to the Korn Ferry Tour to earn back his PGA Tour status. Check out his world ranking over the last decade.

Over the last seven starts, English has racked up five top-10 finishes. He won yesterday in Hawaii and he also added a fourth-place finish at the US Open in September at Winged Foot.

The Hawaii swing continues this week with the Sony Open.

Come back later today for our Monday Morning Superlatives for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

FORE!

Takeaways From Round One of The Sentry Tournament of Champions

Round one of the Sentry Tournament of Champions is in the books and the boys on Tour went low! Eight players shot 67 or lower (on the par 73) as Harris English and Justin Thomas both birdied the 18th hole to share the first round lead at eight-under-par.

Lots to unpack from the first round and here are some of my takeaways.

1) This has nothing to do with the actual first round of the play, but more the tournament in general. In his post-round interview, Harris English mentioned that the players like the idea of being invited to the play in the event by qualifying for the Tour Championship. Bones had some strong comments that it is the Tournament of Champions and this will probably be a one-off. I agree with him. The debate has been happening since the field was announced and it gave us the early frontrunner for tweet of the year…

2) Content Kings stay Content Kings. Bryson was all over the coverage mashing his driver around the place. He hit the longest drive of the day at 18 (386 yards!). Bryson will tee it up with Viktor Hovland (4:20 pm ET) in round two in what could be a potential Ryder Cup showdown. Bryson, as always, also gave this incredible quote about nearly blacking out in his search for attaining swing speed.

3) I made everyone money! I hope you all took my plays from Wednesday because my Sergio Garcia Top 20 After Round 1 cashed. Sergio got off to a slow start with two bogeys in first three holes, but he came charging back thanks to an eagle and four birdies on the back.

4) Justin Thomas loves playing in Hawaii. Seriously, something in that ocean air makes everything click for him. Three of his 13 career victories have come on the islands. He is averaging the most birdies per round (5.68) of any player in Hawaii since 2017. He had eight birdies and no bogeys during the opening round on Thursday. STRIPE SHOW.

5) Xander Schauffele spent his break like every college student would have. He is a BIG video game guy.

6) My brain breaks a little every time I see a player shoot a three-under 70 on this course. Kapalua is the only par 73 on the PGA Tour.

7) Primetime golf is fun!

Looking forward to three more nights of golf.

FORE!

Gambling Picks for the Sentry Tournament of Champions

New Year. New Us. Here are some plays for the Sentry Tournament of Champions this week.

Couple things to know before diving into this. All of the odds are taken from DraftKings. There is not cut and only 42 players in the field this week.

Also, the tournament has been known as pretty lowkey way for players to ease into the new season and earn some carefree FedEx Cup points.

Here is Patrick Cantlay on the 17th tee box last year.

Not a Cantlay guy at all because he takes FOREVER over the ball. HOWEVER, this is incredible. Not sure what he was talking about in the beginning of the video, but him and his caddie absolutely crushed a Mai Tai or three after the round. When in Hawaii.

Top 20 After Round One
Sergio Garcia (+100):
Sergio Garcia returns to the Sentry Tournament of Champions after his first TOUR victory since the 2017 Masters. Garcia, an 11-time TOUR winner, won the Sanderson Farmers Championship back in October. He won this event WAY BACK in 2002 and it making his first trip back here since 2006. He missed the Masters due to a positive COVID test and is teeing it up for the first time since early November. Let’s hope for good and mild-mannered Sergio as opposed to…

Finishing Position
Justin Thomas Top 5 (+150):
As I mentioned in yesterday’s preview, Thomas won here last year and in 2017. He also finished third here in 2019. He’s racked up three top-three finishes at Kapalua in last four years. JT also won his last start (if you want to call it that) as he partnered with his dad to take home a trophy at the PNC Championship just before Christmas.

Finishing Position
Viktor Hovland Top 10 (+125):
Already in the 2020-21 season, Hovland has made five starts and picked up his second career PGA Tour victory. After finishing in the top-15 at the US Open, the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek and the Vivint Houston Open, he won in his last start at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. Hovland has carded seven straight rounds in the 60s and he’s come in at even par or better in 15 straight rounds. Impressive stuff from the 23-year-old Norseman. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the European Ryder Cup team and Hovland is making a strong case to be my new favorite player.

Tournament Matchups
Better Finishing Position (Tie no bet)
Hideki Matsuyama (+130) over Xander Schauffele:
I know I was waxing poetic about Xander in yesterday’s preview. What I forgot to mention was that he tested positive for COVID just before Christmas and got a negative just before the deadline to tee it up. Xander won here in 2019 and lost in playoff last year, but Matsuyama has best stroke average at Kapalua (with a minimum of eight rounds played) of every player in the field at 68.9. Matsuyama has also averaged the third-most birdies per round (5.67) of all the players in the field coming in just behind JT (5.75) and DJ (5.72). Back Hideki for all those reasons and he rocks the hell out of his shades.

If you live in a state that allows live betting through apps or online, I highly suggest checking out the golf features. Betting fairways hit will be EASY money all weekend. Your odds won’t be great, but definitely worth it. Live betting groups to birdie or bogey holes is also a rush and can make for exciting viewing. Also choosing hole and round winners between pairings is always fun as well.

Out of principal, I did not mention Pa*rick R**d. That doughy cheater is a monster on this course. He lost in a playoff last year and also added a T6 finish here in 2017. Could be worth a look at +110 to finish top 10. I won’t back him (until he gets on a heater then I’ll inevitably jinx him).

PRIMETIME GOLF! Get excited.

FORE!

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