Paul Williams' Longshots & Alternative Bets for the 2012 Players Championship. Twitter @Golfbetting
Time after time the big tournaments return winners at some incredibly long prices. Charl Schwartzel was available at 90/1 before his Augusta triumph last year; Louis Oosthuizen was an incredible 250/1 before his demolition of the field at St Andrews in 2010. Don't think that Louis' triumph was a one-off as Stewart Cink was priced at 135/1 when he won the Open at Turnberry in 2009. With some bookies already extending their each-way terms to 6 places, the scope for getting a great Each Way return, or even a shock winner, is definitely there again this week at TPC Sawgrass!
The key to longshot bargain hunting is naturally picking the right players, but just as key is selecting the right BOOKMAKER. The following bookies have all extended their each way terms to 6 places so far this week, giving you an extra chance to land a longshot result:
So, I'm sure you'll have read Steve Bamford's outright tips for the 2012 Players Championship, however who of the outsiders has a chance of making the frame and rewarding each way backers? Here's my pick of the bunch
As I said before Augusta, form is temporary, class is permanent and you don't win 3 Majors without being a truly top-class player. Harrington very nearly produced an each-way payout for us at 125/1 that week but ultimately finished in a tie for 8th place, despite a double bogey on his 72nd hole and missing enough chances inside 10 feet on Sunday to have been right up there with Bubba and Oosthuizen at the business end of the tournament.
Breezy conditions expected in Florida this week will once again play right into the hands of the Irishman on a course where he's twice finished runner-up in past. Harrington is an outstanding player of tougher, technical tracks and has a great record on Bermuda grass greens - plus of course his short game is exquisite, which could well be critical this week as missed greens could well be commonplace if the wind and rain sets in. A course record 61 at the technical Copperhead course earlier this term, coupled with his vastly improved tee-to-green performance at Augusta, suggests that his game is very close once again and if the putts drop this week then expect Harrington to be in the mix at what I think is an incredible price. RESULT: MC
Colombian Camilo Villegas finished 2011 in fine form with 3 top-6 finishes in 4 events at The Barclays, BMW Championship and the CIMB Asia Pacific - bouncing back after what had been a largely disappointing season on the PGA Tour. That came off the back of an impressive win at the Honda Classic in 2010, proving that his back-to-back Playoff victories in 2008 weren't just a one-off. It's a surprise then that 2012 has started so poorly - no top 10s in 11 starts, 4 missed cuts and currently sitting a lowly 111th on the money list....so why are you even contemplating him this week, I hear you cry! Let me build you a case for 'Spiderman'...
Villegas is at his best on Florida-style courses, tracks that are technical in nature and feature Bermuda grass greens - his wins at PGA National and East Lake are excellent pointers towards success this week. 3rd here on debut in 2006 suggests that the course suits his eye and although he hasn't achieved those levels since, TPC Sawgrass is a venue that I can see Camilo succeeding on at some point in his career.
His last 2 starts have shown significantly more promise than his early 2012 form - 18th at TPC Louisiana a fortnight ago contained 2 bogey-free rounds for an 11-under par total on what is essentially a resort course less likely to suit Camilo; 32nd last week at Quail Hollow would have been better were it not for a +3 finish in his final 12 holes when a top 10 was equally likely at that stage. Villegas ranked 6th last week for accuracy (his weakest suit historically) and inside the top 20 for total putts and strokes gained - for me he's warming up to a contending performance once again and if it is this week then we could benefit from a very tasty price into the bargain! RESULT: MC
Aussie Allenby isn't everybody's cup of tea with his off-course comments and on-course demeanour at times, however I can't overlook him here from a betting perspective given that his long, accurate game could be a huge asset this week when proven ball-strikers may well have an advantage in tougher conditions. With 22 wins under his belt worldwide, Allenby is a class act at his best, however no victory since 2009 has taken its toll on his World Ranking and at 76th in the OWGR he needs to notch a victory soon to ensure he gets access to the biggest tournaments around the World.
Robert should have secured victory in Mexico earlier this season when a 72nd hole double bogey let John Huh sneak into a playoff which he ultimately lost on the 8th playoff hole, in turn allowing Huh to grab his maiden victory. That was tough going on Allenby and his results suffered a bit afterwards, however a return to golf that best suits his game is just what the doctor ordered and I can see him bouncing back to form here this week. 4th here in 2003 and 2nd in 2010 suggests that the Aussie understands the course and it will only take an average week with the putter for him to feature here assuming his long game is up to speed, which it usually is...RESULT: T61
Alternative Market Betting
Our alternative market bets at the 2012 Masters (click here to read those selections) all produced a tidy profit, so let's see if we can build on that with a couple of decent-looking punts here this week:
Ben Crane will be a popular selection for punters this week given his excellent form at TPC Sawgrass over the last few years with finishes of 6th (2008), 5th (2009) and 4th (2010) jumping off the page. Runner up at Phoenix earlier this term would suggest his game is in good nick right now, plus a sparkling second round 64 at Quail Hollow (joint best of the week) shows that he can deliver a great 18 holes even on tougher courses. In his last 5 attempts at Sawgrass his position after day 1 has read as follows (from 2006, didn't play 2007): 6/-/9/1/3/10 - that's consistency of the highest order and another quick start is eminently possible here - 55/1 is worth taking on to ask the question...RESULT: T4, +12.75 Points
The ever-smiling Kuchar is one of the most consistent and dependable players on the PGA Tour and whilst he may lack that ruthless, attacking nature that could have won him a few more titles, he's absolutely perfect for a top 20 bet this week. Our top 20 selection Jim Furyk paid out at the same price at Augusta and I see no reason why that trend shouldn't continue here this week in Florida. His TPC Sawgrass form is solid as you'd expect with 3 top-20 finishes from 6 starts and for me that would suggest even money is a more appropriate price here this week for a Kuchar top 20. 4 top 20s in 5 attempts at Copperhead including 10th this season also shows a player who is comfortable with this type of challenge. 3rd at Augusta was a classy effort and overall form in his last 6 events of 5/8/10/3/44/13 is more than enough encouragement for me here. RESULT: Winner, +8 Points
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 18:00BST 8.5.12 but naturally subject to fluctuation.