Self Destruct: The 1999 Open Championship

Accidentally pushing the self destruct button happens more than we care to think about in the wonderful and exciting world of golf.

In recent years, we will all remember the pain suffered by Rory McIlroy (who subsequently demonstrated bounce-back-ability to take the US Open two months later). Others though are not so lucky.

To tie in with the start of the Open Championship this morning, lets have a look at the last major collapse at this most iconic of majors (not the British Open American friends!) and in particular the exploits of Jean Van De Velde in 1999.

With a three shot lead on the 18th tee, a double bogey 6 or better was all that seperated the Frenchman from the Claret Jug. The video reminds us of the events and what unfolded:

However, its not all bad karma. A few months later, Jean VdV revisited Carnasty to exorcise his demons with his well respected and trusted “Never Compromise” putter to see if he could beat the 7 he recorded only using the flat blade of his most prized tool. Watch that particular storyline unfold too.

To keep up with the very latest on what the scores are at Royal Lytham & St Annes GC this weekend, visit here.

2012 Open Championship Infographic

Author: Jake Filan @ Golfsliced.com

The 2012 British Open is here and kicks off today at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. This is a highly anticipated major since Tiger Woods seems to have found his game and is looking for his 4th Open Championship in 12 years. The field is deep and so is the rough, should be a great week. For tips on who might take the crown this week see the betting blog here.

But its not all about the golf as this interesting insight behind the scenes demonstrates:

The 141st Open Championship

141st Open Championship

268 miles as birdies fly from the peace and tranquility of Castle Stuart and Moray Firth, is the beating heart of West Lancashire; home of the hot pot, the Illuminations, 24/7/365 Ken Dodd, the only curry house-come-disco I know (‘Planet Poppadom’ if interested!) and the gay capital of the north (does the R&A know?). It’s Blackpool-Sur-Mere!

Ten minutes further in a taxi is Lytham where the following has been taking place; Darren has returned a silver jug; agronomists have been busy shaving it nice and tight; the rough areas have been left to grow to waist height and Ted Potter Jr. is preparing for a good-old-fashioned-knees-up on the trams with a curry and a boogie.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the oldest and most prestigious major golfing event on planet earth, so pop your Little Boots on for the greatest game on grass as the Royal & Awesome rolls into town for the 141st Open Championship!

Date:                     19th – 22nd July 2012

Venue:                 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, Lytham St Annes, Lancs, England

It’s been 11 long years since the Tour Circus last rolled into Lytham and David Duval must be thinking that too (it was his last tournament win) here on the 11th Open outing over these fine links. For those of you old enough to remember, it is the only Open venue that is not directly on the sea; that starts with a par three; includes three par threes on the front nine and has three tough holes to finish (remember Seve’s shot from the car park on 16 in ‘79?).

It’s not a long track and it will favour accuracy over length due to 206 strategically placed bunkers near its narrow fairways and around its tiny greens – and sadly no one has said that it favours left-handers like Ted Potter Jr yet…

Yards:                   7,086 yards

Par:                        34 + 36 = Par 70

Field:   

Like all major tournaments, it’s the golfing crème de la crème this week including the top 50 in the world (minus Mssrs Simpson and Day who both opted for babysitting duties), the top 30 of both the 2011 PGA and European Tours, all previous Open Champions under 60 and Ted Potter Jr (500/1 (838/1 with BetDaq is available!)).

The field includes the walking legend that is Tom Watson (500/1) and every Open Champion from the recent modern era with the exception of Mark O’Meara – at the other end of the scale are two amateurs fighting for the silver medal; the motherlands Alan Dunbar (1/2 to take it) and the positively international Manual Trappel (6/4 – all Ladbrokes).

Consider…:

Luke Donald (37/1 with Betfair to be first round leader) nailed it when he said much of what you need to know; “It’s very fair, but it’s very tough. It’s certainly going to produce the guy who plays the best because there’s no escaping some holes; you’ve just got to step up there and hit good tee shots. You aren’t going to find lucky lies in the rough. You’re not going to be able to get to the greens from the bunkers. It’s about hitting fairways, hitting greens…”

Beyond that, the weather plays its part; and thankfully no rain is currently scheduled for competition days. There are 10 mph winds Thursday through Saturday and a positively challenging 20 mph wind on Sunday. Oooocha…

Ones to watch:

It is just a matter of time before Dustin Johnson (57/1 with 32Red) grasps his first victory in a major having had trophy’s snatched from his very clutches on two occasions; at the PGA Championship in 2010 and in this outing last year where he shared runner-up honors at Royal St. George’s after going OOB on the 14th. He tied for 14th in 2010 at St. Andrews and has proved he could win anywhere, could pound the par 5s and could deliver proven success in unpleasant conditions.

The cheeky Italian Francesco Molinari (49/1 with 32Red) failed to close the door on what would have been a wire-to-wire victory at last week’s Scottish Open, settling for his second straight runner-up finish and sixth top 10 in his last eight starts worldwide. He is second in the Race to Dubai and ranks highly on the European Tour in fairways hit and top five in greens in regulation. Does he have enough gas in the tank to compete again this week? I (ti) think so!

 

Ones to win:

The world’s top-ranked golfer has a pair of victories already this year worldwide – the BMW PGA and the Transitions Championship with 3 further top tens worldwide from 13 starts although his only two top 10s from 11 starts in the Open occurred in 2009 and 2010. Luke Donald (20/1 with BetVictor) has an improved range of shots from the tee that will be a valuable addition to his arsenal alongside his scrambling – which some think will see him finally grab the major honours that he deserves.

The first player in 2012 to hit the magical three wins is playing – he’s a former world number one and there is an argument that his recent swing modifications were built exclusively for this week. He’s fifth on the PGA Tour in total driving distance so won’t need the long stick often (we all remember his victory at Hoylake in 2006 when the big club gathered dust in his bag). He ranks 11th in greens hit and high in putting but more importantly he is Tiger Woods (10/1 with Ladbrokes).

Trick shots:

Ted Potter Jr to be the top finishing debutant delivers – 25/1 with Ladbrokes. (You heard it here first!!)

Ted Potter Jr to be the top finishing left hander will return you 14/1 with SkyBet (Thank me later!)

Ted Potter Jr to be the top finish American and you will get back 175 of what you put on (I said to you!)

Now cue the classic BBC golfing music and run VT…

Jenks Out!

Race to Dubai: BMW PGA Championship

Race to Dubai:   The BMW PGA Championship

Welcome to England! The first and only visit here this year excluding the British Open. (Not wanting to gloat but Scotland, (which is not in England by the way America!) has three tournaments every year not including the British Open). Anyway, despite that National trumping, this event is the Flagship of the Tour hence why only the best are playing. And when I say best, I mean the World’s best, as despite the yanks struggling to get passports that allow them entry to this Country, we do have the best golfers! And that gives them a chance on their own soil doesn’t it?

Date:                     24th – 27th May 2012

Venue:                 Wentworth Club (West Course), Surrey, Posh Shire, England

A cracking course to play and, for you Sir, a snip at only £360 for our finest 18. Or why not buy the whole thing – it could be yours for a mere £130 Million (prices based at last sale to fashionable so and so Richard Caring from 2004 before he did a Gok Wan and subsequently butchered the classic heath land course with input from a local -one Ernest of Els). Anyway, the stage is set, the flags are in position, the players’ hair and makeups done – and beyond Anton du Beke Day (Pro-Cel-Am on Wednesday), there’s time only for the fanfares and the tournament can begin!

Yards:                   7,302 yards

Par:                        Par 72

Field:                   

Having dominated the summit of the Official World Golf Ranking since Westwood deposed Tiger Woods in October 2010, the elite of The European Tour’s are set for a titanic battle over this West Course at Wentworth Club. And the field is the best of the season so far; we have the World’s top 3; the 9 European Tour number 1’s since 1993; 10 former PGA Championship winners; 12 victors from the 2012 season; 15 Major Champions holding 21 trophies; 29 Ryder Cup players and 110 European Tour winners holding 458 titles! My question to you – who needs America?

Consider…:

The fact that absolutely everyone can watch their chosen ones in the tournament this week as like only the best events, “Aunty” gets the crowning glory and Sky’s golfed-out audience will have to remind themselves what good golfing coverage on TV is like. The weather will be warm and that suits many of these players but with the fresh winds, the course will be waiting to capture anyone who strays just a little too far from the fairways. Look out for holes 14 – 18; from the par 3, 14th up the hill and the pair of par 5’s to finish. So nothings final ‘til the fat lady sings.

Ones to watch:

With five top tens’ from 10 starts in 2012 including a second in Spain, its 19 year old wunderkind Matteo Mannesaro who looks set to generate some sparks this week. Coming off the back of two 7th place finishes and having finished, guess what? – 7th here last year despite the two disappointing rounds of 72 and 75 to finish. The Tifosi will ignite with odds of 47/1 with BetFair and as the second best putter playing, on these greens – lucky number 7’s a sure thing.

Two second places including a storming finish at The Players Championship mean Martin Laird could have played himself right into contention this week. Taking time for a week off and acclimatizing to the UK, when the chips are down, look no further than a Scot to come good with your bets. A long ball striker, who ranks high in accuracy stats on the PGA Tour, fits right in here on these challenging links. Is he a contender? Och aye….

Ones to win:

Playing his 7th event in “Europe” in 2012 and having a 3rd and a 2nd to his name already, Graeme MacDowell needs only a win to keep his season stats from affecting his OCD – it has been a two year winless streak. After a second place finish in the Match Play, his game is clearly good enough to take on the best but can he replicate Luke Donald’s’ (9/1 with Ladbrokes) 2-1 from these same tournaments last year? At 33/1 with Ladbrokes, many of you clearly favour the OWGR #1 & #2 and not the Irishman.


Nine events entered, nine cuts made, three top tens’ including a win in Spain two weeks ago means Francesco Molinari (37/1 with BetFair) makes my shortlist this week. (He’ll be over the moon!) A consistent 4th in greens in regulation means the Italian is a constant threat on the leader board and the 9th position in the Race to Dubai and World ranking of 32 merely confirm it. The younger of the Molinari brothers will be keen to secure his playing involvement in the Ryder Cup before the nail biting selection process in August. Will he be amongst them? Of course he will!

Trick Shot

It’s the week of Double Chances – that’s the way forward here!

So, look out for MacDowell and Molinari (at 16/1 with SkyBet) to win in a Double Chance. (Compared to McIlroy and Westwood at 5/1 and you see how good a steal it is!)

Also at longer odds, consider Harrington and Anders Hanson in the Double Chance at 25/1 also show that there are some good returns should just one of these guys do good this week.

Jenks Out!

Want to see what my predictions were in 2011? Click here.

Selectabet: BMW PGA Championship

Dates:                  26th – 29th May 2011

Competition:      BMW PGA Championship

Venue:                 Wentworth Club (West Course)

The BMW PGA Championship is the flagship event of The European Tour and returns to the recently remodeled West Course at Wentworth Club for the 28th time. Surrounded by heath and heather, the West course provides a stern but fair test posing questions of every area of a golfers’ game. The course delivers elevation changes, fairways that turn both ways and significant bunkering to test anyone but the most accurate of strategic ball strikers.

Yards:                   7,261

Par:                       71

Field:                    143

The field consists of the usual high placed European Tour players with some of the higher ranks from the regional orders of merit but crucially includes 12 major champions holding 19 major titles and six of the World’s current top seven players.

Consider…:

Course changes were made to stymie advances in technology by Ernie Els and restauranteur, Richard Caring and, for some, still leave a nasty taste. And agreement or not, as the UK’s most televised course, even viewers will find the visual changes hard to swallow. Two holes stand out; the uphill 179 yard par three 14th with tiered green always delivers more bogeys than birdies; the bunker-less par 5 17th offers a tight tee shot with a sloping fairway that kicks balls further from the green leaving second shots long, difficult and no certain birdie.

Controversial last hole at Wentworth looks different without hospitality

Ones to watch:

For me, it’s the week of the ‘azzurri’. All 5 foot 8 of Francesco Molinari at 40/1 (Skybet) is one to keep an eye on; he handles the pressure of big events – a classy win at the HSBC Championships in 2010 guaranteed him a Ryder Cup place – and his game suits the course but is it a tall order? As the youngest winner in Tour history, Matteo Mannesaro at 45/1 (Bet 365), has the statistics in support of a promising weekend at Wentworth ranking in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation. If he keep his nerve and uses experience of two wins already in his professional career he will certainly be teaching the old dogs new tricks…

One to Win:

Martin Kaymer at 16/1 (Bluesq, PaddyPower, 888Sport & Bet365) ranks high in most stats most months, his results this year are improving by the week and while always be a strong contender for the 750,000 euro first prize, if he is to repeat his feat of running away with the Race to Dubai crown and regaining world number one spot he will need to start the victory marches sooner rather than later.

Each Way:

“The Mechanic”; lover of fine wines, cigars, and fast cars, was a prolific winner in 2010. In 2011, Miguel Angel Jimenez at 45/1 (Skybet) in a vehicle sponsored event has the performance for the big events, the drive and experience to boot. You could you call it karma [car-mah]….

http://www.selectabet.net/