The LIV Golf Tour makes its first stop on U.S. soil in 2023 when the players and teams tee it up this week in Tucson, Arizona.
Charles Howell won the season-opening event two weeks ago in Mexico, claiming his first LIV title and pocketing the $4 million top prize. Howell’s team, captained by Paul Casey, won the team crown and added the winner’s share of the $5 million prize fund to their bank accounts.
For Howell, it was one of those weeks he won’t soon forget — especially the final round.
He led the way with eight birdies and had just 22 putts in carding a final-round 63 and winning the individual title by four strokes. Now it’s on to Tucson for the year’s second tournament (out of 14 on the schedule this year).
With the tournament set to kick off on Friday, we’ve still got a few questions that need to be answered. Are former PGA Tour superstars like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson motivated by the money they are being paid or by victories?
Are those players who have had solid careers (see Howell who has just four worldwide victories in his career, but millions and millions of dollars because he’s a cut-making machine) turning into the stars because they are hungrier?
Is there a possibility the LIV Tour’s money eventually runs out? The LIV brass is paying a lot of guaranteed money to back a tour that doesn’t seem to be gaining traction among fans or viewers. That’s usually the bottom line when it comes to making sure your tour is a success.
Enough with the questions. Let’s try to come up with a few answers about who might pocket that huge paycheck this week.
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Odds to Win LIV Golf Tucson
|Player||SuperBook Arizona Odds|
|Charles Howell III||+2000|
|Harold Varner III||+4000|
Don’t Look for Back-To-Back Wins
While it’s always nice to ponder the chance of a player going back-to-back, we’re going to take a hard pass when it comes to Howell.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why we’re staying away. After all, he’s only got four wins during his 23 years as a professional golfer. That’s one win every six years. A very nice career, sure, but nothing to write home about when it comes to getting on a hot streak.
Howell is +2000 this week and that’s a good number, but it’s not enticing enough for us to back him to win. That just narrows it down to the other 47 players in the field this week.
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LIV Golf Tucson Expert Analysis: Bet on Grace to Win
We’re looking at Branden Grace to win this week at +3000. His odds are attractive compared to betting favorites Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann (+1000).
Grace finished third in the individual competition two weeks ago with three solid rounds. He carded scores of 68, 68, and 67, but had little help from his teammates and they wound up fifth in the team portion of the tournament in Mexico.
Grace, who turned pro in 2007, had a solid career on the PGA Tour with two victories and more than $12 million in prize money. He also has 10 other wins worldwide, so he’s had success wherever he’s played.
In the LIV Tour’s inaugural season, Grace won the first time the tour landed in the United States, claiming the title in Portland. Why not win again when LIV again makes its first stop on U.S. soil for the 2023 season?
Looking for a Longshot?
Check out Pat Perez at +5500.
Perez is coming off one of his best finishes since leaving the PGA Tour for LIV when he wound up seventh in Mexico. He had rounds of 71, 71, and a final round of five-under-par 65.
Perez is also very comfortable in Arizona as he went to college at Arizona State in Tempe (well, for a couple of years anyway) before turning pro in 1997. He won three times on the PGA Tour, and earned almost $30 million before leaving for LIV.
Perez is part of Dustin Johnson’s 4 Aces GC team that dominated the team event last season. He’s got the hometown edge this week, so his fan support should be off the charts.
We’ll have to see whether that support transfers to impr
His scorching final round in the season-opening event shows the ability that helped him win those three PGA Tour events.
At +5500, it’s a number we will embrace.