LIV Golf is gearing up for the second event of its 2023 season, and they will do so buoyed by some of the criticism being targeted at the PGA Tour at the moment. Whether this will translate to any increase in interest in the LIV Golf League itself remains to be seen, but there is certainly a growing sense of unrest surrounding the PGA Tour at the moment, which can only work in LIV’s favor for now.
This week, LIV heads to Tucson, Arizona, and more specifically The Gallery Golf Club in Marana. The South Course here was used for the WGC Match Play in 2007 and 2008 but has not been used by an event at this level since. Will the veterans in this field benefit from their previous knowledge of the course, or will current form be most important? Let’s find out below.
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LIV Golf Format
If you are still yet to watch a LIV event but are planning on tuning in this week, this is what you can expect.
48 players will tee it up in 54 holes of strokeplay, with an individual and a team leaderboard running simultaneously. Each individual player in this event is part of a four-man team, and their play directly impacts their team leaderboard as well. The idea is to have multiple players from your team contending on the week, and most importantly you want the winning player on your team.
Who Won the First LIV Event of the Season?
Charles Howell III won the first event of the season in Mexico and his team Crushers GC also won the Team Event, as both Howell III and Paul Casey (4th) finished high up the leaderboard.
LIV Golf Tucson Course Preview
The South Course at The Gallery Golf Club, Marana, was used in 2007 and 2008 for the WGC Match Play event, first won by Henrik Stenson, and then the following year by Tiger Woods.
It is hard to put much stock into those results for two reasons. One, both of those players have historically been two of the best in the game, and two, playing match-play events, versus stroke play is very different.
There is talk that the South Course at The Gallery Golf Club is similar to Pinehurst No.2, given its mounded greens and large fairways. With that in mind, and the fact it has hosted two WGCs in the past, chances are, former major winners or contenders are going to be favored at this sort of layout.
John Fought designed this course, and he was also responsible for the Pumpkin Ridge course that LIV played in Portland last year. Branden Grace won that week.
Fought was also responsible for The Country Club of Jackson, which is used each year for the Sanderson Farms Championship on the PGA Tour. Course winners there include Sergio Garcia and Sebastian Munoz.
LIV Golf Tuscon Key Stats
- Greens in Regulation – You are going to need to hit greens with regularity here, in order to stand a chance of making the birdies you need to contend.
- SG Approach – Just hitting greens though won’t be enough. With many greens elevated and large in stature, there will be a premium on hitting the right part of the greens as well.
- Driving Accuracy – Whilst the fairways are some of the most generous in the state, it will be particularly penal if you find the desert, as hazards like Cacti can get in your way. Finding fairways, no matter how big they are, is important.
Former Course Winners in the Field at LIV Golf Tucson
Two players have won a professional golf tournament at The Gallery Golf Club, Marana, and they are Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson.
The latter is in the field this week, and along with the likes of Paul Casey, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and, Charles Howell III will have an experience advantage, having seen this course in 2007 and 2008 at the WGC Match Play.
Can the former the first player to win a WGC at this golf course also be the first to win an event here on the LIV Tour? If you think so, Henrik Stenson is available to bet at +4000 on Bet365.
LIV Golf Tucson Picks and Predictions: Outright Winner
Paul Casey +1400 (Bet $100 to collect $1,500) The best odds for this Paul Casey pick are at Bet365
Paul Casey had a disappointing 2022, suffering from injuries, and then a loss of form as he adjusted to a new golf league.
In 2023 though he has already started to get things back on track, having finished 5th at the Saudi International event two starts ago, before finishing 4th at the LIV Golf opener, in Mayakoba.
Casey is one of 7 players who played this course in both 2007 and 2008 for the WGC Match Play. Casey made his way to the fourth round in 2007, before being beaten by Geoff Ogilvy, but that meant he beat three players, including Mike Weir and Colin Montgomerie.
In 2008, Casey fared ok again winning two matches before losing out to K.J. Choi. Choi went on to lose to the eventual winner, Tiger Woods.
Given his strong current form and his prior knowledge of The Gallery Golf Club, I see no reason why Paul Casey cannot pick up a first win on LIV, and the second for his Crushers GC team on the season.
As an added bonus, Casey went to Arizona State University, so has a strong affinity with this area.
Peter Uihlein +2800 (Bet $100 to collect $2900) The best odds for this Peter Uihlein pick are at Bet365
Peter Uihlein has finished 2nd in three of his past four starts on LIV and it is now time for him to get his first win.
That sort of consistency is what got him traded to the 4 Aces team in the first place, and he spoke of his desire to impress his new teammates right away.
It was almost the perfect start for Uihlein who went into the final round in Mexico in the lead, but after a couple of tough holes and a charge from Charles Howell III, the American had to settle for 2nd place in the end.
Loving life on the LIV Tour, Uihlein has certainly found some of his best form in years, and now he will be looking to turn that into a trophy this week.
There is no reason to think Uihlein’s form will stop any time soon, so let’s give him a chance here again, at a big price.