Casey on the case in adopted state


Best bets

1.5pts each-way Paul Casey @ 12/1
1pt each-way Brooks Koepka @ 33/1
1pt each-way Henrik Stenson @ 40/1
0.5pt each-way Carlos Ortiz @ 28/1

view odds

Place FIVE pre-tournament bets and get an in-play matched FREE BET! T&Cs apply

We’re in the Arizona desert for LIV Tucson, the second leg of the rebel group’s 14-tournament series – the 54-hole shotgun start tees off today – and two European favourites will be feeling right at home there.

Henrik Stenson has particularly fond memories of this week’s venue, The Gallery at Dove Mountain, as it was on this 7649-yard, par 71 that he beat Geoff Ogilvy in the 2007 WGC-Accenture Match Play final with its then huge first prize of $1.35m.

The Swedish ace went close to retaining it, edged out on the last green by Tiger in the semis the following year. Dredging up form so old it has gone green at the edges is normally a fast track to the poor house but Stenson has already pulled off one big shock since joining LIV last July. He won at 50/1 on debut in New Jersey, the price reflecting the general perception that his contending days were long gone. Although Henrik has not gone close to repeating that form, positive mental association with The Gallery gives him a head start.

The Brits have so far failed to shine for LIV (although Lee Westwood hit the crossbar in Boston) but expat Paul Casey who owns a ranch on the outskirts of Phoenix is fit enough now to change all that.

Casey was fourth first time up in Mayakoba last month and knows The Gallery well from those Match Play days. He got through two rounds in 2008 and this is his time of year. He is a double winner of the Valspar Championship, this week’s feature on the PGA circuit.

Brooks Koepka is another with desert pedigree. His first and last PGA Tour wins came six years apart in Phoenix and this multiple major champion finally started repaying his mega LIV signing-on fee by winning the final individual event of 2022 in Jeddah.

Dogged by injury, he had looked a shadow of the great golfer he was but now that he’s had that adrenaline rush as a winner again, he’s a dangerous proposition.

The same goes for big rival Bryson DeChambeau and it will be interesting to see if the slimmed-down, new-look 2020 US Open champion can match the big words with a big performance. He has yet to finish better than tenth with LIV and was the least productive member of his team in Mexico.

Also searching for form is LIV’s 2022 numero uno Dustin Johnson. That 37th place in Mayakoba with one round of 78 was a wake-up call and we can expect the real DJ to stand up this time. He and the other star signing, Open champion Cam Smith, head Fitzdares’ betting with the classy Chilean Joaquin Niemann not far behind.

Niemann is far too talented to remain a non-winner under the LIV banner for much longer but his price is short enough and better value can be had with Carlos Ortiz, ninth at Mayakoba and a winner since on the Mexico Tour.

He isn’t a big hitter but although the course, laid out by former tour pro John Fought in 2003, is a long one on paper, the ball goes flattering distances in the pure desert air.

For all your bets on the PGA Tour, visit our dedicated golf betting page.

Please play responsibly