by Matt Tizzard (@MattTizzard)
A fantastic Waggle Duff last week, well done to INNIT STORE and thanks one last time to the amazing sponsors; INNIT & HoleSaleGolf. You can find the results here and the league table will be updated tomorrow. There won’t be a Waggle Duff this week for the RBC, only this RBC Heritage Betting Preview & Tips, but we will be doing Fantasy Golf for the Zurich in a couple of weeks.
My betting Masters was, well, poor. Despite being away on a stag do Thursday, Friday, Saturday and at a Wedding Sunday (leaving yesterday morning). I did pretty well to keep up to date.
At the cut, Fitzpatrick, Hatton (we all saw what happened here) & Berger were in position. I thought one maybe 2 would push on. I also selected these players knowing the scoring would not massively improve through the week holistically and they are steely players. This was correct. Scheffler got to -8 on Friday and finished winning on -10.
So, I do like my play, but I do not like the results.
Very surprised in Tyrrell Hatton’s comments that he couldn’t wait to get off the course. You have won at Wentworth mate, and to be honest, playing Augusta National is a privilege.
Very, very, surprised that Matt Fitzpatrick & Billy had a barny (hopefully it was just northern banter).
Very, very, very, surprised to see Daniel Berger going down with what looked like food posing. Irony in the name?
Just to rub salt into the wound, Min Woo Lee who I got at 250/1 did reach the T7 with 9 holes to play. He then dropped 4 in a row to fall out of a place! Que Sara (or something like that).
RBC HERITAGE OVERVIEW
Onto this week and as a betting man I prefer these events. Obviously, I prefer to watch the majors, but these types of events I do find easier to spot value. The RBC Heritage is 7121 yards of Pete Dye, Bermuda green grass. A tree lined course, which dog legs this way and that. Played here since 1969 and traditionally the event that comes after The Masters.
The course has water hazards on almost every hole, but they do not always come into play like a Florida style course. However, there are many streams and ponds fronting the greens.
What the Players say about Harbour Town
Luke Donald – “It’s a classic golf course, It’s one you have to really manage your game around. You have to think your way around very well. And obviously the greens are the smallest greens we’ll play all year.”
Rory McIlroy – “I’m just not comfortable and sort of trying to pick lines and really commit to shots. I just was not as committed today as I need to be around here.”
The picture I am building is that the course is narrow, the greens are small, and it suits a thinker that can move the ball both ways.
In recent years, the scoring has been much lower that what we traditionally see. There is an argument not to consider Webb Simpsons 2020 win, because the course was much easier given the time of year due to the COVID delay. However, Stewart Cink turned up last year with his son Reagen on the bag and they plotted their way round to finish -19. I suspect that it will be around that number this year because we are blessed with an exceptionally strong field. However, it could be -15 looking at the weather and some scattered shower storms predicted.
To be concise, the course it set up for the accurate player. This is because of the “postage stamp greens”, you will only find smaller at Pebble Beach. So being accurate with the irons is essential in going low, and yes, you can go low. We need to find players that are relatively straight, can get into position and then are lethal with the irons.
Looking at the data below, this theory is affirmed. Strokes gained in approach is a key to success, with many players finding themselves inside the T10 on the week they won. I note that only Cink last year averaged over 300 yards (312) and the next best around 280 was Simpson and Grace.
A final note on the historical recipe is that the winner does not always putt the life out of it. Now, we do mostly need to putt well to win, however its not essential this week. I am looking for players that can find the green, particularly with a lower proximity to the hole. Typically, some players with high GIR may be finding the green but be 40ft away. That easily is in a bunker, pond or the rough at Harbour Town.
The Masters performance is something I will consider. Historically it is 50/50 if that is a key. CT Pan, Wesley, Peterson & Brian Gay in 09 did not play The Masters but won this event.
Therefore, I will analyse GIR, SGT2G & Masters performance before selecting my bets / tips for the week. I am looking totally at GIR because finding fairways at Harbour Town is not essential but overall finding the small putting service is.
GIR 2022 on The PGA Tour
Certainly, a simplistic view to look at the GIR stat holistically. However, with fairways not being always the order of the day, just being the right side of the trees. I want to know who does find the GIR in 2022.
Collin Morikawa 2u 14/1 Boyle Sports
I can honestly say, I got so obsessed with The Masters that I over complicated it and missed with egg on face! Therefore, when you think expert iron players, people like Zalatoris & Morikawa spring to mind. This course should suit Collin Morikawa’s laser irons play. He is 10th in GIR this week and 32nd on tour from between 120-150 yards all season. This stat plays a part, because you can stand on most tees here and hit a 4 iron, 3 wood or Driver. When the player elects for shorter clubs of the tee, that is when we will see some of the shorter holes having this yardage in.
Collin found something last week at Augusta didn’t he? Finishing 5th with the exceptional partnership with McIlroy. I know they were competing, but it did feel like a partnership that round!
Morikawa is only 25 so doesn’t have a large amount of course history, although he did finish 7th here last year.
Adam Hadwin 1u EW 40/1 Boyle Sports
Adam Hadwin is playing well. That is the ultimate reason. 3 Top 10s in a row at Sawgrass, The Valspar and the Valero. He picks up 0.6 shots on the field in SGAPR and from the GIR chart, features in 12th. He also does fit the mould by being a player that slightly looses shots in SGOTT. Similarly, to CT Pan and Bryan in their victories.
I know many tipsters are hot on Hadwin this week, with his form and player profile, it’s a genuine match.
Russell Knox 1u EW 66/1 Boyle Sports
Ok, so everyone knows that Russell struggles to put 4 rounds together at the moment. I know this and you know this. However, if there was a course where I can see him doing the business, it would be Harbour Town. His 7th at Sony and T6th at TPC Sawgrass is certainly an indicator the game is there or there abouts and can suit Harbour Town.
The thing that stuck out for me in my approach homework is that he appears a lot in many of the categories.
We saw a couple of weeks ago at the Valero that Russell has the game right now. He opened with a 65 and disappointed many with his 76 on day 2. I had a certain Waggle Duffer DM’ing me on Twitter after! I am going with Russell this week as I believe this place suits his game much better. He is 1st on tour for GIR, a simplistic view I do agree but he is also 11th on Proximity to the hole. Some of the players that score well on GIR maybe hitting the larger style greens that would miss round Harbour Town.
Russell has won twice on tour, so despite my 4-round worries, he can close and has looked more like doing so over recent months. Finally, and in a similar trend, Russell has 3 MC’s here in a row, yet. Has also has 2 top 10s and 4 top 20s in 9 years. So, another good year is due, right?
Finally, I will have 2u on Patrick Cantlay, 0.5u EW on Danny Willet (100/1) and 0.5u Andrew Putnam (125/1). Danny was excellent at times last week and Andrew was T6 at Pebble Beach, likes those smaller greens! I was only going to do Danny, but I really like that price on Putnam.
Thank you for reading, I hope it helps The Waggle Duff community and all with your plays. I will be back with a Zurich betting preview and a Waggle Duff fantasy golf. Till then, enjoy this week!