Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
It's been a good start to the year for our tipping column, but last week we came up empty handed at the Honda Classic.
Headline tip Keith Mitchell was tied for ninth, just out of the places.
So profit is at 20% for 2022 as the virtual pot is at €1200 from €1000 entering this week's primary PGA Tour tournament of focus, the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.
We will also have selections for the Puerto Rico Open on OTB Sports.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational is played at Bay Hill, a par 72 with a lot of water in play. Greens are Bermuda and the course can be generous or biting, depending on the wind. There's an imperative for good ball striking, as the rough is thick.
The tournament starts at 11.45am Thursday, Irish time.
Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell are in the field.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill and SKY Bet offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top 8 places.
Our first selection is Matthew Fitzpatrick for €4 each way at 30/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill).
A stomach bug caused England's Matt Fitzpatrick to withdraw from the Genesis Invitational. He entered that week off a tie for 10th in Phoenix and a tie for sixth at Pebble Beach. Fitzpatrick has always been a crack putter, but it's his long game stats which interest me - he's second in approach on the PGA Tour this season and second in total strokes gained. Bay Hill fits his eye, as he's posted finishes of tied 10th, tied 9th and second in the last three years. Twice a winner of the DP World Tour Championship, 27 year old Fitzpatrick became the first Englishman to win the US Amateur since 1911 back in 2013. He strikes me as somebody who has a ferocious work ethic and his maiden win on the PGA Tour may be imminent.
Our second selection is Rory McIlroy for €3 each way at 12/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill).
The only reason I am not headlining Rory McIlroy this week is his wedge game - he was the main selection at the Genesis Invitational, but I felt he needed to sharpen up his irons. That said, one can't leave out a player who won this tournament with a closing 64 in 2018 and has finished in the top 10 on his last five starts at Bay Hill. This course suits his long, straight driving and a player as naturally talented as McIlroy will always be a part of the conversation, even if there are silly mistakes. A serial PGA Tour winner with 20 titles, McIlroy is also a great each way bet in golf tournaments for a small profit. That's the strategy this week and if he wins, all the better.
Our third selection is Keith Mitchell for €3 each way at 35/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet).
It's important to stick with players you believe in and last week's headline selection Keith Mitchell finished tied for ninth at the Honda Classic, his third finish in a row inside the top 12. Excellent off the tee, he may be inspired by his college buddy Sepp Straka winning last week. Mitchell has a tie for sixth and a tie for fifth at Bay Hill to his name from three starts. He's arguably playing his best ever golf, so he's a strong contender to win.
Our final selection is Christiaan Bezuidenhout for €3 each way at 60/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Betfred).
The Arnold Palmer Invitational was the first American tournament in which South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout made his mark, sitting fourth with 18 holes to go on his debut in 2020, before ending in a tie for 18th. Last year we put him up in this feature and he was solo seventh. His European Tour wins demonstrate that he's not afraid to close the deal and he's got a magical short game. Bezuidenhout carded a 66 in the final round of the Honda Classic last Sunday and the 27 year old must enter calculations.
So that's €26 wagered virtually on this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!