Those with a literary knowledge will remember the phrase “Four legs good two legs bad” from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which I always thought was some kind of political satire, but now I am wondering if he used to have a bet on the horses and the golf. Somehow, I can easily forgive a horse failing to live up to expectations, but for Daniel Berger to throw away a five shot lead last weekend, culminating with a splash on the last when still in with a very slim chance, has driven me to despair, and from the messages received, I am clearly not the only one. On the bright side we did land a place at 14/1 but it could have been so much more profitable, but we live to fight another day, and this week we head off to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, looking for a bit of redemption. Played in the warmth of Florida at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, the track measures in at 7,454 yards and is a standard Par 72, and it’s a tough course that will present a true test for all of this field, even the very best of them. We have plenty of water, bunkers you can get lost in, and some long par-3s to deal with, but most of the top players are here and somehow, the winner will still end up way under par.
I have to admit that Rory McIlroy came in to focus once again here – but I still haven’t forgiven him, and at the current prices, there may be better value to be found elsewhere.
Selections with reasoning:
***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value, and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here accurately as they differ by the minute. Betfair prices quoted are as indicators only and were correct at the time of writing.
1pt each way Keith Mitchell 35/1 top 8 places SkyBet (46.0) Betfair)
There is a school of thought that suggest the popular American is beginning to reach his peak, and although his win percentage could be a lot better, he does have good form here – enough to suggest he can get in to the top ten at least, and hopefully the top eight (obviously). Although he did let his supporters down here last year, he finished sixth in 2019 and fifth in 2020 so there is a pattern we can rely on. He has hit the top ten in three of his last six starts which is a very solid statistic to rely on, and sits high enough on the strokes gained stats to suggest he can get involved in the fight for the places here as well.
1pt each way Marc Leishman 33/1 top 8 places Paddy Power (42.0 Betfair)
There are plenty of reasons to think we will get a good showing from our Australian friend who has a good record here having finished third here in 2011, top of the pile in 2017 seventh in 2018, and in second place in 2020. He is long enough off the tee to get competitive here, seems to handle the predicted windy conditions as well as anyone in this field, and seems to come alive at this course. You don’t win over $33 million and six PGA tours without the ability and the bottle needed for this event, and with a third in the Shriner’s Children’s Open and a fourth in the Fortinet Championship at the backend of 2021 I think we may see a place this weekend.
1pt each way Tyrell Hatton 35/1 top 8 places William Hill (44.0 Betfair)
Last but not least I note that Europeans do well here historically, and I have to admit that the High Wycombe lad is my number one pick of the three. He returns to the PGA tour for the first time this year but hasn’t been idle with a sixth in Abu Dhabi and a fourth in Dubai suggesting he arrives in decent fettle. The winner here in 2020 when the winds really blew, he was also fourth in 2018 and I am very much of the opinion that this course plays to his strengths. When the going gets tough some of the finesse players can go missing, and with the weather forecast suggesting it could get a bit blustery again this season (hopefully), he will come to the fore (did you see what I did there), and may even follow up his turn of the decade success.