Sobel’s 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions Betting Guide: Will the Elite Players Flourish?
Butch Dill, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Paul Casey
It’s not supposed to work this way. Sure, the game’s elite players will travel the globe and compete in tournaments during the autumn months, but like so many of them often say, they want their games to peak four times per year – and no offense to the Halloween Swing, but this ain’t one of ‘em.
In theory, these should be titles that the next tier of players can pick off, bolstering their status while the best of the best don’t go full-throttle six months before they “really” want to have their A-plus stuff.
Good theory, huh? It’s clearly being disproven so far.
The first two events of the three-tourney Asia Swing have been captured by Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods, who obviously understand that winning trophies in the Far East in October have little bearing on winning a Green Jacket at Augusta in April.
And so, if we truly believe that good things come in threes, then WGC-HSBC Champions favorite Rory McIlroy might very well be on the verge of a superstar triumvirate. Prior to a T-54 at Sheshan International GC last year, he’d finished sixth-or-better in his five appearances at this one, even without a victory.
Through all the Tiger hoopla at the Zozo Championship, it was easy to overlook another patented back-door top-five for Rory, who finished T-3 despite being a half-dozen strokes off the pace.
Unlike most WGCs, not all of the world’s top players are in this week’s field, but like most WGCs, the top players who do compete in this one tend to win it, as the champion’s list consists of stars and near-stars.
It’s difficult to envision an out-of-nowhere selection winning the impending version of this event, though there remains some value in looking (slightly) down the board.
Keep in mind that the first tee for this event is at 8:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday night.