The Ridgewood CC kicks off this years Fedex Playoff Series with the top 125 eligible for the first of those events, the Northern Trust. A couple of notable NR's are McIlroy and Stenson. The rest get out of the stalls first in search of the winning post and the big 10 million dollar prize at East Lake next month. Ridgewood is a course that no doubt rewards an accurate tee to green game.
A look back to previous events held here have seen the likes of Kuchar make the frame twice as well as Mahan winning the last renewal back in 2014. This is a classical test with plenty of trees and dog legs so strategy off the tee is no doubt needed and although length will certainly not hurt I'll be looking to golfers who can keep it in play from tee to green. Green surfaces are small and require accurate approach play whilst the surfaces themselves have come under some criticism and there may be a level playing field to some extent with the flat stick.
Dustin Johnson heads the betting but doesn't interest me an awful lot. He may have done a lot more winning than Brooks Koepka in recent years but there's an argument that Brooks is now currently the better golfer and 6 pts separating them in the market doesn't quite add up to me. Nevertheless I'm not too keen to back either and it is fair to say I am extremely excited to get behind my top two selections this week.
First of all I am diving in the deep end and putting some of this years profits on TIGER WOODS (best price $15*). I have been waiting for a suitable course to back Tiger and Ridgewood ticks the boxes I have been waiting for. There is no doubting that at times this season Tiger's driving has been fairly erratic. That being said he has managed to contend on a regular basis. Take the PGA a few weeks ago where he didn't hit a fairway on the opening 9 holes on Sunday but still managed to go out in a 3 under par 32 total. I was hugely impressed with the way he contended despite his errors off the tee. Carnoustie was a venue where you needed to keep it in play and generally speaking he did with 3 woods and irons off the tees. He lead that event down the back 9 and it is my view that a track that requires this type of game is now right up Tiger's alley.
Ridgewood grants the opportunity to hit a lot of 3 woods and some irons off the tees and I expect Tiger to make hay this week should he adopt the right tactics. He should like the greens also and I think this his best opportunity of a win yet this season. He has been a shorter price for some events this season and I believe that this is the event that he should be shortest for. $15* is a lovely price for us to be getting involved with.
Secondly I can't contain my excitement at having these two heading our staking plan this week, as we add JORDAN SPIETH (best price $21) to the mix. There is no doubt he is a major man with finishes of 3-MC-9-12 in the big four this year despite struggling with his game all season. With 9th and 12th in his last two majors we have to conclude he is not far off and with things beginning to hot up on the putting front I think now is the time to act. With wins at the Valspar, Travelers, Coloniol and East Lake I have always considered Golden Child to be best played on courses that require an ounce of strategy.
It doesn't quite add up as he isn't the straightest of golfers but when length isn't exactly needed off the tee I think he finds himself with less pressure on tee shots and hence results tend to be a shade better. There are others ahead of him in the market who haven't performed anywhere near as good as Spieth in the last two majors who are a fair bit skinnier in price. The narrow greens will help Spieth also as his approach play is generally accurate. The tastiest price I have seen him all year given recent events.
Finally I think that WEBB SIMPSON (best price $34) has been a little bit overpriced by the layers once again. The $11 last week whispered sweet nothings to me and it was disappointing that he didn't get over the line having gone off a solid $8 poke on the exchanges.
Any sort of performance on days 1 and 2 and he would have won that event comfortably despite Snedeker's heroics. He doesn't have any special course form to show here but judging with my own peepers I think he is playing some of the best golf of his career. This test should suit the current game of Simpo and I'd have him closer to a $24 poke this week.