The Chevron World Challenge shouts ‘motivation’ to me. This end of season event in aid of Tiger’s Charity, is an invitational that naturally has a top quality field. As a PGA Tour ‘Featured event’ it is accredited, so many of the Tour’s regulars are attracted by the bundle of World Golf Ranking points on offer (yet another bonus for the top players who get invites to these end of season events) and the winning prize of a cool $1.25 million will motivate many….naturally it’s peanuts for Jim Furyk who grabbed $10 million for winning the Fed Ex Cup in September + $1.35 million for winning the Tour Championship!
The Sherwood Country Club course is another motivating factor. The Nicklaus design close to Los Angeles is truly a course of beauty and a true test to the best in the world. Finely manicured bent grass greens that are relatively small and undulating provide a stern test, but the 7,000 yard Par 72 defends itself with fairways that are lined by 1,800 oak trees and water features on 14 holes. Put simply, the course doesn’t need to be long and is a true test of strategic ball placement and ball striking.
So just who’s motivated to win? The winless Tiger is the obvious player, but in his current guise I wouldn’t touch him with your wallet. Luke Donald and Paul Casey have done everything but win recently and are in superb form. I certainly toyed with the former who won here in 2005 on his course debut and who loves Nicklaus designs. Rory McIlroy is desperate for a win in 2010 in what he’s classified as a decent season and GMac would love nothing better than to temper the disappointment of finishing 2nd in the R2D by capturing his 2nd US win. But I’ve deliberately stayed away from the ‘globe trotters’ who have racked up some serious 1st Class Air Miles over October and November.
I’m also firmly in the Anthony Kim camp this week and it's well worth looking at the Texas based Californian as a spread bet with Extrabet – click here to read my Chevron World Challenge Spread Tips
Also extremely worthy of note for canny punters is Ladbrokes decision to pay out full ¼ odds on 4 places EW in this 18 field event - click here to see their latest prices, plus grab yourself a free £10 bet:
Finally, we highlighted a process for maximising your returns by playing the bookies new account offers last week... this proved really popular with many of you judging by the feedback! We've created a similar process this week based on Steve Stricker, although the same principle can be applied to any player in the field. Click here for more. Be quick though - Extrabet and 888 Sport's new account terms are due to end in December!
I triumphed with Ben Crane using 888 Sports Free £20 No Lose Bet in Malaysia recently and Stricker again is the perfect candidate this week for the no risk fully refunded win bet if you're new to 888.
Stricker took a serious amount of negative press from golfing luminaries for not attending the recent HSBC in Shanghai, but he obviously took the view that rest and recuperation was better than flying to China to take on a course he knew didn’t suit. Well whether he had Sherwood and the Chevron Challenge in mind who knows, but this course is absolutely perfect for the Wisconsin native who “beat up” Westwood badly in the singles at Celtic Manor.
Stricker ticks all of the boxes for me this week where Greens in Regulation and a superb scrambling game will be a necessity. The 9-time PGA Tour winner has a win CV that excites with 2 previous California triumphs when winning the WGC Matchplay at La Costa Resort in 2001 and his Riviera triumph at the start of this year. Wins at Colonial, TPC Boston, Bellerive, Westchester and TPC Deere Run (x2) say one thing to me....he thrives on strategic bent grass green tracks. The World Number 5 offers a superbly tasty value win punt this week, plus you can get close to a 60/1 return on Stricker if you follow our process highlighted above - click here to read it in full. RESULT: 12th
Bookmakers can be a little fickle at times and Kuchar is a perfect example. Kuchar was as short as 9/1 to win the Tour Championship in Atlanta and with it the Fed Ex Cup. After all he’d just finished 1st at Ridgewood (The Barclays) and 3rd at Cog Hill (BMW). At the time I stated he would buckle and it was no surprise when he finished 25th and allowed Big Jim to capture the $10 million on offer. Since Atlanta Kuchar played magnificently at Celtic Manor and then finished a credible 25th at the McGladrey in Georgia after getting back from Wales on the Tuesday. So 16/1 in an 18 man field, for Kuchar who finished the PGA Tour Ranked Number 1 on the Money List and for Scoring Average feels like superb value to me.
The previous Chevron Champions list of Furyk, Singh, Woods and Donald also throws up real encouragement for a decent showing from Kuchar this week. All of these had previously won on Nicklaus course designs prior to their end of season Sherwood triumphs with the former 3 all winning at Muirfield. Well Kuchar won his first PGA Tour tournament at the Nicklaus inspired Honda Classic in 2002 at PGA National and Kuchar’s Memorial/Muirfield record ain’t half bad either 8th 2010: 5th 2009: 10th 2008. Donald triumphed here in 2005 on course debut and when we talk about motivation a win this week will see Matt finish 2010 in the World’s Top 10…..a career landmark. RESULT: 18th
I tipped up Zach Johnson at the Tour Championship in late September and naturally he let me down when finishing a credible 9th. Fact is he was 25/1 for the 30-man Tour finale so getting the same price this week was an unexpected bonus for this tipster. A form line of 12 (like Kuchar when arriving back from the Ryder Cup at the McGladrey)-9-15-30-21-3 shows that Johnson is close to contention. The 3rd was at the PGA Championship held on fast bent at Whistling Straits. Indeed worthy of note is that Whistling Straits also held the PGA Championship in 2004…….where the winner was Vijay Singh…who won the 2008 Chevron at Sherwood! The fact that Johnson’s game suits Sherwood CG becomes obvious when you look at both his career CV and his previous appearances.
Wins at TPC Sugarloaf (x2), Augusta and Colonial show that Iowa educated Johnson loves classical bent grass green courses where accuracy and shot making is essential. The 54 hole lead last year at Quail Hollow and 2nd at the Nicklaus designed Muirfield in 2006 add fuel to the flames. Then you look at his Sherwood results. His 2 appearances have gleaned 2nd on debut in 2007 then 5th in 2009. I’d snap up the 25/1 and the no risk bet with 888 Sport if I were you. RESULT: T9
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 21:45GMT 30.11.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.