PGA TOUR Odds: Butterfield Bermuda Championship Preview at Port Royal Golf Course

Written By John Haslbauer on October 24, 2022
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Bermuda, best known for its grass, shorts, and triangles, is the next stop on the “International” swing during the Fall series. It’ll be a quick flight from South Carolina as the field heads to Port Royal Golf Course for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Handicapping PGA TOUR odds in a weaker field will be a challenge this week.

At the least, it’s a beautiful setting, right on Bermuda’s coastline with views of the Atlantic horizon throughout, this tournament has proven to be one of the most weather-impacted of any on TOUR, and is one of the few instances per year where I’ve found myself practicing patience with my betting card construction. As of Sunday night, the forecast in Bermuda calls for Thunderstorms and winds as high as 20-25 MPH from Thursday to Sunday. It’ll be important once again to monitor the weather going into this year’s event.

When winds are down, this is a short course that has rewarded shorter plodders in the field. But when winds are up, it’s the bombers who have been able to find separation from the field. That, in short, explains how players like Brian Gay & Brendon Todd and Lucas Herbert & Taylor Pendrith have enjoyed similar success at this event despite being opposite player types. The field strength is a stark contrast from the elite assembly of players we saw at the CJ Cup last week, but somebody has to win, so let’s get into the key facts and info about Port Royal GC before betting Bermuda Championship odds.

BUTTERFIELD BERMUDA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS: THE FAVORITES

To compare PGA TOUR odds in legal sports betting states, as well as other Butterfield Bermuda Championship offerings, scroll to the bottom of this post.

D. McCarthy
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+1400
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+1600
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+1600
T. Detry
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+1800
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+2000
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+1800
A. Meronk
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+1800
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+2800
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+2500
M. Hubbard
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+2500
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+2200
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+2200
S. Power
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+2500
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+2200
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+2500
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BUTTERFIELD BERMUDA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS: FIELD AT A GLANCE

Last year, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship drew the weakest OWGR field rating of any primary PGA TOUR event that did not run opposite another. That was influenced in part by some COVID-related travel complications, which led to a massive wave of late withdrawals. But in any case, this year’s event looks to be even worse.

It’ll be a tall order for the broadcast crew to assemble Featured Group pairings this week, as I struggle to highlight even one notable name in this field. Last year, Matt Fitzpatrick opened as the favorite at 11-1 odds, followed by Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Patrick Reed, and Mito Pereira in the sub-20-1 odds range. This year, none of those four will return. The top OWGR-rated player in this week’s field is Seamus Power, No. 48 in the world. Denny McCarthy (No. 83), Lucas Glover (No. 92), and Erik van Rooyen (No. 97) are the only other OWGR top-100 player in the field.

Defending champion, Lucas Herbert, could not be bothered to make an appearance for his title defense, nor could 2020 champion, Brendon Todd. Brian Gay will be the only past winner in the field this week.

INTRODUCTION TO PORT ROYAL GC

Port Royal Golf Course is a Robert Trent Jones-designed public course in Southamption, Bermuda. It was founded in 1965, underwent renovation in 2009, and has been stationed on the PGA TOUR schedule since 2020. In its first year, the Bermuda Championship ran opposite of the WGC-HSBC China event, but in the ensuing three years as a primary event, it has still struggled to attract a formidable field.

The elements will always play a significant factor in determining a winner at the Bermuda Championship. Last year, Taylor Pendrith gave up a sizable lead on Sunday, playing through afternoon rain and wind that eventually forced a temporary stoppage. So while the scorecard yardage and hole layouts may not look intimidating, the ability to flight tee shots and approaches through the wind and navigate steep elevation changes are unique skillsets needed at Port Royal GC.

How It Breaks Down

At 6,828 yards, Port Royal GC is the shortest par-71 on TOUR, and the second shortest overall behind only TPC River Highlands. It has produced consistent results from short course specialists like Brendon Todd, Brian Gay, and Ryan Armour. With that said, we’ve also seen an advantage to bombers when the elements pick up, given the persistence of head winds on this highly exposed coastal set up.

There is not much hidden yardage in this course. All three par-5s are under 555 yards, six par-4s measure under 400 yards, and only one par-4 measures above 450 yards. With that said, the wind will make this course play more difficult than the scorecard yardage would suggest, and only eight holes have a scoring average under par.

With this course sitting outside the continental United States, we do not have the luxury of Strokes Gained data to draw conclusive trends from, however, the basic stats available can still paint a helpful picture. Driving Accuracy has fallen below 55% in each of the first three years played at this event, which is down significantly from the TOUR average of 65%. That is a factor of the narrow fairways, but more likely a result of high winds blowing tee shots off course, and the 2-inch Zoysia rough not imposing enough of a penalty for players to actively club down for accuracy. Greens In Regulation percentage is also down by about 5% compared to TOUR average, which we can assume is caused by a combination of the high winds and weak fields.

Average Driving Distance was well above the TOUR average at the 2020 Bermuda Championship, and well below-average in 2021 and 2022. That is a direct correlation with the severity of the wind, so if the forecast holds, a weather-impacted event should penalize the shorter hitters and reward the bombers.

PORT ROYAL GOLF COURSE SPECS

  • Yards: 6,828
  • Par: 71 (4x 3’s / 11x 4’s / 3x 5’s)
  • Greens: Bermuda
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones
  • Historical Cut Line: Even
  • Median Score 4-round Score: -5 (’22), -5 (’21), -9 (’20)
  • Comp Courses: PGA National, Pebble Beach, Corales GC, Coco Beach, El Camaleon, Sea Island GC, Waialae CC
  • Past Winners: Lucas Herbert -15 (’22), Brian Gay -15 (’21), Brendon Todd -24 (’20)
  • Hole-by-hole Breakdown:
Port Royal GC (6,828 Yards)

COURSE HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS

Brian Gay is the unofficial Mayor of Bermuda, with finishes of T3, 1st, and T12 in his first three appearances. This is seemingly the only course he’s capable of playing well on anymore, as a lack of preceding form has not mattered for him entering this event.

Looking at total course history over the first three years, the top-10 at Port Royal are Brian Gay, Harry Higgs, Wyndham Clark, Brendon Todd, Lucas Herbert, Russell Knox, Aaron Wise, Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Reed, and Danny Lee. It’s hard to draw any strong trends from that group, but it does seem to predominantly favor players who are strong Bermuda putters and good ball-strikers in windy, coastal conditions.

There are just seven players who have avoided missing the cut at this event in each of its first three years: Brian Gay, David Hearn, Denny McCarthy, Kramer Hickock, Russell Knox, Ryan Armour, and Seamus Power.

Eight players in this week’s field have recorded multiple top-20 finishes over its first three years: Brian Gay, Russell Knox, David Hearn, Kramer Hickok, Denny McCarthy, Hank Lebioda, Peter Malnati, and Ryan Armour. In just one prior appearance, Harry Higgs, Alex Smalley, Scott Piercy, Chad Ramey, Justin Lower, Chesson Hadley, Tyler Duncan, and Stephan Jaeger have looked strong with a T20 finish apiece.

Course Comps

I won’t be putting as heavy of an emphasis on Comp Course History this week as I normally would, given the drastic influence of the weather and unique importance of driving distance for a <6,900 yard course. We are also without the aid of Strokes Gained data from past events at Port Royal GC, so the perceived important characteristics at this event are less objective.

With all of that said, I lean towards PGA National, host of the Honda Classic, as the top overall comp to Port Royal GC. Both courses are played on Bermuda greens, have been exposed to high winds and rain, and reward driving distance despite the lack of overall scorecard yardage.

PGA National aside, Pebble Beach, Corales GC, Coco Beach, El Camaleon, Sea Island GC, and Waialae all share coastal layouts, heavily influenced by the wind on similar agronomy and similar strengths of field.

Combine performance across this list and the top-10 players in Comp Course History here are Seamus Power, Cameron Percy, Adam Long, Thomas Detry, Brice Garnett, Kramer Hickok, Alex Smalley, Lucas Glover, Matthias Schwab, and Ryan Brehm.

KEY STATS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BETTING PGA TOUR ODDS

  • SG: T2G (Recent Form)
  • Driving Distance
  • Good Drives Gained / Driving Accuracy
  • SG: APP / SG: Ball Striking
  • SG: ARG
  • SG: TOT (High Winds)
  • Par-3 Scoring
  • SG: P (L36, Bermuda)
  • Course & Comp Course History

Whenever at events without ShotLink equipped, I tend to build a broader model with more all-encompassing metrics. With that being the case again this week at Port Royal GC, I’ll be building my model around SG: T2G in order to set a baseline of recent form leading in. The top-10 players in SG: T2G entering this week are Stephan Jaeger, Mark Hubbard, Davis Thompson, Adam Long, Ben Griffin, Scott Piercy, Michael Gligic, Alex Smalley, Robert Streb, and Aaron Rai.

With wind expected to effect approach proximity day to day, I’m overlooking the specific proximity and hole range statistics and instead honing in on SG: APP. Looking at the best approach players heading into this week, the top-10 in terms of SG: APP include Mark Hubbard, Chesson Hadley, Adam Schenk, Erik van Rooyen, Ben Griffin, Lucas Glover, Adam Long, Alex Smalley, Sam Ryder, and Aaron Rai.

Wind stats are a bit flawed, but should act as a helpful starting point for players who can successfully flight their ball in coastal, windy conditions. The top-10 in terms of SG: TOT in High Winds are Robert Streb, Camilo Villegas, Seamus Power, Sean O’Hair, Adam Long, Scott Brown, Scott Gutschewski, Chesson Hadley, Chad Ramey, and Scott Piercy.

Looking at the list of top-performing players at this event over its first three years, the ideal formula would seem to include above-average ranks in SG: T2G, SG: Ball Striking, SG: TOT (High Winds), Comp Course History, and SG: P (Bermuda). There are 12 players who fit that criteria: Ben Griffin, Chesson Hadley, Callum Tarren, Mark Hubbard, Patrick Rodgers, Thomas Detry, Greyson Sigg, Sam Ryder, Ryan Armour, Scott Piercy, SH Kim, and Adam Long.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: ADAM LONG

I don’t even know what constitutes a longshot in this field anymore, but we’ll take a shot on Long. In the short term, Long’s stats have not jumped off the page to kick off the 2023 season, but when you’re backing Long, you have to think long-term. Over his last dozen starts, he’s posted top-25 finishes in half of them, contending along the way at short course events like the RBC Heritage, Travelers Championship, and John Deere Classic. The opposition will be far less steep this week, so the sustained high finishes are an encouraging sign to see.

Like the first three winners of the Bermuda Championship (Todd, Gay, Herbert), Long also possesses the ability to win a tournament with his putting alone. He’s gained 9+ strokes putting twice over his last seven starts, and over the course of his career, has putted well above his baseline on Bermuda greens. He ranks top-10 in this field in SG: P L36 and Bermuda.

Beyond the putting stats however, Long has made a surprise ascent to the No. 1 spot in my model, ranking top-10 in SG: T2G, SG: APP, SG: Ball Striking, Comp Course History, SG: TOT (High Winds), and Good Drives Gained. His prominence on comp courses stand out in particular, considering he’ll be making his Bermuda Championship debut this week. Over the last three years, he’s posted six top-25 finishes across the Mayakoba Championship, Corales Puntacana, RSM Classic, and Honda Classic.

He may only have one career PGA TOUR victory, but not for long.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT THE 2023 BUTTERFIELD BERMUDA CHAMPIONSHIP

It is hard to get too excited for an event that even the defending champion couldn’t be bothered to make an appearance for, but we’ll try our best to navigate the odds board in spite of that. These weeks tend to lend themselves to a longer outright betting card, considering the randomness that comes from this type of weather-impacted tournament, and the lack of separation in talent between the top and middle tiers of this field. There’s going to be plenty of players I place my money on for the first time this week, but any sweat come Sunday would be welcomed.

With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool. Naturally, I’m looking their way in the PGA TOUR odds as well. I’ve broken the list down by projected pricing/odds tier for DraftKings.

In my model, I’m emphasizing SG: T2G, SG: APP, SG: Ball Striking, SG: P (L36 & Bermuda), and Comp Course History, followed by a more balanced mix of Good Drives Gained, SG: TOT (High Winds), SG: ARG & Scrambling, and Driving Distance.

Model Favorites

Last week Rory McIlroy was No. 1 in the model, and this week it’s…Adam Long. Not quite the same we expected ahead of the CJ Cup last week, but I’m already intent to bet Long, so I wouldn’t mind seeing back to back winners for the model.

After Long, the rest of my model’s top 10 features Ben Martin, Alex Smalley, Chesson Hadley, Callum Tarren, Mark Hubbard, Patrick Rodgers, Hank Lebioda, Stephan Jaeger, and Thomas Detry. 

When odds open on Monday, I’ll be looking to start a longer card around Stephan Jaeger, Adam Long, and Scott Piercy, however I’ll likely wait to place my bets until further details on weather splits are released later in the week.

Check back in later this week for more updates, and best of luck betting PGA TOUR odds!

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COMPLETE PGA TOUR ODDS: BUTTERFIELD BERMUDA CHAMPIONSHIP

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John Haslbauer Avatar
Written by
John Haslbauer

John Haslbauer writes about golf betting and advanced golf metrics for TheLines.com. He is a passionate golf fan, golf writer, and (casual) golfer. A graduate at Syracuse University, John works out of Jersey City as a Director of Media Strategy for HBO and HBO Max. He created the website thepgatout.com at the start of 2021 and is active on Twitter (@PGATout). No, he is not a tout. The Twitter handle is a joke. Touts are lame. We hate touts.

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