WGC FedEx St. Jude

A smaller version of the famous 17th at the Tournament Players Club Sawgrass, but with its own uniqueness. This hole requires a short iron over water to an island green with a small pot bunker that guards the front edge of the green. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

Jordan W
Founder/el Jefe

"First I figured out where the sharp action was, where the guys who had a plan were, the guys who grinded." - Bobby Axelrod (Billions)

Although we have our mainstream “major” sports are back… kind of, I’ve spent the past few months in the golf space. An avid golfer, and a follower of the sport for years — wagering on this beautiful game was always an afterthought. After intaking some golf content earlier this summer, making a few friends on #GamblingTwitter, I came out guns blazing picking two outright winners in consecutive tournaments. While hitting outrights each week is not sustainable (nor very likely) I have found handicapping and projecting golf to be an exciting new project of mine.

Profitable week at the 3M Open last week. We didn’t hit an outright, but did well on matchups. Rather than fill this article with unnecessary sentences, below is a recap from twitter. 

As we say in New England … “We’re onto Cincinnati Memphis”.

The GVD Process:

This is the third article I’ve done on golf. I detailed my process on how I wager/stake golf in great detail in my first golf article.

If you want a refresher, click here.

I was fortunate enough to join in on two podcasts last week to talk golf, golf betting and the 3M Open. 

The first, was hosted by Marc Belleville & Steven Lewis of Unwrapped Sports. The link to that podcast can be found here

The second podcast I joined was our very own, Moose Dawgs at Home. The link to that podcast can be found here.

Course Breakdown:

No one is coming to read these articles for my in-depth breakdown featuring imagery of the courses. Rather than waste time on that, moving forward I will focus more on the statistics and numbers of the course.

Basics:

TPC Southwind

Memphis, TN

7300 Yards, Par 70

Greens: Bermuda Grass

Second year hosting this event

Off the Tee:

More so than some of the past courses we’ve seen, driving can play a bigger role here at TPC Southwinds. With some longer holes, it’ll be interesting to see how the guys do this week.

Relative to the average tour event, driving distance is slightly over 1% greater. While this doesn’t seem like a world of difference, in an event featuring the top 75 golfers in the world (with no cut) even the slightest edge can be the difference between birdie or par. Accuracy here plays an even bigger role. Accuracy (both Greens in Regulation and Fairways) are down approximately 10% versus the average event. Golfers who can keep it straight (and long) have a greater advantage at this course.

Approach:

Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before, but without clean iron play — you will not win this event. Last year, the top 10 finishers gained over a stroke per round on the approach. The only golfer in the top 10 last year who did not, was Rory — who made up for it with 1 stroke per round off the tee. Ball striking will play an important role here, just like every other event we have seen the past month or two.

Around the Green:

If you are backing a golfer who struggles with accuracy, you need to ensure that his wedge/around-the-green play is on point. While I am not weighing scrambling nor sand saves into my numbers this week — when looking at matchups and outrights, I avoided those who struggle most with their wedges. Note, please don’t use this as a reason to take Phil Mickelson outright.

Putting:

We’re back on Bermuda greens this week, which for Webb Simpson amongst some other golfers, is a welcomed sign. Bermuda has unique challenges  whether you are going with or against the grain — considering these are the top 75 golfers in the world, one would assume they will be decent on these greens. I will avoid betting on 5-10 of the worst putters, but that is typically just a rule of thumb for myself. When considering putting statistics, I weigh 2020 putting (on all surfaces) only slightly less than the last 2 years performance on Bermuda as a general guideline.

Scorecard:

As you can see in the screenshot above, the Par 4 holes are both some of the easiest and hardest on this course. Strokes gained on par 4s will be weighed accordingly, as golfers need to work hardest to avoid bogeys on the challenging ones as well as earn birdies on the easiest ones.

Picks:

Enough of the fancy golf talk, we all are here for the picks, right? I’ll break down a selection of offerings from most portions of my card (excluding Round 1 Matchups). My full card will be found at the base of this article and if you have questions — shoot me a message on twitter.

Odds are as of when I placed the bets. Golf is a fickle market, do your homework in shopping around for the best possible odds.

NOTE: As of writing this, round 1 matchups are not released. I will update this article and my twitter when they are posted.

Outrights

Bryson DeChambeau (+1200): This is a biiit outside of my normal odds that I look to target, but at a course like this (without an inordinate amount of water hazards) his skillset pairs extremely well. Since the restart, Bryson has been the best player on tour with a driver in his hands. Bryson is driving the ball in a fashion we have never seen before, and also has one of the hottest putters on tour since the restart. In addition to his recent form (and fitness) shocking us all, he ranks top 5 in my mixed-conditions model that values and weighs stats with various considerations over a long term. As recently as the RBC Heritage, Bryson had six strokes gained on the approach — something that pairs well his long drives and hot putter.

Xander Schauffele (+2200): Xander is live this week. Ranking #1 in my numbers, below is a quick screenshot of where he ranks amongst the field in all statistical categories that I consider this week. Having missed only three  cuts in the last year, and falling outside of the top 20 only four  times, Xander is consistently one of the top golfers out there. Checking all the boxes including the bonuses of around-the-green play, superb Par 4 scoring and above average driving/accuracy — at 22-1, there are worse bets to make.

Abraham Ancer (+5500): This is as deep as I am going this week. Ancer is another player who fits the profile of a golfer poised for success at TPC Southwinds. Having similar numbers as Schauffele, with slightly worse putting — these odds are too good to passby. He has three second place finishes since last summer, and has yet to miss a cut in 2020. 

Top Finishes

Joaquin Niemann (Top 20 +250): Let me get this out of the way, Niemann is a terrible putter. Truly, he is bad. BUT — his ballstriking has clearly made up for it both in 2020 and the past two years for the young Chilean. Niemann hasn’t lost strokes on approach since The Open last year, and with no cut to miss this week — we can count on the iron play making up for it. Needing to only beat approximately 50 golfers to place top 20, let me ride with Jocko.

Kevin Streelman (Top 10 +330): When Streelman misses a cut, he does it by a stroke. It’s a time aged tradition. When Streelman doesn’t miss the cut he regularly finds himself in the top 20. With excellent approach play, the ability to gain strokes off the tee and 53 top 20 finishes over the past five years — I’ll roll with the consummate professional.

Full Tournament Matchups

Henrik Stenson +1.5 o Matt Kuchar (-105): In Stenson’s first tournament back since the restart, I’m excited to back and watch the Swedish golfer. Kuchar has become a villain on tour since “The Caddie incident”. In a model that weighs post-restart performance, Stenson still ranks higher than Kuchar. In head-to-head performance, Stenson has scored better in 41 of their 80 tournaments.

Danny Willett o SungJae Im (+130):  I am not ashamed to admit, not only am I not the smartest person in this space — but I also weigh others thoughts pretty highly.  This play is a tail of something I heard on this week’s episode of “Fore! Profit” Podcast by James Mazzola & Haven Brown. Undoubtedly one of the most entertaining podcast, they back this with statistics and insight. In this week’s episode they analyze this matchup — simply under the assumption is far outside the range of likely outcomes based on the price. If you have the time, here is a link to their episode.

Anyone o DJ : Honestly, I feel bad for Dustin Johnson. Whether he is hurt or not — his game is off. Ranking low in my model, I am backing two golfers over DJ this week. Tyrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood both rank higher in my model, and based off Johnson’s recent performance — it is easy to see why. I grabbed Hatton -1.5 (-105) and Fleetwood -1.5 (+105).

Full Card

As mentioned, the first round matchups aren’t posted yet… Be sure to keep an eye on my twitter feed for my complete card entering the tournament.