It may be playing second fiddle to the WGC - Cadillac Championship but Steve thinks he's found a few angles in and if you like your outsiders, this could be the event to concentrate on. Read his preview here...
With the WGC - Cadillac Championship very much the main attraction this week (preview here) the sixth staging of the Puerto Rico Open may escape the attentions of most but it's an intriguing event and well worth a close examination.
Trump International Golf Club (Composite Course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Par 72, 7506 yards, stroke average in 2011 - 72.03
A diverse wind-exposed composite of two courses that were originally four nine hole courses, designed by Tom Kite in 2004. The grass is paspalum, which is the same surface used at El Camaleon, home of the Mayakoba Classic.
No UK coverage
First Five Winners
2012 - George McNeill -16
2011 - Michael Bradley -16 (playoff)
2010 - Derek Lamely -19
2009 - Michael Bradley -14
2008 - Greg Craft -14
What will it take to win the Puerto Rico Open?
Having analysed the first five year's results, the key stats here are Scrambling and most definitely Par 4 Performance. Incredibly, in four of the five renewals, the winner has ranked 1st on the par 4's for the week. The odd year out was 2009 when Bradley ranked just 3rd!
Trump International is a wind-affected coastal track and although it's long, accurate experienced types have come to the fore so far.
Is there an angle in?
Look closely at the form of the Sony Open, RBC Heritage, McGladrey Classic, and Mayakoba Classic. As previously mentioned, El Camaleon, home of the Mayakoba, is also a paspalum grass track and the other three event venues, Waialae Country Club, Harbour Town Golf Links and Sea Island Resort are all Bermuda, which is a very similar surface (see below!) to paspalum.
Is there an identikit winner?
Although there have been five renewals, as Michael Bradley has won twice, we've only got four winners to evaluate but that might be enough anyway...
All four are experienced players and all four have a very strong connection with Florida. Greg Kraft went to college there and still lives there, Bradley's a Floridian still living in the Sunshine State, and Derek Lamely and last year's winner, George McNeill, were both born there, schooled there and both still live there. A very strong trend indeed, which links into the course correlation link above as most Florida tracks are Bermuda.
This event isn't on TV and it's up against a biggy in the WGC - Cadillac Championship, so the in-running market will be especially weak. I suggest tweaking your positions in-between rounds.
There are lots of infrequent or non-winners towards the head of the market that can readily be opposed, especially given that all the winners to date have been very attractively priced.
My only pick at a double-figure price is Matt Every, who I'm really keen on. At 29 he doesn't quite fit the veteran angle-in, although the youngest winner to date, Lamely, was also 29, and the fact that he's still looking for his first win is a negative too but other than that, his credentials are very solid.
Every is currently ranked 28th in the Par 4 Performance stats and given that he ranked 18th for that stat at the end of the 2012 season, this year's lofty position is no fluke. In two previous outings here he's only finished 48th and 22nd but he has form at all the tracks mentioned above that correlate strongly with this one and being a late-developer, he's improving all the time. I fancy he could get off the mark here.
David Hearn finished 14th last year and is currently ranked 9th in the Par 4 Performance stats - two factors I felt made him a betting proposition at big odds and after that, I've plumped for a quintet of veterans outsiders. The best of which is probably Justin Leonard, who has a very decent record in Florida.
I'll be back on Friday with the In-Play Blog.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter