Arnie's place. Well, his winter place before Latrobe warms up. At any rate, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge is always a first rate field with a first rate host. Most of the world's top ranked players show up to use it as a Masters prep and out of due respect for Mr. Palmer. Graeme McDowell, Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson, four through six in the world rankings are here, as is Gary Woodland, the bomber who won last week. Would have been nice if Mr. Kaymer, Westwood, or Donald had entered, if for nothing more than respect for Arnie. Can't play them all, but I'd think you'd make an exception for this one.
Let's consult with Ladbrokes and get a handle on the rest of the field, then make some particularly astute prognostications regarding who will win this thing. Ready......
Tiger Woods, 8/1 - Bettors still love him. Must figure he'll win eventually. 6 wins here, but hasn't played here since the greens were redone. Gotta be long and straight. Missing the straight until he proves otherwise. Won't win.
Dustin Johnson, 14/1 - Final round 78 cost him the trophy here last year. If anything, Johnson is devoid of memory. Should win.
Phil Mickelson, 14/1 - Won here in '97. Hell, I didn't even play golf in '97. Masters prep for Phil. Too much rough, waiting for Augusta. Won't win.
Graeme McDowell, 16/1 - Capable of going ridiculously low. Four tool player. Could win.
Hunter Mahan, 20/1 - Good pick at these odds. Sometimes drops a round in big events. Possible, but I doubt it.
Rickie Fowler, 33/1 - Great pick at these odds. Hey, the kid's going to win sometime, why not this time?
Justin Rose, 33/1 - Thought he had it lst week. Weak final round barbecued him. Possible this week. Like him at least in tip 5.
Vijay Singh, 33/1 - Like him a lot in this position. Won it in '07. The big guy is rallying. Could win.
Jim Furyk, 33/1 - What about Jim? Not the closer he once was. Maybe the lack of distance is finally catching up. Could win, doubt it.
Ernie Els, 33/1 - Could win it in his sleep. Hard to tell when he's not sleeping. I think his chances here are much better than the odds.
Zach Johnson, 40/1 - Sorry, as much as I like Z, he's in the same boat as Furyk. Won't win.
Brandt Snedeker, 40/1 - Showing signs of return to form. Needs more than signs though. Won't win.
Bubba Watson, 40/1 - 5th on the money list. 6th in FedUp Cup. Odds out of whack. Take a flyer on Bubba and get paid. Could win.
Sergio Garcia, 40/1 - Surprised me last week. Game was solid. Out of the limelight for a while may help. I see him as a "Who knows?"
Martin Laird, 40/1 - Another sleeper. Take him with these odds and ride the Scotsman to the bank. Could win.
Charl Schwartzel, 40/1 - Hmm... Always impressive, but my best memory of him is finishing 2nd to pal Ernie last year at Doral. Don't believe he can do it.
Chris Couch, 40/1 - Heir apparent to Calc. Odds distorted on his finish last week. Stay away.
Now Average Golfer is here to provide value and a reasonable return on your investment. Any dope can bet chalk and win his gas money for the next week. Here's the picks to generate some serious coin. Remember, the size of a tournament field makes it one of the most difficult sports bets you can make, so bet early and often.
Average Golfer Arnold Palmer Invitational Picks
1. Rickie Fowler
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Justin Rose
Dark Horse - Allenby
Darker Horse - JB Holmes
Even Darker Horse - Ryan Moore