Biggest 2013 win: Adam Scott to win the Masters (£10 at 25/1)
Potential return: £252.50
Expected return: £0
Safe pair of hands
I tend to avoid backing the World No 1 in the Majors as his odds rarely offer value.
However, based on current form, the way the course sets up, and the key statistics, it is impossible to overlook him.
Craig Harmon, Oak Hill’s head professional, said in a recent interview that a potent mix of distance and accuracy off the tee is needed to score well, as is grit on the complex greens.
Tiger Woods fits that bill better than anyone I can think of.
Indeed, the American is currently leading the PGA Tour’s Total Putting stat (based on his average position in categories including strokes gained and success from inside 10 feet) and is eighth in the Total Driving category, a measure of both distance and accuracy.
Add into the equation the large number of left-to-right dog-legs, all of which suit Tiger’s stock fade, and it becomes a no-brainer.
Great each-way option
The man who holed the putt to win the 2012 Ryder Cup seems to be finally turning a corner.
Yes, the former World No 1 and 2010 PGA champion, who has slumped out of the World’s top 30, carded three rounds in the 60s at Firestone to finish in the top 10. The German is strong off the tee and has a natural fade so the course should fit his eye. A win is unlikely, but a place could well be on the cards.
This underrated South African is one of the most consistent players on the European Tour. He is straight off the tee, hits it a long way, finds lots of greens in regulation, averages under 30 putts a round, has a win and two runner-up finishes this year already, and is fresh off the back of a top-10 at Firestone.
At this price, what more could you ask for?
Based on current form, the way the course sets up, and the key statistics, it is impossible to discount Tiger Woods.
Biggest 2013 win: Graeme McDowell to win the French Open (£5 at 9/1)
Potential return: £100
Expected return: £5
He’s a 14-time major champion who heads into the final major of the season with a comprehensive victory in his last tournament – showing some of his best form in recent times. I backed Woods at Muirfield thinking he would come through for me there, and was convinced I would put my money elsewhere this time around. Yet it seems impossible to comprehend that Tiger won’t finish in the top six, so hopefully this is as safe as it will get this week!
Playing the stats
Stenson falls inside the top ten for both driving accuracy and greens hit in regulation on the PGA Tour this year. He tied for second at the WGC Bridgestone, finished second at The Open and tied fifth at The Players. In the form of his life and should go well this week.
Heart over head
Stenson’s pick is based on stats and science, but picking Rory is pure heart. He is undoubtedly a quality player who has struggled this year, but the PGA is McIlroy’s event. Remember last year when everyone wrote him off and he won at Kiawah? Surely this run of terrible form can’t carry on…
Shot in the dark
With this being a Walker Cup year wouldn’t it be great to see someone from the last team star in a major? English is my outside pick having gained his first tour win this season and three top-20 finishes in his last three events.