94th PGA Championship – Pins (R2)!

If you ever thought a 10,000 metres open water swin looked hard, being pummelled for 12 minutes against a heavy weight boxer or a gold medal winning performance in the triathlon looked hard – take a look at some of these pin positions – in particular holes 12 and 13! Enjoy watching this on TV!

94th PGA Championship – Pins (R1)!

There are some tight pin positions on the opening round of the last shot at glory in 2012 over Kiawah Islands brutal Ocean Course. Take a look.

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!

141st Open Championship – Pins (R4)!

Some cute pin positions on the final round of the biggest and most prestigious major tournament today – holes 9 and ten in particular. Im glad the sofa beckons as these are enough to halt anyones ascendancy up the leaderboard on final day!

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!

Golf 3000: US Masters Betting Tips

Author: Bruce Robertson @ Selectabet
 
It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the sporting calendar, the 2011 Augusta Masters gets underway on Thursday and our golf expert Bruce Robertson marks our card on who good be sporting the green jacket at the end of this weekend. 
 
Venue: Augusta National
Par: 72
Field: 99
Weather: Good

The first Major of the year is upon us and it is the only major played on the same, picturesque, course in Georgia every year. Experience is important this week as course management is crucial. No ‘rookie’ has won in the last 32 years.

The rough has been grown and the fairways narrowed over the last few years and the key is positioning the golf ball. The strategy is to know when to attack a flag and give yourself birdie opportunities, or simply just play for a par.

The greens will be very fast and tricky so playing shots below the hole to leave an uphill putt, can be very advantageous.

Phil and Tiger are the market leaders, with lefty all the rage after winning in Houston last week. I give Mickelson a big, big chance this week but the odds are too short for me, and he has the added pressure of trying to win back to back Masters and back to back on The PGA Tour

No.1  Nick Watney  18/1 (Totesport)

He has won for us already this year and I am sticking with him this week. His form is excellent, with top 15 finishes in his last five events, including that win. This has been partly due to the success of working with his new coach, Butch Harmon. His Masters record is very good also, 11th on his debut in 2008 and 7th last year when he finished with a stunning 65. He is ranked top of the all round stats on The PGA Tour this year and must have a great chance this week

No. 2 Hunter Mahan 30/1 (Blue Sq)

Hunter has become a very consistent player and after missing the cut here in 2008. He bounced back with two top ten finishes in 2010 and last year. Warmed up well in Houston last week when he was 3 shots off the pace going into the final round but faded as Lefty pulled away from the pack. He has five top tens this year and is ranked sixth all round on The PGA Tour.

No.3 Luke Donald  28/1 (Betfred, Paddy Power)

Has really come of age since being the lynch pin of The European Ryder Cup team success. He has already won The WGC World Matchplay this year, where his golf was superb. He is probably the most accurate player on Tour which should give him plenty of birdie opportunities. He has two top ten finishes at Augusta but is a much better player now. He is shorter than most but so were recent winners Zach Johnson and Mike Weir.

No. 4 Justin Rose 35/1 (Paddy Power)

Another one to feature in my columns and this may well be his time for a Major. No stranger to The Masters leader board as he has led after every round, but it is round 4 that matters and I think he will be there on Sunday. He may also still have a point to prove in the first Major since being left out of The Ryder Cup team. He has adapted well to The PGA Tour and has the ability to win majors, starting this week.

Other longer priced players I like are KJ Choi and Rory Sabbatini

Whatever happens, it is simply the greatest golf tournament to watch on television. Stunning scenery, quality golf and plenty of drama is guaranteed. Let’s hope we have a winner to top off a fantastic week ahead.

Who are your betting on?

Ballesteros out but still fighting for major success at The 150th Open

Three-time Open champion Seve Ballesteros, who was the first to confirm his appearance in the Open Champions’ Challenge, has been advised by Doctors not to make the return to St Andrews 26 years after he famously triumphed on the Old Course in 1984.

While this is a blow to the golfing legend personally, legions of his supporters and well wishers and the R&A; Seve will still have a major presence at The Championships this year due to the launch of the worlds most comprehensive online golf academy that bears his name at www.SeveAcademy.com.

Seve Soft HandsWhile crowds of over 120,000 are expected to line the fairways to watch former Champions including Tom Watson and Sir Nick Faldo battle it out over 4 days – Seve and his team will be managing a high profile launch of an Academy that brings interactive coaching to a new technological level; online, with links to social networking, a significant events schedule and for portability – via smart phone.

The Seve Ballesteros Academy is a unique golf coaching platform, developed by Edinburgh-based Optimal Analysis Solutions, which allows golfers to interactively learn the characteristic, instinctive “Natural” play, made famous by the five-time major winner. Seve will participate in the launch via live video link at the Optimal golf simulator in the Tented Village of the 150th Open Championships at St Andrews in July.

The platform is a complete online coaching tool that enables golfers of all abilities the chance to learn the way of the three-times Open Champion’s natural methodology – playing with passion, intuition and in particular, mastering the key skills required to conquer the short game.

The Academy will provide a unique online and mobile phone offering and become a key part of a golfer’s personal tuition. The Seve Academy simulator will also attend a number of tour and retail events to engage golfers and corporate partners who, at core, will benefit from demonstrations and coaching on how Seve made doing it the hard way, look breathtakingly easy!

At www.SeveAcademy.com, golfers will also have access to an extensive library of multimedia lessons, exercises and tips, coupled with unique and exclusive footage of Seve throughout his successful career.

Seve AcademySeve has in recent weeks been spending a lot of time providing up-to-date content for the Academy while also calling upon friends and colleagues to rally together to assist. This will include support from top male and female touring professionals as well as celebrity friends keen to support golf’s hero.

Corporate organisations and the media will also be able to be able to benefit while showing support, using the same unique content to reward staff and promote various aspects of their own corporate or retail business.

Profits from the Seve Ballesteros Academy will fund a number of projects supported through his Foundation.

Seve Ballesteros Foundation

The Seve Ballesteros Foundation was set up with a two-fold mission and in the UK now works closely with Cancer Research UK in helping to provide:

• Funding brain cancer research projects
• Funding underprivileged children in Spain with the skills and drive required to help them achieve their dreams in the golf world, through access to pro golf coaching

In the UK, the Seve Ballesteros Foundation works in partnership with Cancer Research UK to fund vital research into brain tumours.

Optimal

Optimal Analysis is a sports performance analysis solutions company. Since 2004, it has allowed countless sportsmen to achieve a higher level of performance using the latest performance-enhancing technology.

Based in Edinburgh, with a presence across the globe, employing a mix of sports, IT and business professionals, Optimal has the products, skills and experience across sports and marketing environments including: technological solutions, online academies, marketing and advertising experience.

For further information, pictures and videos:

Press: press@seveacademy.com
Partnership opportunities: partners@seveacademy.com

www.seveballesterosfoundation.orgwww.optimalanalysis.co.ukwww.seveacademy.com