Our PGA expert takes a look at the new faces on this years tour
I have received several emails that have asked for information on some of the newer players on tour. It seems that the bookmakers are beginning to use them in match-ups and they usually pair them with good “older” or tour veterans. Hopefully this will assist you in handicapping golf and not falling for the traps that the bookmaker sets.
Carlos Franco- I was very close in playing Franco in the MCI classic this past weekend as he has played well in this event but luckily stayed away. Franco, who hails from Asuncion, Paraguay, won the 1999 PGA Rookie of the Year award at age 35. He gained popularity at the Match Play Championships as he whipped up on David Duval and then Greg Norman. Franco has a tremendous putting touch and is very adept at difficult courses as he has played well at Firestone (NEC Championship), Carnoustie (British Open), and the Masters.
Jonathan Kaye- I got beat all last year playing against Kaye, typically he would be paired against Mark O’Meara and he would thump him. Kaye is 41st on tour this year in scoring average (70.95) and 99th in Greens-in-Regulation (70.9%). His driving distance and combined with accuracy puts him near the top 50. Kaye is intensely competitive and seems never to give up, proved from his come from nowhere to finish in the top 15 at the MCI Classic this last week. I imagine that is what the bookmakers see.
Stewart Cink- Interestingly Cink was used in several different match-ups during the Masters, an honor typically reserved for the elite of the game. Maybe he is an elite player as his victory over a top caliber field at the MCI Classic would indicate. He has currently made 7 consecutive cuts and has a 5th place finish in the AT&T tournament. He is long off the tee and ranked 47th in driving distance. What the bookmakers like is the 70.37 scoring average which ranks 16th on tour. He also hits Greens-in-Regulation at an almost 70% clip. What’s not to like, maybe I have let the cat out of the bag but Cink is one of the tour’s best.
Jerry Kelly- Kelly finished in the top 20 of this past weeks MCI Classic, he also has the great trait of finishing. He does not hit it very far and his Greens-in-Regulation are below 65% (yikes) but he continues to be a top flight competitor.
Lately as I have been handicapping the match-ups I have been trying to take the younger players against the more grizzled veterans. It is my theory that these young guys have a never say die attitude and have been toughened by the developmental tours (Nike, Buy.com). The more established players have too many other business and personal interests that tend to distract them. These young guns come out firing every week and have the added incentive to finish well so they can avoid the dreaded tour qualifying school.
thedailyspread.com | April 27th, 2000
– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
Jack brings over 20 years of experience and knowledge as a student of the game to the golf wagering arena.