The LIV Golf Series heads west this week to the Grand Canyon State! If you are a resident of the United States, you can watch all action live on the CW Network or stream live from the CW App or website. If you are outside of the United States, be sure to check Livgolf.com for details on streaming options.
This week LIV will make its Arizona debut at The Gallery Golf Club (South Course) in Marana, Arizona. The Gallery Golf Club was formerly seen on the PGA Tour, hosting the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship in 2007 and 2008. LIV’s Henrik Stenson won the event in 2007 and Tiger Woods won in 2008.
The Gallery Golf Club South Course opened in 2003 and was designed by John Fought. Fought also designed Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, which hosted the LIV Portland event last season. The course sits at 2875 feet above sea level and was nominated as one of Golf Digest’s 100 best courses. It features Bermuda grass fairways and Bent grass greens. You will see large turtleback greens throughout this week, which Fought credited Donald Ross’ Pinehurst No. 2 as inspiration. The fairways on the South Course are wide and forgiving.
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LIV Golf Tucson Course Breakdown
Below is the official round one scorecard provided by LIV Golf. The course will play as a 7469-yard par-71.
On the surface, this feels extremely long, especially given the fact that Mayakoba’s par-71 played over 400 yards shorter. That being said, we have to take into account the altitude of the course and the ball traveling farther at nearly 3000 feet above sea level. With wider fairways mitigating the importance of accuracy off the tee, I assume all players will hit driver as much as possible. Longer hitters will certainly benefit from this but at this altitude, I don’t believe anyone will be too short to compete this week.
This week should play as a second-shot course with the winner delivering a good short-game performance as well. Large green complexes, particularly with the design of the greens the players are hitting into is going to put an emphasis on not just hitting greens but sticking approach shots close. I’ll be looking heavily into approach play. I also think it’s important that players have a good short game this week. The greens are not easy, and the course is said to “play tougher the closer you get to the hole.”
Another thing to consider with approach shots this week is that we’re playing desert golf at a high elevation! Which players have succeeded in Arizona before? Have certain players had success when readjusting to club distances at a new altitude? With complex greens that require precise iron shots to get the ball close to the hole, guys will really have to lock in their distances if they wish to get good birdie looks this week.
A last thing to take into consideration is course history and John Fought design history. I realize the last notable course history we have here is a match-play event 15 years ago. Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey playing well back then may not mean a whole lot. But experience and good experience at that is better than nothing. If you want to look into history on John Fought courses, last year’s LIV Portland leaderboard could be a good spot to start. Branden Grace won the event followed by Carlos Ortiz, Dustin Johnson, and Patrick Reed.
LIV Golf Betting Odds – Tucson
Below are the current odds to win as presented by Bovada. Odds on different sportsbooks are subject to change.
LIV Golf Betting Strategy & Selections – Tucson
I am planning on starting my card in mid-tier this week. I will pick two players between 20-45/1 and then one longer shot 50/1 or over.
Patrick Reed +2000
The more I researched the course and what it would take to win this week, the more I knew Patrick Reed was going to be my guy up top. Reed’s biggest weakness over the past few years has been his driver. Accuracy off the tee hasn’t always been there and he doesn’t hit the ball long enough to make up for it. A course with generous fairways where I don’t believe distance will make or break a player is exactly what I want to hear when betting on the 32-year-old.
While Reed finished 38th at Mayakoba a few weeks ago, it’s not like we haven’t seen form from him this year. He finished second to Rory at the end of January in the Dubai Desert Classic event. The “tee gate” moment may be the takeaway from most that week, but Reed gained 1.29 strokes putting and just under a stroke around the green. He pressed Rory down the stretch on Sunday and looked like the Reed of old, a closer who was able to win in any field.
Captain America finished T3 at LIV Portland last year, a John Fought designed course. He also has a decent track record on courses with some elevation changes. Reed won the WGC Mexico event at Club de Chapultepec in 2020, a course that sits about 7800 feet above sea level. In terms of Arizona golf, Reed is four for four making the cut at the Waste Management.
My hunch is that Reed turns up the heat this week with the Masters around the corner, locks in his short game and is on the podium come Sunday.
Brooks Koepka +2800
There’s no way to dress it up, things have looked bleak for Brooks to start 2023. Am I worried? Not totally. Brooks is pretty notorious for starting the season slow and then popping up on the leaderboard. Before his win at the Waste Management in February of 2021, he missed three straight cuts to start the year. When he finished 2nd at the PGA Championship in May of 2021, he had played just four rounds since February, missing two cuts. He isn’t exactly a form golfer.
When you dive deeper into Koepka’s current problems, the driver is at the forefront. The four-time major champion finished 46/48 in the field last event in fairways hit. That’s no doubt problematic, but he may be able to get away with it this week. Generous fairways are going to give Koepka some margin for error off the tee and despite living in the rough, he still finished T13 in GIR last event.
I got Brooks earlier in the week at 35/1 but for purposes of this article I will list him at 28. Even at 28/1 I can’t pass on Brooks at a course that won’t demand accuracy off the tee. Not only is he a four-time major champion but he won the LIV Jeddah event last fall. Koepka always seems to find a way to show up and compete in the desert. On top of the Jeddah win, Koepka has a pretty good track record at Arizona desert golf courses. He has two wins and T3 finish at TPC Scottsdale at the Waste Management, an event played around this time of year.
Pat Perez +5000
Long gone are the Three Aces and Pat Perez jokes! Perez showed up to play in the finale at Doral last year and came out the gates hot with a 7th place finish at Mayakoba to start 2023. Perez finished the week T7 in Greens in Regulation and T2 in total birdies. It seems like the move to LIV has rejuvenated the 47-year-old. In appearance on the Draws N Fades Podcast in December, Abraham Ancer stated that he noticed Perez had been in the gym grinding and was working hard to improve his game.
Perez is also an Arizona guy through and through. He was born in Phoenix, attended Arizona State University and currently resides in Scottsdale. Him and Phil are probably the two guys in the field that feel the most comfortable playing in Arizona. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I actually believe Pat Perez is going to hang around this week. The crowd will be heavily behind him and he’s coming in off an impressive showing in Mexico.
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