The Greenbrier Classic 2017 Preview

The Greenbrier Classic 2017 Preview

We preview this week's PGA Tour event, the Greenbrier Classic, which gets underway this Thursday.

This is one of those rare weeks where the European Tour actually holds dominion over the US in terms of quality. Many players have already begun the journey to Europe in preparation for this year’s Open Championship. Perhaps the most American person ever born, Patrick Reed, actually leads the markets this week. This opens up an intriguing set of possibilities for the prospective better, particularly with a field littered with star names that are currently in poor form or an outright state of decline. Phil Mickelson will make his first appearance since splitting with longtime caddie 'Bones', while Bubba Watson attempts to regain a sense of relevance in what is becoming a rather torrid season.

Speaking of torrid, it’s perhaps important to cast a mind back to last season’s rendition of this event to gain some context. Last season’s renewal was hit by massive thunderstorms that led to the cancellation of the event. It’s actually fairly remarkable - given the extent of the damage - that the organizers of TPC have the course in such fine fiddle this season.

The par 70 has undergone renovations and measures an imposing 7,287 yards. Designed by Charles Blair McDonald in 1914, the course was originally designed to mimic some of the characteristics of a Scottish style course. The generous fairways and potential rain forecast this week should encourage scoring to some extent.

There are some rather large permutations connected to Royal Birkdale this week. The top three players this week who haven’t already booked their ticket to the Open will be awarded a place at the European equivalent to the Masters. Kyle Stanley, Charles Howell III, Martin Laird and Sung Kang all managed to secure their place at Birkdale last week, and that may perhaps turn out to be the most intriguing subplot this week.

The Greenbrier Classic | Thursday 6 July - Sunday 9 July |  Old White TPC, West Virginia

Past Winners
2016: cancelled | 2015: Danny Lee (-13)*playoff | 2014: Angel Cabrera (-16) | 2013: Jonas Blixt (-13) | 2012: Ted Potter (-16)*playoff

To Win Outright
Patrick Reed 14/1 | Bill Haas 16/1 | Kevin Kisner 16/1 | David Lingmerth 20/1 | Webb Simpson 22/1

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Value Bets

Webb Simpson - To Win 22/1 & To Place 48/10
Simpson has had a fairly decent season, especially considering the fact that he is going the potentially traumatizing transition from the long putter to a shorter golf. He has had two top 10’s in his last four starts. He actually has four top 20 appearances in his last seven attempts. But more importantly he has a brilliant record at Old White. He has three top 10’s here in six appearances, more than anyone else in the field. Now the former major champion should benefit from a truncated field to challenge at the Old White once again.

Bubba Watson - To Win 33/1 & To Place 7/1
A player with a local connection and no real form of late is Bubba Watson. He actually has a residence in White Sulphur Hills and spends four to five months in residence there. His family actually helped in the clean-up operation last year and this could give him some added motivation. He has missed three of his last five cuts, but finished inside the top 6 in the other two. At times it almost seems as if Bubba is being deliberately enigmatic. In three attempts he has shown a steady progression: 30-16-13.

Johnson Wagner - To Win 90/1 & To Place 19/1
It just seems - especially in the context of this week’s field - that Wagner looks quite ludicrously overpriced this week. He came in the top 5 last week in the Quicken Loans in a rousing return to form that seems to have gone unnoticed by the bookmakers this week. His recent upsurge in form is only exacerbated by the fact that he finished runner-up here in 2013. So this one looks to be a combination of course experience, recent form and a depleted field. He looks an absolute steal at 19/1 in the place markets. He went to Virginia Tech barely 80 miles from here and has appeared in all six renewals.

The Man to Beat

Danny Lee - To Win 25/1 & To Place 11/2
Defending the championship he won in a dramatic four-man playoff in 2015, the New Zealander has finally managed to regain a semblance of the form that saw him win here in 2015. Beating Kisner in that playoff, he should represent better value than the 16/1 offered to Kisner. He has made six cuts in concession, and has three top 10 finishes in that rather impressive stretch. He clearly has good memories of the course and should be a contender in this eviscerated field.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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