From one dry climate to the next, the PGA Tour rolls on. This time, it’s for a tremendous cause.
The Shriners Hospitals for Children is a network of 22 non-profit hospitals spread across North America and headquartered in Tampa, Florida.
Children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries as well as those with a cleft lip or palate are eligible for care regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
The hospitals have been providing care for 97 years and counting with a patient count of children treated that is now up to 1.4 million.
If you tune in to the Tournament, you’ll notice that there will be patients walking alongside players as well as assisting with holding scorecards among other tasks.
They will even have auctions for extra money and all of the proceeds will go directly to the hospitals.
Sin City isn’t all bad.
Las Vegas plays host for the PGA Tour this week at the highly popular TPC Summerlin golf course.
Summerlin is a beautiful suburb of the valley cut out of the surrounding mountains so there will be elevation but depending on who you are, 2700 feet isn’t that much.
It is enough to make the drives fly a little farther and driving accuracy will probably play a pivotal role than distance this week.
Approach is also huge as are the greens. If you can’t hit the greens when needed, you’re going to have a long day.
Not only is the command of your iron play in question but the sand traps are some of the most difficult you’ll see on the Tour all year.
That’s saying a lot for a resort course where a birdie and eagle fest is projected along with a winning score somewhere around 20 under par.
Last year, Bryson “Slo-mo” Dechambeau was in excellent form and he shot minus 21 holding off Patrick Cantlay by one shot.
Other notables in the top twenty were Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, and then-rookie Sungjae Im.
Simpson’s play is absolutely exceptional in Las Vegas. He is on the radar but I’m not sure about backing him to win as his last appearance was a disappointing one at the Tour Championship in August when he shot 3 over par for the tournament.
Woodland is also making his first Tour appearance since the finality of last season where he also had an over par performance at the Tour Championship.
Speaking of golfers making their first Tour appearance since the last one of the previous season, Brooks “Big Poppa Pump” Koepka cannot go without mention.
Not surprisingly, he is at the top of the betting board with odds of (+800).
Could his high-profile girlfriend keep him out late on the strip this week or is America’s best golfer coming into his week 1 fully focused?
My bet is somewhere in the middle. I’m not against a bet on Brooks but there are some other golfers in the field whose odds carry more value.
BetOnline.AG has the betting lines for us this week.
Let’s dive in and attack what is easily the strongest field of this young PGA Tour season.
- To Win: +4000
- Top 5: +1000
- Top 10: +500
- Top 20: +210
- First Round: +5000
Everybody’s favorite former hockey player moonlighting as an elite golfer, “Happy” Adam Hadwin is coming off of a runner-up performance last week at the Safeway Open.
The made-up brother of New York Yankee Aaron Judge, slugger Cameron Champ edged out the Canadian.
A bit of a reach but both are redheads with all-world power.
Adam, though, is a golfer who will not be short on motivation this week.
You can imagine that he very much wants to be on the President’s Cup International Team captained by the legendary Ernie Els.
Joaquin Niemann, Jason Day, and Sungjae Im are likely going to take three of the available spots so that leaves one captain’s pick left for an international player.
He would represent his hometown of Moose Jaw quite well.
Unlike his doppelganger Happy Gilmore, Adam is putting the ball at a very high level at the moment. He was 3rd in shots gained putting last week.
With 4th and 6th place finishes in the past few months, he is in solid form.
It’s Hadwin’s performance on desert courses that piques my interest, though.
Four straight top 6 placings at PGA West and a top ten finish here at Summerlin in his first appearance show that the Canadian surprisingly plays well in the southwest desert courses of the United States.
It’s a very very talented field so let’s take him at a little better than 2 to 1 to slide into the top twenty.
- To Win: +2000
- Top 5: +450
- Top 10: +225
- Top 20: +100
- First Round: +3300
The 39-year-old from Adelaide, Australia is playing some of if not the best golf in the world in the past couple of months.
He hasn’t placed outside of the top 17 since last July.
5th, 9th, and 6th throughout the FedEx Cup Playoffs and a top twenty performance knocking off the dust last week at Silverado set him up for a nice run this week in Vegas.
Over the two month span I spoke of, Scott is…
- 1st in putts per greens in regulation
- 1st in shots gained approach
- 1st in shots gained around the green
- 2nd in shots gained tee to green
- And, not surprisingly, 1st in shots gained total
Driving accuracy is the only thing I’m worried about with Adam. The fairways are wide but even though it’s not in the current forecast, the wind can pick up at the base of a mountain fairly quickly.
A lot of people don’t know this but there’s a 12,000-foot peak, Mt. Charleston, just 30 minutes away from this area of Northwest Vegas.
Tee to green and putting are the big 2 parameters for TPC Summerlin and he is 1st in both in the past 8 weeks.
Do you need more than that?
- To Win: +3300
- Top 5: +450
- Top 10: +250
- Top 20: +110
- First Round: +3300
The North Carolina native is making his first appearance on the Tour since the conclusion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Coming into said playoffs, Webb had two consecutive second-place finishes.
Normally, I would fade a golfer in his first Tour appearance of the year but his course history at TPC Summerlin is second to none.
Going back to 2014, he has 15th, 20th, and 4th place finishes here and in 2013, he won it with an astounding 24 under par!
He performed 6 shots better than the entire field in that win.
With 4 victories on pure bentgrass greens, only Zach Johnson betters him with 5.
It’s a short course so his age and diminishing power shouldn’t hold him back from reaching the greens on par 5s.
He has said that he loves playing here and it reminds him of courses he played growing up even though he is from the south with humid air.
Long regarded as one of the more serious players on the Tour and his aforementioned age of nearly 40 years old tells me he will likely stay out of the nearby Red Rock Casino poker rooms this week.
I expect him to be in contention throughout the weekend.
The PGA Tour is officially back!
What a better tournament for some of the worlds best to make the first appearance of the 2019-2020 season, really.
For one, it’s Las Vegas.
For two, it’s not mid-Summer.
And far more importantly, the tournament is benefitting one of, if not the best charity in the world.
The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is a star-studded event every year and recently has been won by some of the best golfers on the PGA Tour.
Last year, Bryson Dechambeau, who was on a tear, won here and Patrick Cantlay found his way to victory in less than favorable conditions with just a 9 under to best the field.
This week, though, for our spread, I like some top ten and twenty bets on historically high performers at TPC Summerlin, the hottest golfer on the Tour, and a Canadian who would be very “Happy” to play well here potentially securing him a spot on the International President’s Cup Team.
Simpson, Scott, and Hadwin!
Get those bets in early. Tune in and turn up to see the world’s best play for a great cause.