Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PGA Tour 2020: Barracuda Championship

PGA Tour 2020: Barracuda Championship

Barracuda Championship

This will be the first opposite-field event in the post-lockdown age. In many ways, the lack of fans is a bit of an equalizer for the viewing public. Perhaps the biggest drawcard of this event is the format. Since 2012 it has used the modified Stableford Scoring System. It rewards ultra-aggressive play, with players briefly fixated on scoring as high as possible. 


Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Barracuda Championship

Old Greenwood Course, Tahoe Mountain Club, Truckee, California
Thursday 30 July 2020 - Sunday 3 August 2020

This will be the first opposite-field event in the post-lockdown age. In many ways, the lack of fans is a bit of an equalizer for the viewing public. A shot from Tiger Woods has almost the same resonance as one from Pat Perez. Almost. While the megastars make for Memphis, this alternate distraction sees the players head to California. This event was first staged in 1999 and was originally known as the Reno-Tahoe Open. It has always been an opposite-field event, largely playing second fiddle to the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Perhaps the biggest drawcard of this event is the format. Since 2012 it has used the modified Stableford Scoring System. It rewards ultra-aggressive play, with players briefly fixated on scoring as high as possible.

The scoring on each hole is as follows. Albatross: 8 points, Eagle: 5 points, Birdie: 2 points, Pars: 0 points, Bogey: -1-point, Double Bogey or Worse: -3 points. So, it clearly rewards aggression. The tour hasn’t done us much favours in terms of history this week. The event has switched venues for the first time in history, trading in the Montreux Golf and Country Club for the Old Greenwood Course. Both are Jack Nicklaus designs and both take place at altitude. So perhaps its best to look for correlations with past events anyway. It’s going to be a birdie fest, so perhaps look for players with a high birdie average or solid putting credentials. And par 5 scoring is also worth a look, especially with this scoring system.

Brendan Steele and Russell Henley rightfully enter this event near the top of the markets. Both have been competitive in far tougher fields throughout the current PGA Tour campaign. My eye can’t help but be drawn towards two recent European Tour acolytes: Kurt Kitayama and Matthias Schwab. This could be an ideal time for one of them to stake a claim on this ultra-competitive tour. The likes of Sebastian Munoz and Jhonattan Vegas are generally aggressive and could be a factor this week. This is an event that will struggle for relevance in a jam-packed golfing weekend.

Past Winners
2019: Colin Morikawa (47 points)
2018: Andrew Putnam (47 points)
2017: Chris Stroud (44 points) *playoff
2016: Greg Chalmers (43 points)
2015: J.J Henry (47 points) *playoff

Outright Betting (To Win)
Russell Henley (18/1)
Brendan Steele (22/1)
Ryan Moore (22/1)
Alex Noren (22/1)
Kurt Kitayama (25/1)

Value Bets

Kyle Stanley
To Win (50/1), To Place (11/1)

Perhaps the most important part of this week is picking up some vital FedEx Cup points as the Playoffs loom larger (still crazy to contemplate). Stanley currently sits 131st in the standings and will be highly motivated to perform well this week. Because motivation is always a key component to these alternate-field events. Stanley placed 3rd in February’s Puerto Rico Open, which itself is an alternate-event. He loves the West Coast, claiming victory at TPC Scottsdale and 2nd at Torrey Pines. He currently sits 4th on tour in greens in regulation.  So, he should have plenty of looks. He just needs that putter to fire. But there have been encouraging signs of late: he shot a pair of 65’s at TPC River Highlands.

Nick Watney
To Win (75/1), To Place (6/1)

This week I’m opting for the first PGA Tour player to test positive for Coronavirus. What a fairy-tale story this would be: Trump would use it as evidence that the world has finally defeated COVID 19…in a playoff. The California native has obviously endured a tough summer but finished in a highly commendable 12th place last week. His form figures at the Barracuda are pretty impressive, reading 10-36-5-43-8-MC. Watney once won the CIMB Classic in 22 under, showing his ability to go low when necessary. A former Major contender, I’m counting on Watney to impress in this weakened field, perhaps armed with some new-found perspective.

The Man to Beat

Alex Noren
To Win (22/1), To Place (48/10)

A former Ryder Cup hero and 2017 BMW PGA Championship winner, Alex Noren has just struggled to make significant strides on the ultra-competitive US PGA Tour. The ten-time European Tour winner has the game and looks to be in some real form at present. He shot 5-under par in the final round last week at the 3M Open. It managed to get him into a highly creditable tie for 3rd. He played solidly in every department, gaining 1.71 strokes per round in putts per round. He scraped into the world’s top 100 and he will never have a better opportunity to break that PGA Tour duck. 

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