Who Will Win The 2013 Presidents Cup?
With the 2013 Presidents Cup set to commence tomorrow at Muirfield Village, today on the blog Barry Snidetats returns to share his thoughts, analysis and best bets for this year's contest.
A thrilling PGA season comes to a close with Team USA taking on the best ‘International’ players (… minus Europe of course) in the biennial Presidents Cup.
The match-play format features two teams of 12 competing head to head across four days, but unlike the Ryder Cup all players must take part in the foursomes and fourballs on Thursday and Friday, as well as compete in Sunday’s singles. That means US captain Freddie Couples will be unable to dictate the ignominious draft-dodging that has blighted previous match-play events like the Ryder Cup.
This year’s event is staged in Ohio at the familiar Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village, a course which hosts the Memorial each June and is familiar to the players.
Nicklaus has been busy since Matt Kuchar won here earlier in the year, creating a new back tee on the final hole, which adds about 20 yards and brings the right-hand bunkers into play, and he’s made a number of changes in recent years to encourage dramatic finishes. The 14th is a drivable par 4 to tempt the bolder hitters, the 16th now features a pond which makes it a much more testing par 3, and the additional length at 18 promotes greater strategic thinking.
The course conditions are likely to be harder and faster than when the Memorial was played here in late spring so accurate approach shots will be more important than ever. Following that tournament, Muirfield Village ranked the third-hardest track on Tour, behind Augusta National and the PGA National, with an average score of 73.256 (+1.256). It sounds pretty obvious, but the GIR figure is an important one to watch. Kuch had to hit 75% of greens to claim his victory here.
Tiger Woods: World Ranking (WR): 1, Presidents Cup (PC): W20, H1, L14
Phil Mickelson: WR: 3, PC: W18, H10, L14
Steve Stricker: WR: 7, PC: W11, H0, L8
Matt Kuchar: WR: 8, PC: W1, H1, L3
Brandt Snedeker: WR: 9, PC: Debut
Jason Dufner: WR:10, PC: W1, H1, L3
Zach Johnson: WR: 11, PC: W4, H0, L5
Keegan Bradley: WR: 16, PC: Debut
Jordan Spieth: WR: 21, PC: Debut
Webb Simpson: WR: 24, PC: W3, H0, L2
Hunter Mahan: WR: 26, PC: Debut
Bill Haas: WR: 28, PC: W1, H1, W3
Team Average World Ranking: 14
Adam Scott: World Ranking (WR): 2, Presidents Cup (PC): W10, H2, L13
Jason Day: WR: 16, PC: W1, H1, L3
Charl Schwartzel: WR: 19, PC: W3, H1, L1
Ernie Els: WR: 23, PC: W17, H2, L16
Louis Oosthuizen: WR: 29
Hideki Matsuyama: WR: 30, PC: Debut
Graham DeLaet: WR: 32; PC: Debut
Branden Grace: WR: 38, PC: Debut
Richard Sterne: WR: 41, PC: Debut
Angel Cabrera: WR: 51, PC: W4, H3, L6
Marc Leishman: WR: 61, PC: Debut
Brendan de Jonge: WR: 63, PC: Debut
Team Average World Ranking: 34
The International team has an abject record in this competition, winning only once, losing seven, with one match tied.
Of the current squads, the US team’s strongest performer, Hunter Mahan, has the highest success rate of 61% (8.5 points from 14 matches), but Tiger Woods is proven over the distance: his success rate of 59% includes 20 wins and 1 tie in 35 matches.
The Rest of the World may not pack quite as formidable a line-up as the USA, but they still have quality in their squad with US Masters winners Adam Scott and Charl Scwhartzel the pick of the bunch. The former has a mixed record in this competition however with 10 wins in 25 matches.
So How Will It Pan Out?
With seven wins in nine renewals it’s unsurprising to see Team USA as heavy odds-on favourites on home soil. The price has shortened from the early quotes of 1.44 (4/9) and the current best price of 1.29 (2/7) means slim pickings for all but the biggest of hitters.
And on paper, that price looks about right. The US side boasts six of the top-ten players in world, seven Major winners including the most recent one in Jason Dufner, a perfect mix of youth and experience (see Bradley and Mickelson) and the planet’s hottest young talent Jordan Spieth (a Tour winner at just 19 years of age).
Looking through the line-ups, it seems tough to make a case for the International side. Adam Scott has not always shone at this event and there is a suspicion that the best days may be behind elder statesmen like Els and Cabrera. Quite simply there is too much resting on the shoulders of untried debutants DeLaet, Matsuyama, Oosthuizen, Grace, Sterne, De Jonge and Leishman.
2013 Presidents Cup Odds - Odds as at 2nd October 2013.
#1 - Matt Kuchar Top Combined Points Scorer
If the stats indicate a high probability of a US win then it should pay to look at the individuals likely to make that happen. Tiger Woods has a phenomenal record at Muirfield Village, winning here five times, and he rightly tops the Top US Points Scorer market at 6.00 (5/1), but while his Presidents Cup record is more impressive than his Ryder Cup one, there is more than a slight suspicion he doesn’t really take to team formats.
Instead, it’s worth turning to another stellar performer with bags of track form and an ability to grind out match-play wins. Matt Kuchar has impressive form figures on this track of 1, -, 2, 8, 5 (most recent first) and is a proven performer over this format having won the WGC Accenture Match Play in February. His record in this competition is average (W1, H1, L3) but he’s shown he can win when it matters in the Ryder Cup where he has lost only twice in seven matches. As short as 12s elsewhere, the 16s on offer from Boylesports offers some nice each-way value.
Recommendation: 2.5 pts e/w Matt Kuchar Top Combined Points Scorer at odds of 17.0, Boylesports (4 places)
Top Combined Points Scorer Odds - Odds as at 2nd October 2013.
#2 - Jordan Spieth Top Wildcard
Jordan Spieth has been a revelation in his rookie year, showing plenty of skill and bottle to win the John Deere Classic in a play-off, and posting an unbelievable nine top-ten finishes in 23 starts. He’s bang in form with three top-three finishes in his last three starts and while it remains to be seen how he’ll take to match play he’s the kind of flair player that captain Couples could turn to. At 13/8 he’s worth chancing to see off Webb Simpson, Brendan De Jonge and Marc Leishman.
Recommendation: 2 pts win Jordan Spieth Top Wildcard at odds of 2.62 with William Hill and BetVictor.
Top Wildcard Odds - Odds as at 2nd October 2013.
|Brendan De Jonge||5.50||5.50||5.50||5.00||5.00|
#3 - USA Handicap
As we’ve seen, the price has now gone on the US victory but they are worth looking at on the handicap. When you factor in the quality of their squad, the Major tournament pedigree, the strong average world ranking and excellent course form (especially Woods and Kuchar) I can only see one outcome. Back the yanks to triumph giving away a 3.5-point head-start – a bet that would have copped in the last three Presidents Cup events.
Recommendation: 3pts win USA -3.5 Handicap at odds of 1.83 with Skybet
Barry Snidetats is the founder and author of WagonBetting.com
You can follow Barry on Twitter: @BarrySnidetats