Bubba Watson tees off on the 10th hole during the first round play at the Travelers Championship on June 20  (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant)
Bubba Watson tees off on the 10th hole during the first round play at the Travelers Championship on June 20 (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant)|Associated Press

Golf - Kern Picks Rocket Mortgage Classic; Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland are the Favorites

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Last week at the Travelers Championship, Paul Casey finished in the top five, as he always seems to do there. He was one of my three picks, but he finished six behind Chez Reavie, who I very nearly took as my real longshot since he was like 60-1. But almost doesn’t count in Vegas. Or at any of the Philly-area betting establishments either. Funny how that works. I could have had a big payday, but no.

So now we move on to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, as the PGA Tour returns to Detroit for the first time in a decade. It’s the first of three stops on a Midwest swing.

Anyway, Dustin Johnson is the fave, at 6-1. He’s the second-ranked player on the planet, and was second in the first two majors of the year. I’m just wondering how inspired he will be. But you never know. Rickie Fowler is 10. But his driver has not been accurate, which could really hurt him on this relatively short course. I would stay away. Gary Woodland, fresh off his first major win, is 12. As is Hideki Matsuyama. I just don’t see Woodland winning again so soon. There’s usually a hangover. Or he could still be hot.

Reavie is 20. But again, it’s hard to see him going back-to-back. Patrick Reed is 30. Ditto Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Kisner and Ryan Moore. Bubba Watson is 40, along with Sungjae In, Kevin Streelman and Aaron Wise, who had his moments at Pebble Beach. Both ways. Rory Sabbatini is 50. So is Charles Howell III, who happens to be my choice in the yearlong pool that I pick in December. That’s usually not a good thing. At least not this year. So far.

OK, here goes. I’m staying away from the short odds, just because I’m not necessarily in love with any of them. I’d rather take a chance at someone who might be a better return on the investment. So give me, for better or whatever, Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Streelman and (as a bonus) Rory Sabbatini.

Since I’m not picking anyone who’s less than 30-1 on the big board, I’m handing out four instead of the usual trio. Sue me. You don’t have to put much up to make a pretty decent score. For the most part that’s how we try to roll here. Like the par fives on the back nine at Augusta, it’s all about risk-reward. Any mid-handicapper can take the chalk, and sometimes that even gets you back to the windows too.

Pick: Bubba Watson (40-1)
Pick: Brandt Snedeker (30-1)
Pick: Kevin Streelman (40-1)
Pick: Rory Sabbatini (50-1)

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