Welcome to Virtual Insanity for OTB, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
The virtual pot is at €905 from €1000 for 2021 entering this week's tournament of focus, the Fortinet Championship on the PGA Tour in California.
The Fortinet Championship marks the official start of the 2021/22 PGA Tour season.
Played at the par 72 Silverado course, it was previously known as the Safeway Open.
This week's event starts at 3pm Irish time on Thursday and the field includes world number one Jon Rahm.
The Silverado course is a classic tree-lined target golf venue, with accuracy off the tee important. Four par fives provide an opportunity for decent ball strikers to make birdies, while good putting on the tricky poa-annua greens is a must.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, SKY Bet, Betfred, and Betway offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top 8.
Our headline selection is Doc Redman for €5 each way at 125/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet).
Virtual Insanity started in earnest a year ago and I watched the final round of this tournament wall to wall. Doc Redman shot a 62 to finish in a tie for third. Still only 23, the former US Amateur golf champion had four top-ten finishes last season and nearly won in Bermuda and at Congaree. I have followed him closely, and while inconsistent, he's talented. He strikes the ball well, which is what is required at Silverado. Coming back after a break, I believe Redman will win PGA Tour events and I am making him my headline pick.
Our second selection is Will Zalatoris for €4 each way at 22/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill).
If you take Jon Rahm out of calculations, which may be wise as he has the Ryder Cup next week - then the list of class acts is slim. Hideki Matsuyama does tee it up, but I am taking a chance that Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris can break his tournament duck. We know how beautifully he hits the ball - he was seventh in the approach stats last season. What's more important was the way he announced himself on his Masters debut - his second-place highlighting him as a future star in golf. There is something to what Patrick Reed called him - 'Showtime' - and the fairways and greens test this week is right up his alley.
Our third selection is Doug Ghim for €3 each way at 55/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, SKY Bet).
Once the top college golf player in America, ahead of Collin Morikawa, Ghim was on the same Walker Cup team as Redman and Zalatoris in 2017, a side which trounced Great Britain and Ireland 19-7. The 25-year-old has yet to really break through in what they call 'The Big Show', but I have seen progress. Ghim finished in the top 25 nine times last season and was 21st in strokes gained approach. His putter has been holding him back, but with a set of fresh eyes, he can improve on his tie for 14th place in this tournament last year.
Our fourth selection is Harry Higgs for €2 each way at 80/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet).
Freewheeling Harry Higgs, who comes across as a real likeable character on television, led the field in par five scoring in this tournament last year and also fired a 62. In the end he was pipped for second place behind the winner, Stewart Cink. Higgs has come off a mixed season, but a tie for fourth at the US PGA was noticeable and he concluded his campaign with two top 20's in his last three starts. There's the touch of the 'grip it and rip it' about him - I think he needs to be in the zone to contend, but he should have good memories from last year.
Our final selection is Nick Hardy for €2 each way at 250/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, William Hill, Betfair).
One of the features of a new season is a bunch of graduates from the feeder Korn Ferry Tour, some of whom will become stars in of golf. Nick Hardy finished in the top ten on 10 occasions in 41 stars on the Korn Ferry Tour over the last two years. It's now earned him his PGA Tour card. There were no wins, but plenty of decent finishes. His skills may fit Silverado like a glove - fifth in total driving - second in ball striking on the Korn Ferry Tour. If he can get comfortable early doors, he may out-perform his odds.
So that's €32 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home!
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!