GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD

Tiger Woods has five wins and five runners up at Sherwood Country Club, and even if he has not looked sharp, he'll make the betting card this week at 35/1. Who else warrants investment in this short, strong field?

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Another substitute course hosts the PGA Tour this week, with the Jack Nicklaus-designed Sherwood Country Club hosting Tour players for the first time since 2013. We are treated to a loaded field in this one -- another no-cut event featuring 8 of the top 10 players in the world. While driving distance is all the rage, it's hardly a prerequisite to victory here at this 7,073-yard par 72. An extra par 3 and par 5 make this a unique test with lots of scoring opportunities, and we'll need to target aggressive golfers up and down the card this week.

After a surprising surge up the leaderboard by Jason Kokrak last week at THE CJ CUP, don't be surprised to see some chalk battle it out this week and re-establish their dominance. We will be looking toward elite golfers and, further down the board, declining stars we hope are capable of rekindling the old magic at least for one week.

For more info on Sherwood Country Club, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Justin Thomas (+1200) - Not an ideal track to pony up, but Thomas seems primed to go on one of his runs and must be considered. While he is an excellent driver of the ball, his true strength still lies in iron and wedge play in the tradition of both the course architect and the man with far and away the best record at Sherwood (more on him later). Thomas is at his aggressive best lately in no-cut events, winning the WGC event in Memphis, third-best 72 hole score at the TOUR Championship, and a T12 last week at THE CJ CUP. Our hesitance at the top of the market is just how many golfers are at these short of odds, but we'll happily back JT if allocating a sizable chunk of our weekly bankroll to one of the favorites.

Webb Simpson (+1800) - Just a tad further down the board is Simpson -- he's hard to squeeze in with Thomas on the card, but he's another option for those looking to have two horses in the race or otherwise opposed to JT. Simpson's lack of elite length off the tee is mitigated at a course just over 7,000 yards, and he's one of the few top golfers to count a consistent putter among his strengths. He has just two finishes outside the top 13 since the COVID restart, including a win at another short track (albeit on the other coast) at Harbour Town. He also won out West earlier this year in Phoenix -- though, admittedly, that event seems like it could have occurred a lifetime ago.

Value Spots

Tiger Woods (+3500) - Because betting should be fun! Take Tiger's record at Sherwood with a grain of salt -- the 2000-2013 World Challenge events hosted here featured 20 or fewer golfers, and Tiger was basically invincible back then -- but five wins and five runner-up finishes is...quite good. That he won the inaugural ZOZO held in Japan last year shouldn't count for much this year, except for the salient fact that he had similarly iffy form and had had a long layoff. Sherwood should be much more comfortable. Tiger is being extremely selective with this schedule, and wins are the only results he much cares about, so we can assume he's locked in if he's in the field. Though none of his victories at Sherwood count toward his 82 official PGA wins, this one would. This is the exact situation we should be leaning toward Woods -- a smaller field at a course he likes.

Daniel Berger (+3700) - Berger has been vocal about his dismay at being left out of Augusta this year, and while he'll definitely make the list for April's edition, he gets one more shot this year to carry the chip on his shoulder before the rescheduled 2020 Masters. His win at Colonial was one of six top-five finishes this year, a record that includes the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. He won't win any long driving contests, but that won't hurt him here, and he can still gain in all four facets on any given week. A year ago, he was 131st in the world, and now at 13th, he is firmly among the game's elite.

Long Shots

Jason Day (+7000) - Day was in the hunt before withdrawing prior to the final round at THE CJ CUP, and that uncertainty has caused his odds to double compared to where he went off last week. Sadly, the W/D is always well within the range of outcomes for Day, and he's certainly not opposed to skipping an event if he's not feeling right. So, if he's back in the field just a few days later, we have to consider him fit to play. Day was tied for sixth before he started his Sunday round, but he withdrew after his second shot on the second hole landed in the water. We'll take the value this week and don't need to invest much at this number to get a great return on a golfer that has shown since the COVID restart that he is still capable of contending in strong fields.

Gary Woodland (+10000) - Verily a mess of late, but Woodland has a major championship on the West Coast and a great record in short fields -- he can't be ignored at triple digits. Truly, he can't play worse than he did at Shadow Creek, losing 11.2 strokes tee to green (basically all of it off the tee) in what Fantasy National Golf Club rates as by far the worst tee to green and off the tee performances of his career. He may well be broken, but we'll take the 100/1 odds that he bounces back at a short course where he can club down and keep it in play.