Selectabet: Johnny Walker Championship
August 23, 2011 Leave a comment
Date: 25th – 28th August 2011
Competition: Johnny Walker Championship at Gleneagles
Venue: The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland (PGA Centenary Course)
For a champion and acclaimed golf architect like Jack Nicklaus, designing The PGA Centenary Course was a challenge on area that he himself described as “The finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with“. Breathe in the lush panorama of the rich Perthshire straths, the rugged Grampian Mountains and distantly purple Ben Vorlich and the mountains above the Trossachs.
Shame then, he only succeeded in creating a course that both visitors and Tour Pros openly detest – and sadly the host when the Europeans loose the Ryder Cup in 2014.
Yards: 7,316 yards
Lacking again the Strength of the leaders in the World Rankings, the Race to Dubai and the Fed Ex Cup (perhaps due to its position between Ryder Cup years – it normally is the final automatic qualifying event) this event still provides a great chance for some of the less prominent players to gain significant column inches.
Stereotypically the drink sponsor (and 266,000 small other reasons) have enticed a loyal tartan following including Stephen Gallacher (50/1), David Drysdale (90/1), Scott Jamieson (50/1), the grumpy Alastair Forsyth (remember him?) and Mrs Doubtfire herself – Monty (100/1 – all StanJames).
…only the Scottish weather! With rain expected everyday and despite the surroundings, this will not be a pretty event to watch on TV or in the flesh. Therefore, I predict anyone who plays well in waterproofs will do well!
Ones to watch:
Special mention must go to fellow North East villager, and Banchory Golf Club’s finest amateur, James Byrne (300/1) who makes his European Tour debut this weekend and of the several Amateurs invited, he is a dead cert to make the top two. While on the personal trip, I should also make mention of other Banchory golfers including the part time (but better than that!) Greig Hutcheon (250/1) and 1996 Catalan Open winner, Paul Lawrie (66/1 – all Bet365).
…but seriously, keep your eye ties looking forward at last year’s defending champion Edoardo Molinari (40/1 at BetFred and StanJames) who’s only wins on the Big Tour have come in Scotland – at the Barclays Scottish and Gleneagles both in 2010 and who is keen to kick start his rather slow season with a good outing this weekend. Provided a killer 3 birdie finish to edge out a win and secure a spot in the Ryder Cup team. Form, as proven by Oliver Fisher, does not always determine success…
Watch out for Richie Ramsay (55/1 at SkyBet and Bet365), currently lying on the cut line for the Dubai World Championships in 60th place and buoyed by a performance that saw him finish in 12th last week. Ramsay is an expert in the wet with plenty of training in the horizontal wind and rain of Royal Aberdeen. His picture use on the European Tour website means he leads the Driving Accuracy stats, and is third in GIR, and is sure to finish strongly this weekend in front of his home crowd.
Ones to win:
Jeev Milka Singh (50/1 with StanJames) who although having been a little quiet in 2011, has shown a resurgence in form of late. Recent form has lead to finishing sixth at the Nordea Masters, 11th in Ireland (having led after two rounds) and, at The Czech Open, he finished 16th. Has a proven pedigree, winning three times on The Tour and multiple other times around the world.
One of the tournament favourites, Anders Hanson (33/1 – William Hill) comes off a solid showing at the US PGA Championship where he finished as top European, one shot outside the eventual play-off. Currently sits in 6th position in the Race to Dubai – and top ten ranked in three of the statistical categories including putting, driving accuracy and stroke average – his steady play will always mean he stands a chance of lifting the trophy come close of play on the weekend.