2012 PGA Golf The Greenbriar Classic
Greenbriar Old White TPC – White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Par 70 – 7,274 yards
Thursday, July 5-Sunday, July 8, 2012, TV: Golf Channel, CBS
Defending Champion: Scott Stallings
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Last week, Tiger Woods won his third tournament of the year and 74th of his career at the AT&T National. Some bad storms on Friday night created a surreal scene on Saturday where spectators were not allowed on the course on Saturday due to some damaged trees that fell on the course. Spectators were allowed in on Sunday to see Tiger pass Jack Nicklaus for second on the all time wins list, only 8 behind Sam Snead who won 82 events on tour.
Now Tiger comes to an event that he has never played before, the Greenbriar Classic in West Virginia. The tournament is in its third year, with Stuart Appleby and Scott Stallings as previous winners. Stallings won last year in a playoff against Bob Estes and Bill Haas. The field also includes 13 former major winners including, Woods, Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, John Daly, Vijay Singh, and Tom Watson.
After the pros ripped up the course in the inaugural Greenbriar in 2010 with a scoring average of 68, it was lengthened by some 200 yards to its current length of 7,274 yards. Scoring soared to over 70 last year, as driving accuracy and greens in regulation both went down. The course rewards putting, and players who do well should be near the top of the leaderboard. The course was damaged by the same storms that hit Congressional last week in nearby Maryland, with several trees felled. Course officials don’t expect a problem though. It should be hot and muggy all weekend with temps in the high 80’s and low 90’s all weekend. Rain is possible all four days, but winds should be calm.
Here is a look at some of the favorites and contenders and some head-to-head match-ups I like with odds courtesy of bookmaker.
Tiger Woods (+355)
Tiger took over the FedEx Cup lead last week with his win at Congressional in a tournament he hosts. His other wins have come in the Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial. He has 3 wins in his last 7 starts, after not winning since 2009 before then. Unfortunately, Woods still has to answer questions about whether he is back because he hasn’t won a major since 2008. Any other golfer would be thrilled with 3 wins in 11 starts, but Tiger has set the standards so high with his brilliant play earlier in his career. Woods only had 5 bogeys last week at the AT&T. He is in the top 15 on tour in total driving (5th), GIR (10th), strokes gained putting (14th), and adjusted scoring (1st). He is a heavy favorite for a reason. If he plays his game, he should be in contention at the end. Tiger is -210 against US Open Champion Webb Simpson and -245 against Mickelson. He should win both.
Webb Simpson (15/1)
Simpson won the US Open at a brutal Olympic Club in San Francisco last month. He is #9 in the FedEx Cup Standings with 6 top 25s in 15 starts, including 5 top 10’s. He led this event midway through last year, but ended up tied for ninth. He is 12th in GIR and first in birdie average on tour. A top 10 is a strong possibility. I don’t know if he can beat Tiger at +170 but I like him at +105 to beat Jim Furyk.
Dustin Johnson (19/1)
Johnson missed significant time with a back injury. He still has 4 top tens in 11 starts, including a win in Memphis at the FedEx St. Jude. He has never played at Greenbriar before. He is in the top 20 on tour in driving distance and adjusted scoring. He also scrambles really well as he is #10 in proximity to the hole from the rough. Johnson is -105 against Steve Stricker, and +110 against Furyk. Johnson is very consistent, and has a chance in both of those match-ups and to get a top 10.
Phil Mickelson (19/1)
Mickelson is #8 in the FedEx Standings with 5 top 10’s in 14 starts with a win. He hasn’t played since he tied for 65th at the US Open after struggling to make the cut. He missed the cut at this event last year. Mickelson was red hot early in the season, but has struggled since the Masters with only one top 10 finish. He is in the top 20 on tour in birdie average, strokes gained-putting, and adjusted scoring. Mickelson is +195 against Woods and -115 against Stricker. I don’t like him in either one of those and he could struggle to even make the cut at this event.
Steve Stricker (20/1)
Stricker has only played 10 events this year, but is still #25 in the FedEx standings with 4 top tens and a win. Stricker hasn’t played since a top 15 at the US Open. He hasn’t played this event before, but he has won his last three starts after the US Open. Granted, all were at the John Deere Classic, which is next week’s event. He is in the top 40 in fairways, GIR, and birdie average. Stricker is second in proximity to the hole, including 4th from the rough. I like Stricker at -115 to beat Mickelson. A top 20 is a good possibility for Stricker.
Jim Furyk (47/2)
Furyk doesn’t have a win this season, but does have 9 top 25’s in 14 starts. He is 17th in the FedEx Standings. Furyk led the US Open last month with only a few holes to play, but some late bogeys dropped him into a tie for fourth. He is coming off a disappointing tie for 34th last week at the AT&T National. Furyk didn’t play this event in 2011, but did have a top 10 in here in 2010. Furyk is the top 5 on tour in fairways and adjusted scoring,a nd #30 in GIR. Furyk could be a nice semi-dark horse pick here. Furyk is -140 to beat Dustin Johnson and -135 to beat Simpson.
Brendon De Jonge (30/1)
De Jonge was in contention last week at Congressional until a final round 77 dropped him to a tie for 11th. He has 2 top tens in 20 starts this season, and is #41 in the FedEx Standings. De Jonge has top 5 finishes in his two starts at Greenbriar, including a tie for fourth last year. His scoring average at the Old White is 66.75 in 8 rounds at the course. I like him at -130 to beat Keegan Bradley. Another top ten is a possibility for De Jonge.
Keegan Bradley (36/1)
Last year’s PGA rookie of the year hasn’t been bad this season with 10 top 25’s in 17 starts. However, he hasn’t lived up to the lofty standards of his rookie year, that included a win in the PGA Championship. He usually does well at Par 70’s that reward scrambling. Bradley has played in 4 straight events including a trip across the pond last week for the Irish Open. Fatigue could be a factor, but he is young. Bradley is even money against De Jonge.
Bill Haas (36/1)
Haas lost in a playoff last year to Stallings, en route to winning the FedEx Cup. He is #22 this year with 5 top 25’s in 15 starts, including 2 top 10’s and a win. He has missed the cut in 4 of his last 6 events played, and has only one top 25 in his last 9 starts. Haas is even money against Jonathan Byrd. This course should be what Haas needs to get back on track, as he carded on 5 bogeys last year at Greenbriar.
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