The 94th PGA Championship

94th PGA Championship

It is unusual for America to have anything really resembling history – in the grand scale of things – but this week’s lesson starts here; in 1670, the Head Chieftain of the Kiawah Indians led English Colonists to settle at Charleston Landing. With a little bit of home and garden help in 1991, the colony has grown to 1,170 settlers that remain on this unique island protected by towering gates and fences, some security guards and huge unwelcoming dogs.

For one week only though, it’s a different kind of interloper who has invaded this former baron land; an affluent multi-cultural multi coloured brand crazy native playing their own version of cowboys and Indians. It sounds primitive (and is) and involves sticks – some short, others long – and small white balls. Much fist pumping and hollering (hopefully not the “get in the hole” variety!) and it’s a major event in the calendar! Ladies and Gentlemen, roll up, roll up, the circus is in town. It’s the greatest game on grass – stand by your teepees and order in an Indian for the 94th PGA Championship from Kiawah Island!

Date:                     9th – 12th August 2012

Venue:                 Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina, USofA

Designed in 1991 by Pete Dye (you can tell that by the use of salvaged railway sleepers everywhere!) specifically for the Ryder Cup – this course, this year, ranks as the longest ever played on the PGA Tour – coming in at a whopping 7,676 yards (a lengthy par five longer than Royal Lytham for the Open Championship)! Consistently rated as one of the best and yet, due to large slopes, bunkers and tough Bermuda grass, most difficult courses on the planet (Golf World, Digest and others), it is a lengthy stern test of golf that was designed so that players have a view of the shoreline of the Atlantic but also exposes golfers to the oft-strong winds in the area.

Yards:                   7,676 yards

Par:                        36 + 36 = Par 72

Field:    

Once again the world’s best players meet for the last shot at glory including all of the top 103 in the world rankings (Webb Simpson and Jason Day allowed a return from babysitting duties!) and the top ten of most of the important tours and performance gauges around the world. The running order includes 28 winners from the 2012 PGA Tour (33 victories), 57 European Tour members (14 debutants), 13 PGA Champions, 33 Major Champions with 54 trophies, a young Matteo Mannesaro (363/1) and a Welshman (Jamie Donaldson) (615/1 – both BetDaq)!

Consider…:

I’ll keep this brief but this week, it’s clear that the player needs to be able to cope with (significant) length, (significant) wind, (significant) bunkers, (significant placement of) water and the fact that this is the last major of the 2012 year and the Ryder Cup looms so there’s a lot a stake and, like our forefathers, its survival of the fittest.

Ones to watch:

Is a true links specialist and has performed well in all of the seasons majors this year and so Graeme McDowell (45/1 at 32Red) (with his worst major result of 2012 a quite highly contended 12th at the Masters) is one to watch – following on from his 2nd in the US Open and a fifth at the Open Championship (not the British Open by the way!). For each day that the wind blows – this seaside expert probably will gain one shot per day on the field…

Tigers (10/1 with Ladbrokes) record in the majors rivals the best in the world – especially when his rather dull and monotonous iron play from the tee puts him in contention. We all know his putting is just one tweak from its best and so, love him or hate him; spitting, shagging and club hurling aside, he is the major draw in-case he brings his A-game. And if the former world number 1 doesn’t – it’s usually quite fun watching the best ever golfer come a cropper (like we all usually do)….

Ones to win:

Jason Dufner (28/1 with SkyBet) has finished no worse than 7th in his last four starts on the PGA Tour and has delivered back to back top fives in the PGA Championship in the past two years. He is one to win this week where he would add another victory to his two already on the big US tour. Lies sixth in greens in regulation, 5th in scoring average and total driving, 3rd in the FedEx Cup, 2nd in the Money list and so the only thing left is….

Despite only 14 events having been played in the US, seven top 25’s have been clinically delivered, in Europe it’s a similar story; 5 top tens in ten starts including 2 wins and a second at the Masters. For me, major winner Louis Oosthuizen (40/1 with BetDaq) looks like he is hitting the form that helped him breeze to the 2010 Open at St Andrews. He ranks 4th in longest drives, 3rd in shots around the 200 yard mark and 1st in putting from inside 5 feet. Surely a second major is not beyond him….

Trick shots:

The half way (36 hole) leader WILL be Jason Dufner and returns 33 of what you put on at PaddyPower.com. Statistically he has the lowest score on Tour after 18 holes and so you do the math’s and see what happens…

It’s cruel but it’s fun – Luke Donald to miss the cut returns 5/1 with StanJames. He doesn’t do it very often, but sadly more often than not in the major championships…

Top former winner is also a new tip for me – and so take Phil Mickelson (at 7/1 with PaddyPower.com) and subscribe to the when-you-least-expect-it theory with me!

Lastly – here’s a triple chance winner for all non believers. Westwood, Duffner and Dustin Johnson return 8/1 with SkyBet if you fancy hedging your bets a little!

Jenks Out!

Race to Dubai: Maybank Malaysian Open

Race to Dubai:    Maybank Malaysian Open

Hello and welcome to hot and humid Kuala Lumpur for a few weeks of “regular” golf before the focus of the next Major starts once again. Apologies for the recent silence, I’ve honestly been away in Augusta – no seriously! …only in Oz – my travel agent has a lot to answer for and will be replaced (much as Tiger Woods’ nine iron will).

Date:                     12th – 15th April 2012

Venue:                 Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club

We find ourselves right in the heart of KL on a course that has been wholly reconstructed (every blade of grass is new), but routing and layout the same as before. It is to be found on pleasantly undulating ground where trouble, in the form of water, comes into play on no fewer than 13 holes!

Yards:                   7,000 yards dead!

Par:                        Par 72

Field:                   

Five major champion winners take the 30 hour trip back across the globe to KL – well three. The major Major champion winners including Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuisen (all 62/5) – do we have verification that Todd Hamilton (557/1) and Michael Campbell (712/1 – all BetDaq) actually still play golf?

In 2010 an 18 year old Korean outsider won this event – Noh Seung Yul. In 2011 a 17 year old Italian took it to the field for a second Pro win of his career. What are the chances of a 16 year old winning this year round? Too high for anyone! Looking at the longer odds available at the Maybank, take a look at Ramasamy Nachimuthu, Muhammed Arie Fauzi and Muhammad Afif Razif – all of whom sit at 1,000/1 with SkyBet. They are definitely a long shot.

Consider…:

The fairways are small and tight and strike the fear of god into Alvaro Quiros (44/1 with BetDaq), meaning that we are probably looking at an accurate player more than someone with pure length in his armory. Look no further then than Adilson da Silva (406/1 with BetDaq) and Simon Khan (250/1 with BetFred) – with the two highest ranking stats in driving accuracy and greens in regulation respectively.

The forecast for tournament – hot and humid with a daily threat of thunder storms – does this curry favour with the Asians who are more than used to this? History would say not and actually I was in Singapore last week and it was hot and humid – sweaty but bearable.

Ones to watch:

Matteo Mannesaro (16/1 with William Hill) is a year older, a year wiser and with two top-6 finishes in March is certainly one of the European Tour players currently worth beating. Won the tournament as a 17 year old last year to notch up his second win although with a stronger field in the event than last year is this an unlikely title defence and a more likely top 5 finish? I think so.

The son of a fish farmer from Santander, this professional knows his plaice (get it?). Pablo Larrazabel (63/1 with BetDaq) is on the cusp of a return amongst the shoal of the Big Tour – his change in fortunes started in Morocco when he netted a top ten finish. Not much you say, but he has had a few weeks off to bring his game in line with the high standards he set last year when he hooked his BMW win and now looks to progress up the R2D (big fish) ladder.

Ones to win:

Two top tens’ and a top ten world ranking don’t necessarily mean prizes but it’s getting personal as Martin Kaymer (62/5 with BetDaq) slips down all of the rankings. However, he’s is German. He’s probably angry. And he is clinical. Having just shown the golfing fraternity his best performance at the Masters on a course that is not to his liking, just you see, this will be the start of the turning point for the former World number 1. Jawohl?

Currently the man of the hour! Has played outstandingly for much of the season and no better demonstration than last weekend when Louis Oosthuisen (12/1 with Bet365) came up just short in the Masters (in finishing and on the 2nd extra play off hole). Has had 4 top tens including a win in the opening tournament of 2012 – and currently sits 3rd in a tight leader board at the business end of the Race to Dubai league table.

Trick shot:

Simon Dyson at 5/1 (SkyBet) to finish in the top ten after all he had 8 top ten’s across the full season in 2011.

Winning margin to be 1 stroke is also a sure thing at 11/4 with 118Bet. 7 from the last 12 events have ended with a victor by one stroke.

Jenks out!

Selectabet: Barclays Singapore Open

Date:                     10th – 13th November 2011

Competition:     Barclays Singapore Open

Well, it’s hot and it’s wet. Good if you are with a lady, but no good if you are trying to grip it and rip it down tight lush fairways! That aside, welcome to sticky Singapore and the third major Barclays sponsored tournament of 2011! The Asian swing continues after an exciting KAY-max last week in Shanghai and you find all of us here hoping for more “to the death” action over two of this Island Country’s finest golf courses for the richest purse in the East!

Venue:                 The Tanjong & the Serapong, Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore

Both courses at this unique tournament are played over the first two days, while the weekend brings consecutive rounds on the tougher course. While the Tanjong is the natural beauty – shorter with water, trees and is superbly well bunkered – the Serapong is significantly longer and has views over the vast Singapore harbor – the world’s busiest port (in terms of shipping tonnage). In terms of shots takenage though, it’s the Tanjong that should ignite some interesting low scores in preparation for the real business over the weekend.

Yards:                   6,625 yards and 7,357 yards respectively

Par:                        Par 71

Field:                   

A bumper 204 strong field is taking to the lush Zoysia Matrella grass of these immaculate fairways including Major Champions Phil Mickelson (16/1), Yang Yong-eun (35/1), Graeme McDowell (18/1) and 3 time old timer Padraig Harrington (40/1). However, other talent is included in the form of Anthony Kim (18/1), Camillo Villegas (25/1) and several unheard-of unprenounceables beyond Melvin Chew Por Chen (2000/1), Madasaamy Murugiah (2000/1), Guido Van Der Walk (“No bets please we are Dutch”) and Quincy Quek (1,000/1 – all Bet365). Take your pick!

Consider…:

Rules. The Singapore authorities love rules and make ridiculous ones at that. Consider a jail term for the following simple actions: peeing in an elevator; walking around your own home in the nude; and oral sex (caveat: unless used as a form of foreplay). Consider also the rules on homosexuality being illegal and failure to flush a public lavatory will lead to hefty fines. No wonder then that John Daly never made the sponsors invite list. 

Ones to watch:

Mardan Mamat (300/1 at SportingBet) created history as the first Singaporean to win on The European Tour for a one stroke victory in the 2006 Singapore Masters. The local hero believes he’s still got what it takes to keep alive his record at this Open and especially with a long putter in the bag for the first time. He has made the cut every year except 2007 (disqualified!) and has finished 16th in 2005, 12th in 2006, 41st in 2008, 31st in 2009 and 37th last year.

Grinding out a 7th place in Shanghai last week, Louis Oosthuisen (26/1 at BetFair & BetDaq) is clearly back to his very best and while he comes with no history at the Barclays, has no jet lag and is acclimatized to the surroundings that welcome him this week. A win in Africa in January and not much since, his last two events have earned top 10 places (the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships) – now that’s surely a way to put the spring back in the Springboks step.

Ones to win:

Former paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee (79/1 at BetDaq) has found a remarkable rich vein of form. Several weeks ago it was looking likely that despite having more air miles than any other professional, he may lose out on a European Tour card but now a top 100 place is all but secured! This return to form, coupled with recent success in Asia on the short Tour means that Jaidee could be the one singing the Thongs come Sunday evening.

Knocking back the Singapore slings (like Rioja?), smoking a fine Cuban this week and holding the winning Raffles ticket (get it?) I clearly see Miguel Angel Jimenez (50/1 at BetDaq) staring back at me atop the winners rostrum in my crystal ball. With a timely second place finish in Andalucia (courtesy of some brown sponsor’s envelopes perhaps?) and 333,000 gold sovereigns later – his season is back on track as he now fights for a stunning R2D top ten finish. All that eludes him from this year is a victory – and for someone of his caliber, despite the humidity, is no sweat.

Your welcome!

Jenks out!

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