This is only the second year the event has been held, which means there’s not a whole lot of track record to study.
And so, the PGA Tour moves along to the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, which was supposed to be played five weeks ago. The top five golfers in the world rankings are taking the week off, as is Tiger Woods, who of course has yet to tee it up since the sport resumed following that three-month layoff.
This is only the second year the event has been held, which means there’s not a whole lot of track record to study. But, as always, we’ll try our best. Which so far hasn’t been good enough. But the season has a long way to go.
The two best players who are in the field are the favorites. Bryson Dechambeau is 6-1. He has finished in the top 10 in like his last 10 starts. That doesn’t mean he’s going to win. Just means there’s a decent chance he’s going to be on the leaderboard. Of course, you know how that can work. Hey, you could always bet him to finish in the top five, at 1.5-1, and just leave it at that. You wouldn’t get much back, but you probably have a decent shot at cashing, which is all that matters. But I can’t roll that way. Sorry.
Webb Simpson, who won two weeks ago before taking last week off, is 10-1. Terrell Hatton is 12-1, Patrick Reed 14-1. He tied for fifth here a year ago. Viktor Hovland, a promising youngster, is 18-1. Hideki Matsuyama is 16-1. I just wish he was able to win more. But he’s really good. Sungjae Im, who’s been one of my favorites, is 18-1.
Tony Finau, another guy who just doesn’t win, is 22-1. Rickie Fowler, who hasn’t won in over a year, is 30-1. Which is a pretty good number for a guy with that much potential. But usually it’s that way for a reason. Then again, Dustin Johnson won last week at pretty similar odds.
Kevin Na and Doc Rodman, a guy a bunch of people seem to like in this spot, are 33-1 with Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler. Brandt Snedeker, who played well here last year and seems to do well on Donald Ross greens, is 40-1. Lucas Glover and J.T. Poston are 45-1. Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Kurt Kitayama and Rory Sabbatini are all 50-1.
Brendon Todd, who led last week after three rounds, is 60-1. Si Woo Kim and Harold Varner are 66. Some other names worth mentioning are Alex Noren at 70-1, Kevin Kisner at 80-1, Keegan Bradley at 90-1 and Matthew Wolf at 100-1. Defending champion Nate Lashley, who only got in the field as a late alternate, is 150-1.
You know me, I don’t like to go with the chalk unless I’m really convinced. But this week I would take a hard look at Dechambeau. I just don’t like the odds, given the nature of the sport. But I’d be surprised if he doesn’t give it a good run. So just because I’d put something on him and then look for a few longer shots in the mid-range and/or higher end.
If you don’t like Dechambeau, the next guy I would take a stab at among the faves is Patrick Reed, at 14-1. Just a feeling.
In that next group I think I would lean toward Brandt Snedeker, at 40-1. Just call it a feeling. And you know how hunches can work. But he’s one of those fellows who can go on a roll with his putter. And it’s probably going to take a low score to get it done here. Last year the winning score was in the mid 20s under.
I’ll give you two longer shots. The first is Brendon Todd at 60-1. I know he probably can’t play that well two weeks in a row, but it’s a high number for someone that just did. As long as he forgets about his final round implosion, which might be asking too much. So, tread lightly, by all means. That’s why he’s a longer shot.
And to really get a little crazy throw a couple of bucks on Matthew Wolff, at 100-1. He’s the guy who played with Rickie Fowler in that match against Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson last month. So maybe there’s some kind of karma there.
Good luck with it. And we’ll catch up again next week at the Workday Charity Open, which takes the place of the cancelled John Deere Classic in Illinois. That one will be played at Muirfield Golf Club in suburban Columbus, Ohio, which of course will also host Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial Tournament the following week, five weeks later than usual. And that will supposedly be the first event that will have fans. It might also be the first time Tiger tees it up. Never a bad thing.
A Faves pick: Patrick Reed
A Hunch: Brandt Snedeker
A Long shot: Brendon Todd
A little crazy: Matthew Wolff
ROCKET MORTGAGE CLASSIC
Course: Detroit GC. Yardage: 7,340. Par: 72.
Purse: $7.5 million. Winner's share: $1.35 million.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).