THE new PGA Tour season really gets under way this week, with most of the game’s big stars ending their post Ryder Cup breaks, and teeing it up at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas.
Dustin Johnson is a 12-1 favourite on the strength of his five-from-five heroics at whistling Straits.
But let’s face it, he did not have much to beat at the Ryder Cup.
DJ has not managed to finish higher than sixth in his last 16 stroke play events, and another player whose price looks a bit skinny is Open champion Collin Morikawa, who is hardly a model of consistency.
His 14-1 quote is based on the fact he is a member at the Summit Club in Vegas – which hosts the event for the first time – and should have a big advantage in terms of force knowledge.
Jason Kokrak made his inside info pay off when he won down the Strip at the Shadow Club last year, but I think this year’s winner will come from the game’s elite – although there are still some tempting each way propositions.
Hot shot: Jordan Spieth, 22-1
Looked to be running low on fuel at the Ryder Cup, but that was hardly surprising as he has played a lot of high intensity golf this year, while climbing from 82nd in the rankings to a much more acceptable 12th.
He will have appreciated the two week break, and there is still plenty more to come from the revitalised Spieth, especially when he starts holing putts for fun again.
With no cut, he has time to make up for the odd slip, and is making plenty of birdies.
On a track hardly anyone knows anything about, I think his aggressive approach could pay off.
Mid price: Marc Leishman, 40-1.
The classy Aussie has not been at his best this year, but the start of the new wraparound 21-22 season a couple of weeks ago seems to have spurred him into action.
He has finished fourth and third in the two events played so far, and has been right at the top of the potting statistics in both – a good sign heading onto unfamiliar greens.
The most recent of those events was also in Vegas, at TPC Summerlin, last week so Leishaman should feel right at home as he chases a sixth PGA Tour victory.
Long shot: Talor Gooch, 60-1.
It is asking a lot for Gooch to claim his first PGA Tour victory in such a classy field. But with most bookmakers paying out on the top seven, he should give us a good run for our money.
The 29 year old from Oklahoma is heading in the right direction after a slow start to his professional career, and he is definitely one to watch out for in the coming months.
His share of fifth at the Players Championship earlier this year showed he can rub shoulders with the big boys. He went one better a couple of starts ago, and was a respectable eleventh last week.
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