The Greenbrier Classic has changed into A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier this week but what hasn’t changed is the course and the top level field that will compete in the event which begins hours after Independence Day in the United States.
Xander Schauffele landed his first PGA Tour title here last year and he is back to defend his title but there are a number of top level players looking to dethrone him in what is likely to be a special week for the Americans in particular.
2017 – Xander Schauffele
2016 – No Tournament
2015 – Danny Lee
2014 – Angel Cabrera
2013 – Jonas Blixt
2012 – Ted Potter Jr
2011 – Scott Stallings
2010 – Stuart Appleby
We return to The Old White TPC for the tournament once again. It went through a refurbishment after the storms did damage to it but it played exactly the same as it did before the trouble struck the area.
The course is a par 70 which still measures 7,286 yards and like it has been in the past hitting greens is going to be really important this week. Quite often this turns into a putting contest so the more chances a player can stack up the better his shot at winning will be. Looking at the list of winners there are a number of outsiders on there which is interesting.
Considering we are only two weeks away from the next major of the season added to the fact there is a big event going on in Europe there is still a decent field teeing it up this week. All eyes will be on Phil Mickelson who tees it up for the first time since that silly incident at the US Open.
He will be joined by three time winner this season Bubba Watson while The Players champion Webb Simpson is also in the field this week. Solid players like Tony Finau, Russell Henley and the defending champion Xander Schauffele are also teeing it up.
Somewhat surprisingly in this field Tony Finau is the 14/1 favourite for the tournament. That in itself probably highlights how well the field is in terms of top level depth but should also emphasise the likelihood of a competitive week. Finau is long and hits a lot of greens. If his putter warms up there is no reason why he can’t win but he’s plenty short enough even in this company.
The two star names in the field are next in the betting at 16/1 as Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson look to deliver the goods. Were Watson to win it would be his fourth of 2018 which would be quite remarkable. Mickelson might be carrying too much negative attention around with him which would put me off of his chances somewhat.
Webb Simpson comes next at 18/1 but you would have to suggest he hasn’t really delivered the goods since he won at Sawgrass. One thing is for sure, if he plays this week like he did there then he is going to be a very tough nut to crack. Recent form suggests that is unlikely to happen however.
Russell Henley is a top price of 20/1 to walk away with the title this week. We know his putter will serve him well so if he can stack up the chances he will take a bit of beating but like so many others around him he feels a little short even in this company so he isn’t for me. It is 22/1 bar those named.
In truth I don’t like anyone towards the head of the market and given that this tournament has a history of being won by outsiders most of my money is going to go on them but I will have one main bet which is Brian Gay.
Gay is one of the better putters on the PGA Tour at the minute and he drives the ball as well as anyone too. For some reason his record here is poor but it shouldn’t be as he has the ideal profile for the track. He comes into the tournament with four top 20 finishes in his last five starts in much stronger fields than this one so at 60/1 he’s worth siding with this week.
I’ll roll the dice with a few outsiders this week beginning with Ryan Armour. Armour is still looking for his first PGA Tour title but he wouldn’t be the first one to make his established breakthrough in this tournament. The American won the tournament in behind Francesco Molinari last week so he’s in decent enough form and he ranks second in fairways hit which will be a big thing. He’s one of the better on approach in the field too so if the putter stays hot he can go close.
CT Pan is in the top 20 in fairways hit and greens in regulation on the PGA Tour so he is expected to give himself a lot of chances to move forward in this tournament. He has been going along nicely enough in recent times having finished in the top 20 in three of his last four outings and I see no reason why he can’t go well here. How well he goes will depend on the putter but if it is hot the rest of his game should put him right there.
Wesley Bryan is not having a good campaign but he sits inside the top 20 on proximity to the hole on the Tour this year so it is only his putter that is letting him down. He will sort out his issues with that eventually and if it happens to be this week this tournament might not take a huge amount of winning. At a three figure price he is easy enough to follow for some interest.
Tom Hoge actually leads this field in proximity to the hole this season and he has had a number of top 10 finishes as a result, the last of which came at The Memorial which bodes well because you have to hit fairways and greens there like you do here. Clearly he has had issues with the putter this term but if he can find the hole with the ball the rest of his game looks in the kind of order that will see him contend once again.
Back B.Gay to win A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 61.00 with Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
Back R.Armour to win A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Betfred (1/5 1-6)
Back C-T.Pan to win A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back W.Bryan to win A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Betfred (1/5 1-6)
Back T.Hoge to win A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 201.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-7)
Back him here: