The international stretch of the PGA season comes to a close in sunny Bermuda, home of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Port Royal Golf Course has proudly hosted this historically weak-fielded tournament for 5 years now. Other than Adam Scott, there are no standout players teeing it up this week. Unless you’re a die-hard Brendon Todd fan…
Regardless of the field strength, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship has had some very exciting finishes. Other than Brendon Todd running away with the inaugural event, the past 3 have all been back and forth on Sunday’s back nine. A lot of this has to be due to weather, as one would expect playing in a tropical location this time of year. While the radar looks fairly clear for this year’s tournament, don’t be shocked if there’s a large shift on the weekend with winds or rain affecting the field.
Best Bets for Butterfield Bermuda Championship
Alex Noren (+2500)
In a field as weak as this one, the odds look absolutely disgusting at the top of the board. If you’re betting Brendon Todd at 18/1 to win a PGA event, you probably also had Blockbuster shares, because that’s a flat-out bad investment. And you might say Alex Noren at 25/1 is not much better, and that might be fair.
However, I think Noren has a few things working for him that make the 25/1 tag manageable. First off, he’s a 10-time winner on the DP World Tour. He’s still looking for his first PGA victory, and it could not come at a better time. Currently sitting at 87th in the FedEx standings, a win here could help solidify Noren’s future exemptions, trying to lock in a Top 70 spot before the end of the Fall Swing.
Noren is also hands down one of the strongest golfers in the field. Albeit a weak field, Noren’s ability to get hot with both his irons and putter can help separate himself. With 7 Top 5 finishes over the past 2 seasons, being in a competitive finish is nothing new for Alex Noren. I’ll take a chance on him finishing strong on Sunday for his first Tour victory.
Russell Knox (+7500)
With winners like Brendon Todd and Brian Gay, it’s clear that distance does not matter in Bermuda. For Russell Knox, distance off the tee is his Achilles’ heel. With tee shots not mattering much, approach play becomes much more important. Knox happens to be amongst the best in this field approaching the green. He’s gained 2+ strokes to the field in 9 of his last 11 events, including 5 straight tournaments.
Knox’s short game is certainly questionable. His solid approach game should give him plenty of opportunities, and his past performances in Bermuda prove it. Before last year’s T49, his first 3 finishes were all inside the Top 16. While shot link is not available to see exactly what asset of Knox’s game kept him from finishing higher, I suspect his putter is what stopped Russell from really contending.
Port Royal fits Russell Knox’s game perfectly…if some bad weather shows up. With Knox’s inability to make enough birdie putts to contend with a -20 finish, some bad weather lowering the winning score is the dream scenario. If -15 can contend, I have no doubt Russell Knox can be there at the end, contending for the title. And at 75/1, I think it’s worth hoping for some tropical madness and an average putting performance from Russell Knox.
Brian Gay (+25000, Top 10 +1400)
Now here’s the true Hail Mary. Sitting at 250/1 to win the event, Brian Gay somehow has the best course history, and by far. He rivals Webb Simpson at the Wyndham and Rory at Quail Hollow. Brian Gay’s four finishes here have gone 3rd, Win, T12, and T11. Last year, he followed 3 consecutive rounds of shooting 5-under 66 with a 73 on Sunday. A Sunday 66 would’ve given Gay his second victory in 4 years.
I’m not going to claim Brian Gay is a great golfer at this point in his career. That’s nothing against Brian, and everything against Father Time. Gay primarily plays on the Champions Tour, but he gets a few opportunities every season to play against the youth. And I can guarantee he will continue to play in Bermuda for years to come. Who would turn down a trip to Bermuda this time of year? And with that tournament history?? Brian Gay will be playing the Butterfield until he’s 80.
By no means should anyone be placing a large wager on Brian Gay to actually win a PGA event. But there’s no denying his ability to play well in Bermuda, regardless of his form outside the tropics. The Butterfield Bermuda Championship has been Gay’s best finish the past 4 seasons. He pretty much misses every other cut in his PGA events. Winning is truly a stretch, but the real pick here is the Top 10 at +1400. His form is awful, but that hasn’t mattered in the past and he’s always contended.
While this can certainly turn disastrous very, very quickly, I’m standing my ground and trusting the history. The +1400 number on Brian Gay to finish Top 10 is the best value I’ve seen this entire season.