PGA: Mike Kern picks the Waste Management Open and likes lots a Matsuyama, plus some longshots
We didn’t so well last week. It happens. None of our three picks survived the cut. So you move on and try to do better, while the rest of the world is more focused on the Super Bowl.
This week the PGA Tour is in Phoenix for the Waste Management. Here we go:
Jon Rahm is the favorite, as he should be, at 5.5-1. He was second last week and hasn’t finished worse than 10th in his last five stops worldwide. For whatever it’s worth he’s also +1.6 to finish in the top five, which is obviously a way to go without getting too much back. Which of course beats getting nothing back. Hey, it’s your money.
Justin Thomas, who won the Tournament of Champions in early January but is coming off a missed cut, is next at 9-1. Webb Simpson follows at 11-1. Then it’s defending champion Rickie Fowler at 12-1, Hideki Matsuyama at 14-1 and Xander Schauffele at 16-1. Hideki won this thing in 2016 and ’17 and has recent second and third-place finishes (he was 45th last week). Xander missed his first cut since August last week, but tied for 10th last year here with Rahm.
Bryson Dechambeau, who hasn’t done much lately, is 28-1. As is Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson, who has played well in this event without having a win to show for it. Gary Woodland is also 28-1. And just so you can’t say you weren’t warned, I have him in my yearlong pool. Often not a good whatever. Tony Finau, Collin Morikawaand, Brandt Snedeker, who played well last week, are all 33-1.
Sungjae Im is 35-1. Ryan Palmer, who also played well at Torrey Pines last week, is 40-1. Branden Grace, who was runnerup here in 2019, is 50-1. So is Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth, among others. Byeong Hun An is 66-1, as is Ryan Moore. An hasn’t finished worse than 23rd here in three appearances. And you can get 4.5-1 on him to end up in the top 10. Again, might be worth considering.
I will also mention Chez Reavie, at 80-1. He lost here in a playoff in 2018 and tied for fourth last year. And he’s an Arizona State guy. J.B. Holmes is 100-1. He played decent last week and has won here twice, even if it was a long time ago.
I’m going to stay away from Rahm and Thomas, mostly just because. Rahm especially is due to get himself a trophy. But we’ll look at some higher odds to invest in.
I was tempted to back Xander Schauffele, since I had him last week. Oops. Instead I’ll go with Hideki Matsuyama, at 14-1, due to his track record. He doesn’t win much, but he’s often in the hunt. Let’s hope maybe he can get it done this time. And you can always hedge it with a top five bet as well.
In the middle tier I’ll give Bubba Watson a shot, once more based on his track record. And he did play pretty well last week. I would also do the top five thing with him, just in case it’s only another close call.
I’m going to give out two longshots: Byeong Hun An, at 66-1. I think he could be a live underdog. And he’s definitely worth even just a top 10 bet, at 4.5-1, too. Also, put a few bucks on Chez Reavie, at 80-1. With the obligatory top five or 10 insurance. His record here is just tough to ignore, but he is 80 for a reason. Never lose sight of that. It’s just a hunch.
If you really want to get nuts you could do the same with J.B. Holmes at 100-1, for much the same reasons. You don’t have to risk a lot, but you could get a bunch in return.
See you next week at Pebble Beach, where we had the winner last year (Phil Mickelson, at 40-1). And be on the lookout the rest of the week for my bets for Sunday’s game in Miami.
Yo, we’re all in this together.