2 huge weeks on the golf calender coming up, the first of those the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and I'll be looking to add to Ross Fisher's 20/1 success last week with picks from a few different markets at Firestone C.C....
So much to play for over the next few weeks as the battle for Ryder Cup places comes to a climax, as well as world ranking points and money list positions with the Race To Dubai and the Playoffs drawing close. Some big players still lie outside automatic qualifying places for the Ryder cup and they will be looking to put that right with a big 2 weeks in America.
Ross Fisher and Padraig Harrington are 2 that are there or there abouts but after exploits in Ireland last week and a long plane journey, I'll have to avoid backing Fisher again this week albeit his driving ability gives him a huge advantage on a course like this. Harrington though, even though his driving was awful for the most part last week, has a top record at Firestone and could well feature again in a tournament he simple threw away last year.
Of the other notable market leaders, Steve Stricker is being widely tipped but I have my eye on him for next week when he plays the USPGA in his home state. Westwood as usual will be up there despite struggling with injury and Woods has owned this course in the past which surprises me as he's another that's wild off the tee.
The Firestone CC Course
Redesigned by Robert Trent Jones and playing about 7,400 yards to a par of 70, the premium is on hitting the right part of the fairway and as far down as possible on this tree lined track in order to be able to access the pins. Conditions are set to be fast and firm and greens will run @ 13 on the stimp. The rough length will have a big bearing on the scoring this week.
If you look at the leaderboards around Firestone in recent years, you will see that they are heavily loaded with the longer drivers of the golf ball and length combined with accuracy is what will give you a huge advantage here and that's mainly what my picks this week will be centered on:
WGC Bridgestone Selections Offering Value
Pick 1: Padraig Harrington E/W @ 22/1 (general) The 1 exception this week to the rule but the course must just fit his eye helping him to drive better, considering his record around Firestone. If he does drive the ball relatively well, his iron and scrambling play last week was some of the best golf you'll ever see and still being outside the Ryder Cup spots, keep your eye on him this week.
Pick 2: Ernie Els E/W @ 40/1 (general) Horses for courses and Els has all the attributes to tackle this 1. Don't be surprised to see the leaderboard littered with the really big names come Sunday.
Pick 3: Dustin Johnson E/W @ 50/1 (general)Has shown he can mix it with the stars in recent times, in good current form and again it's his driving ability that makes him a contender for me. His wedge play is what lets him down but he will have more long irons into the greens this week.
Pick 4: Robert Karlsson E/W (places 1-4) @ 28/1 (Totesport) Found his form again after a long time out with eye surgery and will be hoping to catch the eye of the Ryder Cup captain or even still get in automatically. Superb driver of the golf ball. Great value in this market.
Top Rest Of The World
Pick 5: KJ Choi E/W @ 14/1 (places 1-4 Betfred) Choi was the leader after 3 rounds in Sweden 2 weeks ago. He has the form and the driving ability and also the mentality for big tournaments. It all depends on the short stick for him this week.
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