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