USA's Patrick Cantlay, left, watches as captain Tiger Woods tees off during a practice session ahead of the President's Cup Golf tournament in Melbourne, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.
USA's Patrick Cantlay, left, watches as captain Tiger Woods tees off during a practice session ahead of the President's Cup Golf tournament in Melbourne, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. |Andy Brownbill | Associated Press

Golf: Kern picks the Presidents Cup and has a couple of Tiger Woods bets

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Ah, the Presidents Cup. It ain’t the Ryder Cup. Not even close. But since this is an odd-numbered year, it’s all we golfers have when it comes to an international competition. It’s just missing the venom of the Ryder Cup. So be it.

But hey, you still can bet on it. Which is what really matters, right?

This is the 13th time the American side has taken on the Internatonals, which is the rest of the world not including Europe. And the U.S. has lost only once. That was two decades ago, in Australia, where this year’s event is taking place. The U.S. team is loaded, even without the injured Brooks Koepka. But the last time times it was held down there it’s at least been relatively close, for whatever that means.

The Americans are -345 favorites, which seems like a lot to lay. But I’m not sure I would take the Internationals at +250 either. It’s a four-day event, so there’s a bunch of opportunities to play individual matches if that’s your thing. I would prefer to lay relatively low, and just have enough riding to maybe keep me interested.

And yes, you can actually bet it to end in a tie, and get 14-1 if it does. I predicted that one year in the paper, and it almost happened. Of course almost doesn’t get you paid. But it might be worth putting down a little bit, just in case. Hey you never know.

I think the neatest plays are the props, in particular who is going to be the leading point-getters for each team and overall. Justin Thomas is the low American, at 5-1. He’s playing really well right now, and will probably get a lot of opportunites to tee it up, which is definitely a factor. You can also get him at 8-1 to be the high overall scorer. Which, if you think the U.S. is going to win again anyway, might not be such a bad way to go. For the Americans I might also take a long look at Patrick Reed, at 9-1 to be low American and 12-1 to be low period. He tends to play well in these things, and the fact that he just got caught up in a cheating controversy figures to only fuel him. That’s his DNA. Just saying.

For the other guys, who by the way have a bunch of Aussies in the 12-man lineup, Adam Scott, who’s the most prominent among them, is 5-1 and 14-1, respectively. As is Hideki Matsuyama, who has a decent record in this. Louis Oosthuizen, who was that team’s high scorer two years ago, is 6.5-1 and 18-1. So if you think history can repeat, you could do worse.

As for U.S. captain Tiger Woods, who made himself one of his four at-large picks as the reigning Masters champion (he also won again in October after struggling through the summer), you can bet him to get over 1.5 points. I think that’s a decent play. He’s had two points each in his other two appearances at Royal Melbourne, and he’s playing with Thomas in the opening match, which can’t hurt. And remember a lot of this comes down to who you’re partnered with. You can also take Tiger to play in more than 2.5 matches, which I also think has a decent chance of covering.

Thomas and Scott you can play to go over 2.5 points.

Then, for better payouts, you can go for the final margin to be 1 point, at 7-1, 2 points at 2.5-1 or 3 points at 3.5-1. So have some fun and maybe you get lucky.

See you later in the week with the pro football picks, and maybe even something on Army-Navy, the only college game this Saturday. And we’ll start doing the golf again when the Tournament of Champions gets underway in Hawaii right after the New Year’s has been toasted.

And whatever happened to that decade anyhow? Went way too fast. And the older you get the faster it goes.


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