Bet PGA Golf: It's the Zozo Championship and Kern has picks — including Tiger Woods — but go light on him
Where and when to watch: Thursday-Sunday, 5-8 p.m. on The Golf Channel.
This week it’s the Zozo Championship, from the Sherwood Country Club in California, where Tiger Woods is the defending champion. That was also the last time he won, or even did much of anything. Speaking of which, we didn’t cash at all last week, for the first time in awhile. Let’s try to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
It’s another one of those limited field, 78-player tournaments. And Tiger, who hasn’t played since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, had to get a special exemption since he didn’t finish high enough in the FedEx Cup standings. Since there is no cut, more people will obviously be watching because of him. No matter what he does or doesn’t do. That’s just the way it works. We should know that by this time.
Anyway, the usual suspects are the faves. Jon Rahm, who played OK last week in his first start since the Open, is 9-1. Xander Schauffele, who almost won last week, is 10-1. Rory McIlroy, who is having issues with his iron play, is 11-1. As is Justin Thomas. Webb Simpson is 16-1. Tyrrell Hatton, who almost won last week after winning the week before that in Europe, is 18-1. Ditto PGA champion Collin Morikawa.
Next is Patrick Reed at 22-1, followed by Hideki Matsuyama at 25-1. Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Matthew Wolff and Tony Finau are 28-1. Finau is back after missing a few weeks for a positive Covid test. Viktor Hovland and Woods are 30-1. Matthew Fitzpatrick, Jason Kokrak, Scottie Scheffler and Bubba Watson are 33-1. Kokrak of course is coming off his first career victory in over 200 tries.
Joaquin Niemann is 35-1, Tommy Fleetwood 40-1. Adam Scott and Sungjae Im are 45-1. Abraham Ancer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Russell Henley are 50-1. Henley almost won last week too.
Here’s a few others: Phil Mickelson, coming off his second Senior Tour win in as many starts, is 66-1. Justin Rose is 70-1. Brendon Todd is 80-1, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Streelman are at 100-1. You can check out anyone else for yourself.
As I say all the time, if you want to put like five bucks on Tiger just because, I have no problem with that. Hey, he’s Tiger. And he’s won four times on this course. But go light. Because at the moment it’s hard to find enough good reasons other than the fact that he is who he is.
Likewise, I would maybe put a little something on Phil. Specially to get a top 10 at 6-1. I could see him playing well but just not having quite enough at this point to get it all the way done. And he’s also 12-1 to get you a top five. Again, nothing too large. It’s more or less just a sign of respect.
As for the guys near the top of the list, I think I would take a shot with Tyrrell Hatton, at 18-1. He’s been real good the last two weeks, and I’m guessing that continues. To what degree is the only question.
The other fave I would take an extra close look at is Xander Schauffelle. He usually gives you a good run for your investment. And he’s plus $250 for a top five, which might be worth some money as well. Hatton, by the way, is plus $400. So go that way with him too.
In the next tier I think I like Bubba Watson. And plus $750 for a top five. Just have a feeling he could be in for a big week. But I’ve had those feelings before that sometimes turn to mush, so remember it’s only an opinion. Hopefully an educated one.
If you’re looking for longshots I’m going to give you a few. Cause you don’t have to play much to maybe get a nice payday. Kevin Streelman at 100-1 deserves a buck or two, and he’s plus $1,600 for a top five and plus $800 for a top 10. Go across the board.
Then we have Mackenzie Hughes, who has three top 10s in his last five starts. He’s 150-1, but just as enticing is he’s 28-1 for a top five and half that for a top 10. Go for it. You won’t lose much and you might get lucky. Or we might get lucky.
You want one more? I’ll throw out Marc Leishman, at 125-1. And 22-1 for a top five, 11-1 for a top 10. He hasn’t been playing well, but he’s capable. And at those numbers who knows? People do surprise.
And is it really only three more weeks until we get a November Masters? Can’t wait. Of course, Tiger will be the defending champ there too.