THE GREENBRIER PREVIEW
Welcome back! Remember when the season “ended” 3 weeks ago? Well… It is back! This week players head to The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia for A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. The new schedule has pushed this long time event into what is called the “Swing Season,” which basically encompasses every event from here until the normal start of the season in January. While for the most part the big names will take these events off, I love them as they feature a bunch of guys who just gained their card through the Korn Ferry Qualifying. For handicapping purposes, The Greenbrier provides some nice historical data as this has been a mainstay on tour for quite some time. Before we breakdown Old White, lets recap the Tour Championship
TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
The end of the 2018/29 season has been more than amazing for readers as Rory McIlroy closes his starting stroke gap to cash his 8/1 Outright recommendation, making 3 straight winners for the article. His season was spectacular and without Brooks going absolutely crazy in Majors, Rory would have been a shoe in for Player of the Year honors. I thoroughly enjoyed the new format for the Tour Championship as it paired the players who have been most successful this season together, all fighting for that $15 million prize. Now all the points are reset and the next think you know you will be reading a Masters Preview article.
Old White TPC has some pretty interesting immediate history. In 2016 Old White and 3 other courses were flooded with water covering up to 6 feet in depth. This obviously resulted in the canceling of that rendition of the event, but it also led to a remodel of the course which needed complete reseeding. The resulting course didn’t change much in terms of playability tee to green but the contours on and around the greens are different substantially changed. Players this week will see a classic, tree lined design where any type of player can win.
The course is set at a resort (you will see falconry commercials this week, bet it!) within a National Park “high” up in the Appalachian Mountains, 2000 feet above sea level. This provides a nice advantage for the shorter hitters who can add 10-15 yards onto their drives. The fairways here are wide and the greens are large so this typically turns into a putting contest, making it rather difficult to handicap.
It has been some time since we have seen most of the guys making up this field. Many of them were toiling on the Korn Ferry Tour trying to secure their card, or hanging out at their local country club after being cut early from the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The course lends itself to a multitude of skill sets being successful with its wide fairways and large greens and the fact that form stats are rather old at this point means there is a certain grasping at straws effect when it comes to a statistical analysis this week. Strokes Gained Approach will of course be a staple of my model but I may put a little more credence to putting as opposed to normal weeks. There are only 2 Par 5s at Great White, which is a good thing to note for anyone looking to live bet the event, and it is paramount to score well on them. Ultimately, this is the quintessential week where a “pray and spray” method for outrights will yield the most success and that will be reflected in my full card below. You will also see that I allocated less than my usual 2 units, I plan to enter into the post round market rather than dedicate the full unit amount pre tournament.
Scottie Scheffler +5650 – If we are going to dip into the recent Korn Ferry graduates, why not the guy who earned the only fully exempt PGA Tour Status (including a PLAYERS invite) by finishing on top of both the Regular Season Points List as well as the Finals 25 Points list that combined the final three events of the Korn Ferry Finals. Scheffler bagged nine top-10 finishes during the season including a win, then to close the season he won the first Korn Ferry Finals event and parlayed that effort into a T11 and T7 in the subsequent two events. The former University of Texas standout is an absolute ball striking machine, coming in 15th in driving distance and 4th in greens in regulation on the Korn Ferry Tour. Scheffler did manage to qualify for the U.S. Open, barely missing the cut, but proved he could compete in his limited 2018/19 PGA Tour appearances making all 3 cuts. All signs point towards a jump forward with Scheffler, and I am more than happy to get out in front of the market on a guy who absolutely has the game to find himself in the winner’s circle.
Brian Harman +5750 – For anyone who listens to the FORE! Profit Podcast that I co-host with Haven Brown they know my disdain for Harman’s game. A short hitting, inconsistent iron player is not the typical guy I back. However, when there is a lack of quality form stats and the field is as weak as it is here, I typically align myself with players who have shown the ability to close out a tournament. Harman fits this bill with his two PGA Tour wins, but also showed some decent form to end the year. What stands out most is his ability to drive the ball straight as he has gained strokes off the tee in 8 of his last 10 showings. This is difficult to do considering his length and Harman will benefit greatly from the altitude adding distance to his drives. Harman has always been a streaky putter and the fact he will live in the fairway with shorter than usual irons in should equate to excellent green in regulation numbers, giving him a chance if he can get the flat stick going. In a field made up of few guys with winning experience, I’ll take a vet who has proven he can close at 50/1 or better.
1u Cameron Tringale (+100) over Brenden Grace – In a field full of newcomers, it isn’t surprising to see Tringale high up in my model. His last time out, he was abysmal and that looks to be driving his price down. Prior to a hiccup at the Northern Trust, Tringale was 10/12 on made cuts in 2019 behind a solid all around game. Most importantly though Tringale is a solid putter gaining a full stroke on average per round over his last 10 round. Making putts will be absolutely paramount this week as most players will not struggle to find fairways and greens. Grace is the exact opposite here, showing terrible form to finish off the season where he finished higher than 48th only once since THE PLAYERS. His struggles are predominately on the greens where he he is giving up a stroke and a half per round on average over his last 10 and 20 rounds. In what is sure to be a putting contest, I will take the proven entity that is Tringale’s flat stick over the streaky Grace who has shown very little form in 2019.
That is it for this week’s breakdown! Thank you for reading. My Outright plays are below, look for my full card on Wednesday morning and as always feel free to shoot me any questions on Twitter @jmazzjd!