Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
Virtual Insanity is going to end up in profit for 2021 as the pot is at €1478 from €1000 for 2021 with this the final week of the feature before we reset for 2022 in January.
We have tipped five winners since the beginning of the year at prices of 60/1, 33/1, 22/1, 12/1 and 9/1 and among the many places were golfers at 150/1, 150/1 and 175/1.
So sincere thanks to everyone who has consulted the column in 2021. I hope it has informed your decision-making.
To finish our recommendations for the year, we will look at the RSM Classic on the US PGA Tour in Georgia and the DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour in Dubai.
Both tournaments start on Thursday.
There are two golf courses in use for the RSM Classic on Sea Island in Georgia, the parkland Plantation Course, a par 72 which is used for one round on Thursday or Friday, and the links like Seaside Course, a par 70 which is encountered for three of the four rounds. The biggest defence of the Seaside Course is wind, and it is forecast to blow this week. Past winners of the RSM Classic have tended to be accurate players with tidy games and a hot putting touch. That's what's required here. Seamus Power and Graeme McDowell carry Irish interest.
Bets need to be placed by 2.30pm Irish time on Thursday.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair and SKY Bet offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top 8 places.
Our first selection is Corey Conners for €6 each way at 25/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, SKY Bet).
One of the things I noticed about Jason Kokrak, the winner of the Houston Open last week, was that he took a break heading into the tournament. Canadian Corey Conners hasn't been seen for a month, so he goes to Sea Island refreshed. A model of consistency, Conners has just come off his best season on the PGA Tour, a run which included eight top ten finishes from 29 starts. He's made eight cuts in a row and this venue suits his accurate game - he finished in a tie for tenth in the event last year. Conners was 12th in strokes gained tee to green last season. The putter has held him back at times, but his only win on the PGA Tour came on Bermuda greens at the Texas Open. He will be putting on Bermuda this week. I believe the man from Listowel (in Canada) is due another win on the circuit and he's the headline selection.
Our second selection is Doug Ghim for €5 each way at 125/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, SKY Bet).
I still have faith that American Doug Ghim, once the top ranked college golf player in the USA, can make his mark on the PGA Tour. The former Walker Cup player was 21st in the approach statistics last season. His putter has been the weakest club in the bag, but he performs better on Bermuda surfaces than others - his performances at the American Express, Bay Hill and the Players Championship last season are supporting factors in that argument. He was inside the top 30 in Mexico on his last start and closed with a 64 in this tournament last year for a share of 18th. I have a sense this may be his breakout week.
Our third selection is Patrick Rodgers for €4 each way at 80/1. (1/5 the odds the first 6 places, William Hill).
When weighing up who is going to contend to win a golf tournament, mindset is key. When you have a college record which rivals Tiger Woods, as Patrick Rodgers did at Stanford, it's hard when your arrival on the PGA Tour doesn't go the way you'd expect. Rodgers nearly lost his privileges in September, scraping through the Korn Ferry Tour finals to regain the card he had lost for slipping outside the top 125 on the PGA Tour. A freer mindset has resulted in him posting a tie for sixth at the Fortinet Championship and a fourth place at the recent Bermuda Championship, where he played well in the wind. Now at 26th in the current Fed Ex Cup standings, the pressure should be off Rodgers, who hits the ball far and is a decent putter. He closed with weekend rounds of 61 and 62 in the RSM Classic back in 2018, losing a play off to Charles Howell. Maybe this is the week when he finally gets that deserved PGA Tour victory.
Our fourth selection is Denny McCarthy for €3 each way at 90/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Betfred).
One of our regular selections on Virtual Insanity is another former Walker Cup star, American Denny McCarthy, who was ranked statistically as the best putter on the PGA Tour in 2019 and 2020. Notably, his best putting performances have come on Bermuda, such as last week when he ended in a tie for 11th in Houston. That followed a near miss at the Sanderson Farms Championship and a tie for 15th at Mexico. It's been a promising start to the new season and the only thing McCarthy has failed to do is put it all together over four rounds. His tie for eighth in this tournament back in 2019 included a 62 at the Seaside Course. He's another progressive golfer who could go close this week.
Our fifth selection is Andrew Landry for €2 each way at 125/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet).
It's feast or famine when it comes to golf for American Andrew Landry, who has thrown in a tie for fourth and a tie for seventh along with three missed cuts so far this season. He likes the RSM Classic, with two top five finishes to his name on Sea Island. The 34-year-old is a streaky player who misses a lot of cuts, but he knows how to get the job done. He has won the Texas Open and American Express, courses that both showcase Bermuda greens. If it's a going week, he's a lively outsider.
Our final selection this week is Camilo Villegas for €2 each way at 150/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Betfred).
Colombia's Camilo Villegas has experienced personal tragedy in recent years, but he's still competing on the PGA Tour. He is somebody I am looking out for and rooting for, regardless of this feature article, which is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. He's won four times on the PGA Tour and I believe he is capable of doing so again. He made a blinding start to this event last year, ultimately ending in a tie for sixth. It wasn't his first decent result on Sea Island - he was tied for second back in 2016. Villegas likes Bermuda greens and he played well for the final 54 holes of the recent Bermuda Championship. If there is any golfer you would love to see win a tournament, it's Camilo Villegas.
DP World Tour Championship
The Earth Course is the venue for the season ending Tour Championship in Dubai. Jon Rahm won't be teeing it up, but Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry will.
This is a par 72 golf course with generous fairways that suits the big hitters. Water is a danger on some holes, but scores will be low.
Bets need to be placed by 4.15am Irish time on Thursday.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill and Betfred offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top 7 places.
Our first selection is Robert MacIntyre for €3 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill).
Rory McIlroy will be difficult to beat this week, but I am taking him on with the talented Scot, Robert MacIntyre. Last year he was at the business end of the leaderboard, but slipped away with a final round 77. Since then, he's posted a tie for 12th at the Masters as a rookie and then was the leading British and Irish player at the Open Championship, where he was tied eighth. So he's not afraid of the big stage. His form since then has been moderate, but he did shoot four rounds in the 60's in Dubai last week. He's a decent putter and that's going to matter on this golf course.
Our second selection is Victor Perez for €2 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 6 places, SKY Bet, Betway).
In recent weeks Victor Perez of France has recaptured the form that made him a contender to make the Ryder Cup golf team earlier this year. Whether it was pressure or just being out of sorts - he went through a horrible spell following his fourth place at the World Matchplay back in March. However, at the Portugal Masters something clicked and he notched a tie for eighth and then closed with a 65 in Dubai last week. He was seventh in this tournament last year, is a good iron player and may be thereabouts on Sunday.
Our final selection this week is Dean Burmester for €2 each way at 40/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, William Hill, Betfred).
South African Dean Burmester is one of the longer hitters in the field and he took an immediate shine to the DP World Tour Championship in 2017, finishing in a tie for fourth. He replicated that result a year later and last year came home in a tie for 14th. He's shot 65 on more than one occasion at the Earth Course so it suits his eye. He won in Tenerife earlier this year and highlighted his well being of late with a top ten at the Dunhill Links. He rates as a solid each way option.
So that's €58 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Please make sure you bet less at home! A euro each way will do!
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!