It has the potential to be an interesting week at Bethpage Black. It’s the opening event of the FEDEX playoffs and also the final week of qualifying for the Ryder Cup. While the European side is just awaiting the three captain’s picks, there is much jostling for places still to be done on the USA team. Several of the top 8 will be looking nervously over their shoulders and also have the added distraction of boosting their status on the FEDEX.
Bethpage Black is the second A.W. Tillinghast layout in recent weeks and history has certainly proven a trend toward those playing his courses well. Clearly Jimmy Walker took a liking to it on his way to securing a remarkable victory by one shot over Jason Day and his odds of 80/1 seem generous given the mood he must be in.
Henrik Stenson 12/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £170
We’re usually reluctant to back such short odds, and while we have stopped short of backing playoff specialist Jason Day, Stenson’s form this summer has been irresistible. He can’t stop winning big cheques and when you consider his current form along with his not too distant win of the FEDEX, he seems a pretty solid pick this week. The length of the course certainly won’t phase him.
Hideki Matsuyama 30/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £395
Has had a bit of a mid-season lull after coming out so strongly at the start of the year – including the win at Scottsdale that we backed him for – but has returned to near his best in recent weeks. His 4th place at The PGA was followed up by Tied 3rd last week and sets him up nicely for a strong run at the playoffs. We expect his strong tee-to-green game to fare well at the unrelenting New York venue.
Brandt Snedeker 40/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £520
Sneds has been going well for a couple of months now and since he publicly stated that he was in love with his own driving, he has kicked on even further and all but secured himself a second Ryder Cup appearance. He will be all too aware that he could still be gazumped and should therefore be on the ball this week and looks set to follow up his strong 3rd place finish last week alongside Matsuyama. He will be hopeful of going one better than his Runner—up finish here in 2012.
Patrick Reed 50/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £645
The feisty American is currently perched preciously in 8th place on the Ryder Cup list. While it seems almost inconceivable that Davis Love III won’t pick him anyway, he’ll be desperate to lock up his spot for the avoidance of doubt. He has been on a pretty solid run this summer and while he hasn’t won, has a plethora of top 15 finishes. We reckon that the added motivation of a Ryder Cup spot may boost his performance to guarantee his place at Hazeltine.
Jimmy Walker 80/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £510
Jimmy was very grateful to us for the time we spent with both him and Phil Mickelson on the range at last year’s Scottish Open at Gullane, so we are hoping that hhe will return the favour with a high finish this week. It seems extraordinary that the most recent major champion can be priced at such long odds, but his form has been very much hit and miss after spending longer than he would like bedding in swing changes. Hopefully the confidence of winning at Baltusrol and the excitement of another Ryder Cup will push him on to replicate Jason Day’s stunning finish to last season that was sparked off by his maiden major victory.
Luke Donald 100/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £635
Luke played beautifully last week on his way to 2nd place, and will have caught the attention of Darren Clarke. The European Ryder Cup captain will be fully aware that he will have to balance his team for Hazeltine. With a fair few rookies in his side, he’ll certainly be looking to select experienced players to complete his side and an in-form Luke Donald would certainly do that. A good finish this week could be just the job for Luke, and he has a record of producing when it really matters.