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Golf Betting: The FBR Open (formerly the Phoenix Open)

Golf Betting: The FBR Open (formerly the Phoenix Open)

Jim Nantz has his hands full with Nick Faldo. Last Sunday the two were on camera in the booth at the start of final round coverage of the Buick Invitational on CBS. Nantz welcomed Faldo to CBS, mentioned Augusta and Faldo said he’d wear his green jacket and drink a pina colada. Not before air, Nantz said, shocked, to which Faldo said something like, Why, is that forbidden? Nantz changed the subject like Faldo was a missing weapon of mass destruction.

Shortly after that, Faldo grabbed Nantz by the lapels in explaining what the young players in contention needed to do to beat Tiger. Nantz looked on the verge of a fainting spell.

Faldo was wearing a tie during the weekend coverage on CBS, the first time I’ve seen him in one this year. It must be weird to work the same tournament for the first two days as the Mac guy and for the last two as the PC.

I imagine he got a talking to regarding cocktail talk at Augusta and roughling Nantz’s feathers. “Mr. Faldo, here at CBS we shun personality. Look at Mr. Nantz. Look at his hair. Please understand this is golf, a civilized game with civilized hair, and we don’t talk about happy hour on air, we wait until we’re off air then get ripped. Wait til you see Mr. Nantz throw down the gin and tonics …”

Golf civility is taking the week off with the FBR Open. You know this tournament, formerly the Phoenix Open. Stadium seating, huge crowds, beer flowing. An ad for the tournament could be: This is Phil Mickelson. (Shot of Mickelson smiling) This is Phil Mickelson’s brain. (Close-up of a driver the size of a human head) This is Phil Mickelson’s brain on the FBR Open. (Shot of a frat guy funneling a beer, arms raised, then blasting his tee shot on the miniature golf course)

Last week: Tiger’s win at 7-4, 1/6 unit, netted just $292. I lost the head-to-head when Lucas Glover didn’t make the cut and Charley Hoffman did with another solid tournament. Must rethink betting against first-time winner the week after he wins. So, $292 minus a unit equals $-708 for the week. That’s my first losing week and it brings my season total down to $387.

At this week’s FBR Open take Vijay Singh (9-1), 1/6 unit in the outright: This tournament is top-heavy with good players who’ve had success in Phoenix, like Mickelson, DiMarco and Singh. As always, it’s about putting with Singh. He’s already got a win and hasn’t hit his stride. He’ll make his birdies this week. Mickelson could break out but he’s got a new driver. You just never know what you’re going to get. He broke out the extra driver at Augusta and won. The first time he won at Augusta he put the driver away when he needed to. I’m done trying to get into his head. I just see these three as the best bets and of them I’ll take Singh just about every time.

Take Bart Bryant (50-1), 1/6 unit: Powered by the ‘stache, T7 last week. A green-hitting machine with putting issues.

Take Camilo Villegas (66-1), 1/6 unit: A little surprised a long-hitter who finished T2 last year is getting 66-1. Through two rounds in 2007 he’s putting well but this week is going to be an adventure. He finished T3 at TPC last year, another stadium course, and T2 at Doral, where he had a big gallery all week. He seems to thrive with the attention, which he’ll get this week.

In the head to head, take Mark Calcavecchia over Geoff Ogilvy (6-5), 1 unit: You can look at Calc’s success at the FBR Open---three wins---but check out his birdie average and total birdies: he ranks second and fifth, respectively. That’s a stat worth considering at the birdie-happy FBR. Ogilvy’s been pretty good with T25, T27, MC and T40 in four tries, but it’s impossible to bet against a resurgent Calcavecchia in his comfort zone.

Michael Cash
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