• Betting Bunker

Lytham focus to hurt Woods at Greenbrier

Josh Williams July 4, 2012
Jim Furyk was ninth at the Greenbrier in 2010 © Getty Images
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Click here to bet on the Greenbrier Classic at bet365

After his victory at the AT&T National last week, we can finally stamp down on all the conjecture and declare with some conviction that Tiger Woods is back.

Woods has now won three times on the PGA Tour this year - at the Arnold Palmer and Memorial as well as AT&T - to silence all those carping about his demise.

And those of you who have taken a little look at the ante-post Open Championship odds will realise that the bookmakers are once again running scared.

This week he rolls into town at the Greenbrier Classic, which is being held at the Old White TPC in West Virginia, looking to close on Sam Snead's record of PGA Tour wins (he's currently in second place, eight behind Snead).

But as well as he's playing, I'm not going to start advising people to back him at 7/2, mostly because he said after the AT&T that he's going to start trying a few different shots - with a lower ball-flight, mostly - ahead of the Open at Royal Lytham later this month. So if he's experimenting, he won't be at his best - and he's tended to fall to pieces recently when trying new "reps".

Williams' wagers

  • Jim Furyk E/W - 22/1 at bet365
    Ben Curtis E/W - 60/1 at bet365

The Old White course underwent a bit of an overhaul last year, a reactionary measure following Stuart Appleby's 59 in 2010. He had the track in the palm of his hand, the organisers didn't like it much - and responded accordingly, increasing the length.

So now players are faced with a long par 70, with generous fairways but tricky, sloping greens. The man who triumphs this week is going to be playing from the short grass regularly, accurate with his irons and skilled with the putter - sounds like Jim Furyk to me.

Apologies for drowning you in stats, but Furyk fits the profile perfectly: he's fifth in driving accuracy, 30th in greens in regulation, fifth when it comes to closeness of approach shots, and 23rd in strokes gained - putting. He shared ninth in 2010, so we know he can shine at the event, and he's playing well of late, as shown by his close shave at the US Open.

I'll also draw attention to 2003 Open winner Ben Curtis, who is a cracking price at 60/1. He shot a 67 and 68 at the revamped course last year, is second in driving accuracy, sixth GIR and first strokes gained - putting, which is a really exciting mix.

The form's there too: top 15s in four of his last six starts, and a win on the PGA Tour already this year.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk