It is interesting to note that this is a Pete Dye layout which will offer us many clues as to who might play well. Sawgrass and Harbour Town are two Dye courses which will no doubt translate some form onto this layout. More than anything else we'll be keeping that in mind. Drooling over Matchplay records is a waste of time in my opinion as anything can happen in an 18 hole match. What is most important, as ever, is seeing who could play well on this layout. If they appear to have a favourable draw also then that will be a bonus.
McIlroy is 10/1 jolly this week and will turn up with confidence following a scintillating final round at Bayhill. I can't help but feel while Harding Park was a suitable fit last year for a bomber like McIlroy (He played Gary Woodland in the final, another bomber), this year's Dye venue is far from ideal for the Holywood lad. I wouldn't be surprised to see him out of the tournament on Friday and hotfoot it to Augusta for a few days practice. If we are putting any logic to this event at all I have to feel the winner will be a more strategic golfer who has shown form on the similar courses.
We'll start with someone who I feel has a very favourable draw in Sergio Garcia. I am not one for backing this lad with much confidence nowadays but this Matchplay event just might be right up his alley at this time. He is plenty experienced enough in the format and if he can get deep into the event then he'll be fired up and ready for it. His group features Lee Westwood. Woefully out of form and seemingly lost at sea in his career right now. Leishman and Moore will provide tougher opponents as both have showed some form of late. Garcia has finished 2nd and 7th in 2 of his last four events and more importantly should love this track. I've had a look and both elements of Sawgrass and Harbour Town are there to see. He has a sparkling record around Sawgrass with a victory and a few runner up spots down the years. He could have won that event 3 or 4 times. This week the wind is expected to blow quite hard over the first couple of days and Sergio with his low ball flight is an ideal candidate to play well in those conditions. Quotes of 40/1 are far too big for the Spaniard in my opinion, and although I don't like staking heavily in this event I feel he is worthy of a solid bet.