Will Tiger make the cut at Torrey Pines?
Farmers Insurance Open betting: Will Tiger Woods make the weekend?
It all looked lovely at the Hero World Challenge, didn’t it? Tiger Woods was back with a yet another new swing.
But this one seemed to have some power, a fair bit of clubhead speed and, whisper it quietly, he didn’t seem in any pain with his back.
Punters and oddsmakers can get carried away by such little acorns and you can back Woods for his – proper – return to the PGA Tour at a frankly ridiculous 28/1.
Are there any reasons for being optimistic? Well, Tiger is the king of Torrey Pines. He has won there eight times and as recently as 2013. There isn’t a break on the green or a piece of the fairway that isn’t pretty much a part of him.
That, however, is where the day dreaming should end. Torrey Pines is not the Bahamas. The Hero World Challenge is nothing more than a glorified end of year exhibition.
If Tiger missed the fairway there, he wasn’t hitting the ball out of some chunky rough. At Torrey, though, the north and south courses are two of the more difficult tracks on the circuit.
If he makes the cut (1/2), well done. It will be another small step on the road to fully resuming his professional career. But at 6/4, I think the value is on him spending a weekend at home.
Farmers Insurance Open betting: Steve’s top tips
Torrey Pines has never been a really happy hunting ground for Justin Rose – until last year when he finished in fourth.
The HSBC Champions, Turkish Airlines Open and Indonesian Masters winner seems to be in the frame virtually every week now and that’s why the 16/1 on the Englishman stands out.
He didn’t feature heavily in Abu Dhabi but that was due to consecutive 71s in his opening two rounds. 67 and 69 on the weekend was much more like it.
Jason Day is starting to get to the sort of prices where, form or not, you’re going to take an interest – particularly in an event where he can boast figures of ninth, second and first.
He’s missed the cut in the last two years – and his personal and injury problems have been well documented. But at 25/1, I’ll throw a pound his way following a top five in the Australian Open before Christmas.
Charles Howell III (50/1) seems to come alive at Torrey Pines. Runner-up last year, he’s also finished fifth and ninth since 2013.
At the same price, Brandt Snedeker has been through a lot over the past few months – most recently splitting with his caddie.
But the American took the title here in 2016, finished ninth 12 months ago and was runner up in 2013. He missed the cut last week at the Career Builder Challenge but if he is going to spark back into life soon it might be here.
Dubai Desert Classic betting: Steve’s extra tips
Rory McIlroy (9/2) loves Dubai but, as I indicated last week, much of the value has now disappeared on the Northern Irishman after his strong showing in Abu Dhabi.
Sergio Garcia arrives on the back of winning in Singapore and Tommy Fleetwood is going for back-to-back victories following that brilliant back nine on Sunday.
I watched Henrik Stenson’s final round 65 with some interest and the 2007 victor was second last year as Garcia took the title.
That was his sixth top 10 in this event and, at 12/1, I’ll be backing him to have a strong week.
Don’t ignore the course form of Rafa Cabrera-Bello, either. A winner six years ago, he was runner-up in 2016 and consistently figures among the top 20. At 25/1, he cannot be easily dismissed.