LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster picks, predictions & best bets from golf expert Diane Knox Balas
The third LIV Golf event takes place in New Jersey this week as the new tour hosts the LIV Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, and this one is sure to grab the headlines. The Saudi-backed LIV Golf event is being held at former President Donald Trump’s course, with some new defectors from the PGA Tour and a very well-known golf broadcaster moving over too.
Jason Kokrak, Charles Howell III and Henrik Stenson are the latest recruits, with Stenson causing the most controversy. Before the official announcement came from both LIV Golf and Stenson, Ryder Cup Europe had announced they were stripping the Swede of his 2022 team captaincy. They wrote: “In light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfil certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe that he had committed to prior to his announcement as captain … and it is therefore not possible for him to continue in the role of captain.”
Stenson, when the captain’s honor was announced in March, said “I will do everything in my power and leave no stone unturned in the quest to get the Ryder Cup back in European hands.” Well, the lure of LIV proved to be a giant rock!
Kokrak’s announcement came as little surprise, as Golf Saudi is one of his sponsors. Also, David Feherty joins the announcing team, which I think is a fantastic signing. He’s a huge personality who didn’t seem to be fully utilized at Golf Channel since his interview show ended. He’s a little off the wall and will really add to the energy on the broadcast.
Once again, Dustin Johnson is the firm favorite at +500 odds, especially after his top-10 finish at The Open at St Andrews. He’s followed by Talor Gooch (+1000), Bryson DeChambeau (+1200), Abraham Ancer (+1200) and Louis Oosthuizen (+1200). Brooks Koepka, fresh from his European honeymoon, is +1800.
Trump National Golf Club Bedminster: What you need to know
This year’s PGA Championship was meant to be held at Trump Bedminster. However, following the events of January 6, 2021, the PGA moved the major to Southern Hills.
There are two courses at Bedminster – the Old and the New – and both feature in the top 100 courses in the world. The Old Course hosted the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open. For this 3-day tournament, they’re combining holes on both courses to create a unique 18-hole experience. There are a lot of large bunkers on the course, and the greens feature a lot of contours. The fairways are wide and tree-lined, with deep rough, and water comes into play on a lot of holes.
The 6th hole on the Old Course is a downhill par-4 and features a gigantic island green, allowing for a variety of interesting pin placements. It’s a demanding course and seems to favor the longer hitters. The fact it was primed to host a major championship speaks volumes, too. By all accounts, the course is in great shape and it’s a stunning venue.
LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster picks
Jason Kokrak (+2200, DraftKings)
I like Jason Kokrak to come out of the gate hot, and I really like these odds. He was one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour (it feels weird to use the past tense), knows how to strategize his way around a course and his putting has really improved over the last 18 months. It shows in the fact he’s now a 3-time winner on the PGA Tour.
Matthew Wolff (+3500, BetMGM)
Matthew Wolff is another big hitter, and he started with a T8 finish in his first LIV Golf event in Portland. You can tell he’s excited to be out on this tour, and it looks like his game has been revitalized a little. Wolff is a creative player and has seemed to play his best when he is happy — hopefully he’s back to that place.
LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster prop bets
Bryson DeChambeau top-5 finish (+250, DraftKings)
Bryson DeChambeau has to be relishing the chance to let loose on this bomber’s course. After his surgery and underwhelming comeback, he played well at The Open and finished in the top 10. I think he’ll be amped up this week, and I like him to contend.
Patrick Reed top-10 finish (+120, DraftKings)
Affectionately known as Captain America after his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup glory, Patrick Reed has always been known as a great scrambler and putter. His last batch of PGA Tour stats showed he was beginning to get back to the player he was, and playing at this Trump course could fire him up.
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