Tom Ford I Golf Tips, opens his Waggle Duff account with a beauty of a preview as the PGA Tour heads to Mexico. Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter, which you can find here. He is big into Golf & Racing and will give Waggle Duff adhoc breakdowns of the upcoming tournaments. Welcome aboard Tom! Now let’s get into it….
Landing Jordan Smith…. Literally at last.
Before we discuss the WTT Mayakoba betting preview. Jordan Smith, last week, cruised into victory and it was one purely tipped up on form, a win that, let’s be honest, was due after he had 13 out of 21 top 20 finishes in 2022, with two runner-ups. Around 20/1, in my eyes, was an absolute steal that I couldn’t ignore. He also looked scarily good once he got a few shots ahead, especially come Sunday; his accuracy off the tee was immaculate and something to look out for in the future.
The Bermuda Championship, or the wind tunnel they were all in, was much more eventful, a two-horse race it looked like until Ben Griffin folded like a cheesy omelette. It seemed that nobody could deal with the wind off the tee, and there were some odd club selections down the back 9 for much of the field at the top. A late surge from Thomas Detry wasn’t enough to clear Seamus Power, who just limped over the line.
I question here the amount of FedEx Cup points the PGA Tour has made available for a fall event that still doesn’t attract any big names. Not that Seamus Power will moan, but I wonder how much you can take from that event and whether it’ll affect the Fedex standings going into next year.
We head to Mexico for the WTT Mayakoba Classic
This week we head to Mexico and back to Mayakoba for probably the last time on the PGA Tour. One of the factors that come to my head with this course and location this week is; we are still at a resort course, which is not dissimilar to what we saw last week in Bermuda. This means low scores, and being accurate is much more paramount than distance. The difference to last week is that this is more likely to be played in a vacuum than a wind tunnel; I expect to see a bunched Sunday full of top ball strikers.
There is a bigger $7.2 million purse this week, so we see a field attracting 10 of the top 40 in the world, which will impact my picks, my thoughts and your lineups if you are looking at something like a Draftkings lineup. It’s a par 71, so we are missing a big Par 5, and the course is relatively short and does play as one of the easiest courses on tour. I want to be able to tell you here that we are going to find an absolutely big odds steal this week, bang for your buck kind of week. However, we are seeing the average odds of the tournament winner come down and down every week, no matter the strength of the field. We will find some great value this week with some strange betting lines to be taken advantage of.
Key trends for this week…
When I start my analysis and trends every week, I always look for what the winner will do well and what he will not get wrong. This week apart from what I have already mentioned about distance not being a factor, for me, this week it’s going to be a ball strikers paradise. The conditions will be soft, we will get more rain on Thursday, and I fully expect the winner to be firing darts and being in the top 5 for Strokes Gained Approach.
Also, part of my model is going to be driving accuracy; obviously, to be high up on the approach stats this week, you have got to put the ball in the fairway, and the winner here every year is always putting the ball in the right place, no one winning this tournament is going to be bad off the tee.
As always, we much touch upon the greens and the putting. Paspalum greens are pretty rare on the PGA tour, so finding trends and players that putt well on this surface can be challenging. But I am happy to look back at previous tournaments here and the likes of other resort courses in Mexico and places like TPC Kuala Lumpa that have hosted tournaments with some of these players in the field to find some positives for vital putting stats on Paspalum surfaces.
So to summarise to assemble my model for this week these are the trends I am looking for;
- SG OFF THE TEE
- SG APPROACH
- Driving Accuracy
- Soft Positive
- Resort positive
- SG Putting
- Paspalum Positive
- Some recent form last ¾ weeks
Here is how that model looks for Top 25 along with their average betting odds; there certainly is a Waggle Duff fantasy League team within here. As many players reach over 50/1!
- Viktor Hovland 10/1
- Tom Hoge 28/1
- Andrew Putnam 66/1
- Billy Horschel 18/1
- Emiliano Grillo 35/1
- Brendon Todd 45/1
- KyoungHoon Lee 45/1
- Joel Dahmen 75/1
- Maverick McNealy 25/1
- Aaron Wise 18/1
- Hayden Buckley 75/1
- Tony Finau 16/1
- Taylor Montgomery 28/1
- Sam Ryder 200/1
- Kevin Streelman 90/1
- Jason Day 40/1
- Collin Morikawa 16/1
- Seonghyeon Kim 110/1
- Alexander Noren 55/1
- Brian Harman 45/1
- Mark Hubbard 90/1
- Ryan Armour 200/1
- Lee Hodges 75/1
- Harris English 60/1
- Scott Piercy 225/1
At the top
Let’s start at the top; I mean, why wouldn’t we right? So I’m not sure why Scottie Sheffler is ahead of Viktor Hovland here in the betting; I mean, yes, he is world number 2 now after Rory took the mantle two weeks ago; however, Hovland is on a three-timer here, and we know how much he loves these shorter courses and how well he normally plays in the fall season.
That being said, this week, yes, I prefer Viktor to Scottie. However, I am happy for both of them to be a fade of mine this week. Scottie’s putting is a problem currently; he can’t seem to find the cup, and Viktor is just not playing as strong as he was a year ago; I would like to see him in the top echelons of data for SG OFF THE TEE stats to even think about having a go on him at that price, just no value for me.
So with that being said, my thoughts this week come from the next set of guys, Morikawa, Big Tone Finau, Aaron Wise and Billy Ho; surely one of these guys has a great chance? Now I tipped up Billy Ho a few weeks back at the CJ Cup, and I did see some good signs from him but not enough to suggest he was pumped and raring to go like he was at Jacks’s place in the summer.
Morikawa, again for me trending in the right places and could really shoot something low this week but putting four rounds together right now, I don’t see happening. Wise and Finau are here for me, out of all the field at the top, the ones to really focus on. I expect one if not both, to be in my picks this week and will almost certainly be in plenty of others’ content in the next few days if you are looking about.
To see previous winners by the way at this tourney please have a look at @waggleduff preview and picks to see the full list.
Down the middle
Now I want to talk about the middle of the market this week, mainly because I think this is where we are getting most of our value. There are ball strikers here like Hoge, Day, Todd, Detry, and Henley, who stand out to me. This group has a good mixture of finding fairways and greens consistently, which leaves me in a great place to lead, with one of these guys as my main pick.
There are also some notable players that I have to mention here whom you can’t avoid looking at, mainly because this course suits them so much.
Emiliano Grillo, well, what can I say? Just look at his price, everything points towards him having a great week; he loves resort courses, loves short soft conditions, and his latest win coming on a resort course at the Fortinet Championship backs up his 4 out of 5 top 15 finishes here at Mayakoba in the past, worth noting. Brian Harman is another player who is perfect for these courses where finding the fairway is key and not being a bomber off the tee as important. Adam Long, great form here at Mayakoba in recent years, another you can’t ignore, and you’ll be getting a great price.
Looking at the model, the likes of Putnam, Montgomery, McNealy, Ryder, Streelman, and even SH Kim do pop off the list and I can see these players here going to shoot lows scores throughout this week. Niggling away though, there is just something about all of them that tells me they can’t get the job done across the four days and notably when it matters on a Sunday. However, I must mention these are the likes of players I would look at for First-Round Leads and DraftKings lineups if that is the markets you are looking in.
My thoughts and plays
I want to hold out for another check on the weather this week due to some high winds, mainly at the beginning of the week and who could be on the wrong side of the draw. But this does not put me off Tony Finau or Arron Wise, to be honest with you. The latter of which, maybe not be strong enough with his putting like the former is recently, so I prefer big Tone for sure.
Tom Hoge ticks many boxes, his Irons could be hitting top form, and his driving accuracy is right up there. This week, most of the Par 4’s are around 420-450 relatively short yards, and Hoge will have wedges into many of these holes. In contrast, some of the other ball strikers in and around 30/1 will have more like a nine iron which can make a big difference between 10ft putts and 20ft putts, which as we know accumulates to more birdie chances.
I also really like some guys here that are coming under the radar a bit; KH Lee at 45/1 looks excellent value. Likewise, Brendon Todd, same price, and both these players are so accurate off the tee. I’ve had some looks at some higher prices; Matt Kuchar stands out as someone who could get a top 10 here, same with Sam Ryder, whom I mentioned earlier, who is at a massive 200/1 in most places. Jason Day at 40/1 could be a little too short for me here; I’d like the number to be around 60/1 to be comfortable to back him, however, plays on him along with Andrew Putnam for first-round leader are both something I am comfortable with doing.
Picks and Tips
- Tom Hoge 35/1 (3pt win) Bet365
- Tony Finau 22/1 (1.5pt win) bet365
- KH Lee 45/1 8 places (0.5pts ew)
- Adam Long 75/1 8 places (0.5pts ew)
- Emiliano Grillo Top 5 9/1 (1pt)
- Matt Kuchar Top 10 7/1 (1pt)