If you can’t beat them join them! I’m using our unique and amazingly profitable Predictor model as the basis for my tips this week. It’s great to be at the first ‘classical’ course of the year at Torrey Pines and after the lottery of last week’s birdie fest, we move to a US Open course that will test every skill and facet of a professional golfer’s game. Mickelson makes his 2010 debut in a decent field but I’m staying away from his at a paltry but justified 6/1.
Instead I’m going for a mix of players who have decent course experience. PGA winners thrive on this coastal course near San Diego and I want players who are fighting back after disappointing 2009 seasons. There may well be method to my madness…..
Howell III has often been accused of over-promising and under delivering. However I’m thinking this could be a major breakthrough week for Tiger’s buddy. 4 Top 20s, including 3 Top 10s in 7 appearances highlights Charles’s love for Torrey Pines. 2nd behind his buddy in both 05 & 07 are included within those Top 10s. As we know ‘winners’ win at Torrey Pines and Howell is a two time PGA Tour winner. It’s the combination of three things that really appeal to me this week. Firstly he Ranks No4 in our Predictor model this week. Secondly he is a long hitter and that’s invaluable at Torrey Pines. Thirdly his career resume highlights that Charles plays tough classical style courses well when in-form. 5th and 26th in his last 2 outings show that his re-worked swing is starting to deliver results.
As we know Torrey Pines is a US Open course with 3 of the 4 rounds being played on the tough South course and that’s why I love the look of Brandt this week. I’ll build my case. He lives on Sea Island in Georgia so plays coastal style golf a lot plus he’s a PGA Tour winner. His record is littered with fantastic results on classical courses and in majors. 23rd in the 07 US Open on debut was backed up with an outstanding 3rd at the 08 Masters and 9th at that year’s US Open at…you guessed it Torrey Pines. The latter end of 2008 and early 2009 brought injury and bad form but Brandt is slowly but SURELY building a momentum. 3rd here on debut in 2007 and with good weather forecast I’d expect Snedeker to take forward his decent enough season opening form of last week at the BHC.
Troy Matteson isn’t a name that would jump to the front of the queue this week but like Frazer below it’s a name that keeps appearing when playing with the variables in our Predictor this week. Indeed he’s position 11 in our published model. Troy’s a 2 time PGA winner, so knows how to cross the finish line. The Floridian also has a feel for classical courses as anyone who studied at Georgia Tech would do with Augusta on your door step. In 2007 he went out in the final pairing with Tiger but predictably fell apart and shot 76. In 08 he shot an opening round 65 then dropped to an eventual 11th. 23rd at the SBS and 25th at the Sony show he’s playing well, allied to a victory in October at the Frys.com Open.
The malaise of Carl Pettersson’s 2009 season can be seen in one simple number. 212. That was the jovial Swede’s WGR at the turn of this year. After a stand-out 2008 the 3 time PGA Tour winner world turned upside down. Injury led to a total loss of form and eventually he lost his PGA Tour card. Winner’s exemptions have allowed him to compete in 2010 and Petterson is back as I predicted HERE. The reason I like the look of the Carolina’s based Swede this week is his liking of tough classical courses and his current improved form. 5th at the Sony Open has been followed by a T40 last week at the BHC (where his game really isn’t suited). 2nd here in 2003 and 6th here in the US Open in 2008 show that a T10 finish this week is well within Carl’s reach this week.Texan Frazar is your typical ‘middle of the road’ American pro. He won’t win the tournament but he constantly ranks in the Top 10 of our Predictor model this week and when you dig a little deeper you can see why. Being Texan he plays well in windy conditions. He’s a long driver which is an advantage at Torrey Pines and plays tough classical courses well. 10th here in 2001, and backed that up with 19th here last year. Frazar is more than capable of popping up with another Top 20 on one of his better courses.
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at time of publishing (20.30BST 26.1.10) but naturally subject to fluctuation.