Golfstradamaus: Humana Challenge and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.” – Chumbawamba

Golfstradamaus_Article1Yes, yes, last week was not the best for Golfstradamaus. The crystal ball seems to have had an off week… or maybe I just chose to flat-out ignore how good Jimmy Walker has been early in the 2013-14 season. Or the fact that Louis Oosthuizen had won three straight season-opening events before claiming his fourth in a row last week.

No worries, though. Since most of you do your own thing anyway, I’m sure there were no more or less mortgage payments missed or couches slept on in the wake of my off week. Once is a fluke though, as they say, so I’m back in the saddle this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Humana Challenge. Ready? Lesgoo!

Humana Challenge
PGA West (Palmer & Nicklaus Courses)
La Quinta CC – La Quinta, Calif.
Jan. 16 – 19, 2014

ODDS to Win:
Zach Johnson 12/1
Webb Simpson 12/1
Brandt Snedeker 15/1
Keegan Bradley 20/1
Harris English 20/1
Bill Haas 25/1
Rickie Fowler 25/1
Gary Woodland 25/1
Charles Howell III 30/1
Billy Horschel 25/1
Ryan Palmer 30/1
Brian Gay 40/1
Robert Garrigus 40/1
Charley Hoffman 40/1
Brendon de Jonge 50/1
Tim Clark WD
Martin Laird 50/1
Jeff Overton 50/1
Jason Kokrak 50/1
Brian Stuard 50/1
Nicolas Colsaerts 60/1
John Senden 60/1
Matt Every 60/1
Chris Stroud 60/1
Matt Jones 60/1
Kevin Chappell 60/1
Jonas Blixt 60/1
Freddie Jacobson 60/1
Kevin Na 60/1
Kevin Stadler 60/1
Pat Perez 60/1
Luke Guthrie 60/1
John Peterson 60/1
Bo Van Pelt 80/1
Roberto Castro 80/1
Boo Weekley 80/1
Retief Goosen 80/1
Rory Sabbatini 80/1
Jerry Kelly 80/1
Brendon Todd 80/1
Jason Bohn 80/1
David Hearn 80/1
Scott Piercy 80/1
Camilo Villegas 80/1
Sang-Moon Bae 100/1
David Toms 100/1
Ryo Ishikawa 100/1
Carl Pettersson 100/1
Geoff Ogilvy 100/1
Field (all others) 5/2

The first guy I’m taking this week at the Humana is Keegan Bradley. Keegan teamed with coach Chuck Cook this off season, joining his buddy Jason Dufner among others in the stable. It’ll be Bradley’s first action since joining up and it’ll be interesting to see how he kicks of the New Year. I expect big things from Keegs in 2014 and I think that starts this week at the Humana. At 15/1, the juice is worth the squeeze with Bradley.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I am a big fan of Billy Horschel. The man in the octopus pants is a super-talented player who collected his first win last year at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, and had his coming-out party at the U.S. Open, where he finished fourth. Horschel makes a ton of birdies (and a few bogeys) and in a tournament where the winning score last year was 25-under by Brian Gay, the winner is going to have to make a bunch of them. At 30/1, Horschel should have your full attention this week.


Martin Laird is a guy who could get his 2014 off to a hot start by winning in the desert. He fired four straight rounds in the 60s last year at this event and is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. Laird is getting 50/1 this week, which is a great payout for a guy as good as he is.

I can only pick four guys each week and I don’t want to take the most obvious. So don’t say I didn’t tell you so if Ryan Palmer, Harris English, Webb Simpson or Zach Johnson win this week. I’m just trying to get you the most bang for your buck. And for that, you’re going to want to put some cash on Jason Bohn. Right now, Bohn is sixth in birdie average, making 69 of them over 14 rounds this year. He’s finished second and third this year already and goes off at 80/1. Not bad for a guy putting up the type of numbers he has so far this year.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Champ     
Abu Dhabi Golf Club     
Abu Dhabi, UAE     
Jan. 16-19, 2014

ODDS to Win:  
Rory McIlroy 6/1
Henrik Stenson 7/1
Sergio Garcia 10/1
Phil Mickelson 15/1
Martin Kaymer 15/1
Thomas Bjorn 20/1
Jamie Donaldson 25/1
Luke Donald 25/1
Joost Luiten 25/1
Branden Grace 30/1
Paul Casey 40/1
Peter Hanson 40/1
Bernd Wiesberger 40/1
Ross Fisher 40/1
Matteo Manassero 50/1
Padraig Harrington 60/1
Thorbjorn Olesen 60/1
Peter Uihlein 60/1
Chris Wood 60/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez 60/1
Tommy Fleetwood 60/1
Thongchai Jaidee 60/1
Alvaro Quiros 60/1
George Coetzee 60/1
Robert Karlsson 80/1
Romain Wattel 80/1
Brooks Koepka 80/1
Shane Lowry 80/1
Danny Willett 80/1
Simon Dyson 80/1
Raphael Jacquelin 100/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 100/1
Jorge Campillo 100/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 100/1
Morten Orum Madsen 100/1
Julien Quesne 100/1
Marcel Siem 100/1
Pablo Larrazabal 100/1
Paul Lawrie 100/1
Marcus Fraser 100/1
Alejandro Canizares 100/1
Stephen Gallacher 100/1
Thomas Aiken 125/1
Brett Rumford 125/1
Hennie Otto 125/1
Mikko Ilonen 150/1
David Howell 150/1
Maximilian Kieffer 150/1
Darren Clarke 200/1
Field (all others) 9/2

First of all, Darren Clarke is going off at 200/1. Everyone knows how much I love this stuff and one of these days I’ll be right and one of you will be filthy rich. So just think about it, OK?

Now for my real picks, I’m going to start off with Rory McIlroy. I’m not a fan of taking the favorite but in the case of McIlroy, you’d be damn foolish not to. McIlroy ended the year on a hot streak on the course and squared away his personal life by getting engaged to Caroline Wozniacki. Last year, the hype was about his signing with Nike, but that has died down and now the best player in the game (in my opinion) can focus on the golf. At 6/1, the payout isn’t massive but as I’ve said before, McIlroy is about as sure a thing as you get in golf.

I really like Tommy Fleetwood this week. Coming off a top-three finish at the Volvo Golf Champions, Fleetwood looks to stay hot. He won last year and has played superbly ever since. He has consistently been in the top 40 each week and seems to be getting better and better. All signs point to win No. 2 coming very soon. At 60/1, this would be a great week for him to get that win for anyone wise enough to throw some currency down on the young Englishman.


The next pick might sound crazy to some, but I’m going with Back9 Player Ambassador Padraig Harrington this week. I know, I know… he hasn’t won since he claimed the PGA in 2008 and has been overhauling his swing over the last couple years. But as of late, Harrington has played some quality golf. He finished T-5 last week at the Volvo Golf Champions and 2014 seems like it’ll be a make-or-break year for Paddy. At 60/1, you’d be remiss not to give the three-time major champion more than a passing glance this week.

Padraig Harrington putt

Joost Luiten comes into the HSBC as one of the hottest players on the planet. His last four starts have yielded two top-20 finishes and two top-five finishes. It looks like a guy who won twice on the European Tour last year is primed to claim his first title of 2014 in short order. At 25/1, Vegas is onto him and his hot streak, but that doesn’t mean he’s not worth a couple bills this week.

Well, I don’t know about you but I smell a good, nay, a great week ahead for me and your wallet. Go and choose wisely…


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