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Rupert Wyman 10th Mar 2010 - 12:05

Kim to finally fulfil his potential

Anthony Kim had a fantastic rookie campaign but since then he has failed to fulfil his huge promise. He did not win an event last year but following last week's second place finish at the Honda Classic he looks well placed to register his third career win in this week's WGC-CA Championship at the TPC Blue Monster.

Kim is priced at 28/1 and if he is to continue his trend this season of improving in each of his starts then there is only one place that AK can finish.

To do well at the Blue Monster you need to be aggressive and make lots of birdies. The weather conditions look set to give us slow greens and low scores. This plays into the hands of a player like Kim. He makes aggressive shots and ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in scoring average this season.

Therefore his game should help him break par frequently and put him right in contention for honours. However, if he is to deliver he will have to perform for all of the four rounds, something which he himself has acknowledged. In both the Phoenix Open and Honda Classic he ruined his chances with a poor third round, he must not repeat the same mistakes at Doral.

If Kim fails to deliver four consistent rounds of golf then there are many primed to take advantage. The hottest player right now and arguably the player of the season so far is Camilo Villegas (14/1) and he too is someone who has previously failed to be consistent over four rounds.

However, with his first victory since 2008 in last week's Honda Classic he proved his consistency. As a result he now has an amazing record this season of three top-eight finishes in three starts. Unsurprisingly then he leads the Tour in scoring average and when you consider he finished T5 here last year then he is certainly capable of claiming back-to-back victories.

Despite his hot form though I think Villegas' odds are too short to back him this week as I still believe he has the tendency to implode and post a few bad holes.

In the last WGC event, the Accenture Match Play Championship, Villegas was edged out by Paul Casey on the 24th hole of an incredibly tense semi-final. In his first tournament since losing the final to compatriot Ian Poulter, Casey finished fourth in the Honda Classic.

Casey now has three top-10 finishes in as many starts this season and sometime soon he will claim his second career victory in America. One could argue in fact that he is where Villegas was last week, so I would sooner be on the 16/1 about the Englishman than the 14s for the Colombian.

One man who has countless victories to his name is of course Phil Mickelson. He is the defending champion but I am still unconvinced of his performances this season. Lefty should be revelling in having the top billing in the continued absence of Tiger Woods but instead he cannot get his game completely together.

His best finish this season is T8 at Pebble Beach and it is hard to see how he will improve on that when he is not even doing a practice round at Doral as surely a man in his position needs all the practice he can get?

It would take a brave man to back Mickelson at 9/1 and that man certainly is not me.

The main beneficiary of Mickelson's indifferent form has been Steve Stricker. The latter is now world number two after his win at the Northern Trust Open. The tournament at Rivieria was his last strokeplay start plus all 12 of his rounds this season have been under par, so one can argue that he is in form, but since his Northern Trust win he was knocked out of the Match Play in the first round by Ross McGowan.

I believe that Stricker is the kind of player that is at his best when the fields are weaker but when he is surrounded by the better players he doesn't quite deliver the goods. Consequently I will be leaving the 14/1 alone.

One player who has a great track record at Doral is Jim Furyk (25/1). In 12 starts he has missed the cut once and had six top-10s including finishing third last year and second in 2008. However, for a man who normally consistently finishes in the top 10 he is without one so far this season, so he doesn't have enough form this season for me, as good as his record at the course may be.

While Furyk is normally consistent, a player that is the complete opposite, hit and miss, is Dustin Johnson (33/1). Nevertheless Johnson has the game required to post the low scores required at the Blue Monster as he ranks third for driving distance, fourth in eagles, fifth in birdie average and third in par breakers.

A word of caution though is that he was 35th at Doral last year, but the conditions should be more to his preference this time around plus he won the Pebble Beach recently.

Johnson should be contending and I will support him, especially given the price, but my main choice is without doubt Anthony Kim despite the solid claims of Paul Casey among many others.



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