It’s one of the smallest fields of the year on the PGA Tour this week (61) but it’s still a very good one as the Tour visits Akron, Ohio, for the big-money World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Unfortunately, the biggest name in golf, eight-time champion Tiger Woods, still isn’t healthy enough to play and now it’s looking like he might not be at all in 2016. World No. 1 Jason Day is the +550 favorite on betting picks.
Best Betting Picks for World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
Woods hosted the Quicken Loans National at Congressional outside of Washington, D.C., over the weekend and admitted on Sunday that’s he’s trying but not sure he will play this year off back surgery. “I’m going to do it right so I don’t have another surgery,” he said, in reference to previous occasions when he admitted coming back too soon from injuries. Woods said he still needs to get into golf shape, although he is now able to play 18 holes of golf on consecutive days.
How much money is at stake this week? The last-place finisher at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will take home at least $50,000. By comparison, that’s the same amount Arnold Palmer pocketed for winning the 1971 Westchester Classic — the biggest check of his PGA Tour career.
Why such a small field this week? With the golf returning to the Olympics in August, two of the summer’s biggest events, the PGA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, were forced to move up in the calendar. The European Tour was not pleased with this tournament’s placement on the schedule — the same week as the 100th playing of the French Open — and declared its players could only earn Ryder Cup points by playing in France. As a result, several top Europeans, like Rory McIlroy, are staying overseas.
As for Day, he comes in off an eighth-place finish at the U.S. Open. He was 12th here last year and has a best result of fourth in 2011. Hard to argue against Day as he has seven wins since July 26, 2015. No other player has more than three. In last 21 official starts, Day has finished outside the top 25 just twice.
American Dustin Johnson is +750. He of course won the U.S. Open for his first career major title. He now has nine straight PGA Tour seasons with a win, the longest active streak on Tour. Each of the last two times Johnson won, he followed it up with a top-10 finish in his next tournament
Jordan Spieth is +850. It’s his third career start in this tournament with a best finish of 10th last year. Spieth won at Colonial a few weeks ago but was 57th in the Memorial and 37th in the U.S. Open.
The defending champ is Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who is +3500 to repeat. Lowry shot a bogey-free 66 to come from behind and win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by two shots in 2015. It was Lowry’s first PGA Tour win and he hasn’t tasted victory since. Bubba Watson shot a final-round 66 last year as well to finish solo second. Playing in the final pairing on Sunday, neither Jim Furyk nor Justin Rose managed to break par, with matching 2-over 72s.
I don’t like Johnson at all this week — he’s probably still celebrating his U.S. Open title. Take Spieth (-175), Watson (+140) and Brooks Koepka (+120) each for a top 10 on betting odds. I like Koepka to win at +1800. He was sixth here last year and is playing really well in 2016.