Selectabet: Dubai World Championship

Date:                     8th – 11th December 2011

Competition:     Dubai World Championship presented by DP World

It’s all about the Benjamin’s…and with a share of US $7.5 million up for grabs in both The Race to Dubai and the Dubai World Championship, the total prize fund on offer this week is one of the most lucrative in all sports.

Entrance at this week’s season finale is strictly for the 60 top performing (by money) Professionals across the full season but it is the bonus pool that most are playing for, given the Championship itself is a two horse race, and in order to achieve a share, you must be in the top 15 leading money winners when the last putt is holed on Sunday.

Venue:                 The Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE

The Earth course is the first course ever to have been built for a specific championship and unveiled as the first shot was hit at that Championship. Some say it’s not one for strategy but it does require you to hit it straight, high and long – although some of the courses 105 bunkers are also strategically placed in the middle off the tee.

For all the agronomists amongst you; with the tournament taking place two weeks later this year it has given Jumeirah Golf Estates the opportunity to overseed the tees, fairways and rough on the Earth Course with ryegrass. It will be the first time the Earth Course has been overseeded for the event and will give even greater contrast and definition to the brilliant white bunkers and bark mulched landscape areas. It will also provide a tougher challenge to the players than was the case in 2009 and 2010, with more of a premium on finding the fairways with tee shots.

Yards:                   7,675 yards

Par:                        Par 72


There should be no also rans this week as the biggest, best and most consistent (lets also not forget Darren Clarke) from the European Tour will fight it out for big bucks this weekend in the Race to Dubai season finale (trying not to sound like I’m plugging the last show of some weak plotted American Cop action series reshown on Channel 5).

The big guns you would expect, are all here – counted, present and ready, although there are some surprise entries close to the squeaky bum cut off line nearing the 60 mark. These include James Morrison (360/1) in 55th  – fresh from a sell-out performance at the Picture House in Edinburgh on the 6th December; the famous Lawrie Brothers; “fly away Peter (256/1)” and “fly away Paul (370/1)” in 57th and 56th place respectively; Henne Otto (237/1) – who thanks to a win last week in South Africa makes the grade in 58th; Scotland’s Scott Jamieson (569/1) in 59th who has achieved more or less nothing since July (demonstrating how good a first half of the season he had) and in the last available place – some lad called Christian Nilsson (265/1 – all BetFair) who made it courtesy of a strong October’s work on the greens.


“The Greatest Show on Earth” comes down to the battle between the two best players in the world for the Race to Dubai crown. Due to Luke Donald’s (12/1 at SkyBet) enormous lead, McIlrory is required to win the Dubai World Championship and Donald has to finish 10th or worse for the Irish one to win – even if Rory wins while Donald finishes in 9th, the winning margin (in favour of the current world number one) would only be five Euros!!

This is a long track and accuracy is not the ultimate factor but with tricky bunkering and strategically placed water, it will be a case of “he who dares…”  Course designer Greg Norman created this track specifically for this event and spent time ensuring a great climax which has become known as the toughest home stretch in the golfing calendar where the last four holes fall just short of a mile in length and are the most challenging and exciting in the sport.

Ones to watch:

A rejuvenated Sergio Garcia (16/1 at 188Bet) hopes to keep his impressive run of form going right to the end of the 2011 campaign as he targets a place in the top 15 in The Race to Dubai. The Spaniard completed back-to-back successes for the first time on The European Tour with victory in last month’s Andalucía Masters, a week after also winning on home soil in the Castelló Masters and moving from 11th place to seventh in The Race. The World number 18 currently leads the Ryder Cup points list and will be keen to put another top finish her in the bag for the team event next year, as a player, not just as backroom staff.

Win or “lose” this weekend, the eyes of the golfing world will be on Rory McIlroy (11/2 with BetDaq). Can he overturn the largest lead in professional golf, stop the world number one, win the Race to Dubai and the Dubai World Championship? I fear not, but if anyone will ensure we remain glued to the box, sitting on the edge of our seats until his ball hits the bottom of the cup on Sunday, it’s the exciting youngster who’s season has been spell binding from the start to present moment. A top four finish would be a great achievement and another feather in the young man’s cap.

Ones to win the Dubai World Championship:

With 8 top ten finishes this year Lee Westwood (6/1 at BetFred) is one tip to take the honours this week. The world No. 3 had the benefit of a seven-shot lead heading into the final round after a sparkling third-round 62 last Saturday in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa and comes here with form on his side and experience from his win in the same event in 2009. Will be a difficult contender to beat – and with Luke and McIlrory both having firmed up their positions in the World rankings, Lee will be looking to ensure he doesn’t fall too far behind.

Raking in over a cool million Euros in an easy schedule over the last three months, Martin Kaymer (16/1 at UniBet or 9/1 at SkyBet without the Big 2) and his win in the WGC HSBC Champions in early November have catapulted the calculating German right back into form and the fight at the top of the World Rankings. Sure he can’t win the Race to Dubai this year, but he will make sure he doesn’t give up the biggest prize in golf easily will be something that he will take great pleasure from after a rather uninspiring season – especially after last year’s amazing performances.

One to win the Race to Dubai:

Luke or Rory? Rory or Luke? Steady versus aggressive? Youth versus experience? For me only one person truly deserves to be awarded the Race to Dubai this year – despite a late charge that means that it is only one from a possible two – and they exist as World Number 1 and 2 respectively just for completeness.

In twelve outings in Europe, he has missed only one cut, and barring a 45th and an 11th position – the other 9 outings have been within the top ten and within that there has been three wins! Earning a whopping £3,856,394 – that equates to winnings of a whopping £1,210.78 per shot and we are not even on the big money game yet! He has also snatched the money list title of the PGA Tour and is the first person ever to be on the cusp of doing so on both sides of the pond in the same season.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your truly inspirational World Number 1, PGA Tour Money winner and soon to be Race to Dubai winner 2011 is…..Luke Donald. Thank you, good evening and good night.

Till next year…Jenks out!

Selectabet: UBS Hong Kong Open

Date:                     1st to 4th December 2011

Competition:     UBS Hong Kong Open   

This week it’s a welcome return to Hong Kong and the penultimate of the season where the there is much to play for at the top, and certainly at the bottom of the current R2D rankings before next weeks’ Dubai World Championship.

The UBS Hong Kong Open is Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event. Beginning in 1959, it has a rich history of winners including nine different Major Champions who have amassed 25 Major titles between them. This week its home to 150 of the European Tours shining stars and a select few who could still possibly prize the year end Race to Dubai trophy from the current likely clutch of PGA Tour winner and now six month World number 1, Luke Donald.

Venue:                 Hong Kong GC, Fanling, China

Simply its one of the best and most difficult courses you’ll ever play. Don’t let the fairly straightforward start fool you! It has beautiful views, undulating lightning fast greens and magnificent fairways and trees galore – this one’s not for the fainthearted – short (ish) as it may be.

Yards:                   6,700 yards

Par:                        Par 70


This weeks’ field includes the colourful Richard Green (50/1), Justin Rose (61/5), Mark Brown (267/1) but also a Richard Bland (218/1).  It also introduces these colonials that roll off the tongue (get ready for it) Timothy Tang (974/1), YE Yang (25/1), Anthony Kang (228/1), Wang-ter Chang (735/1), Wen-Chong Liang (98/1) and Lian-wei Zhang (677/1 – all at BetDaq). Man!


Everything is to play for with only the top 60 making next week’s Dubai World Championships and so a good performance matters for so many regardless of their position in the Race to Dubai. This will be where Tour cards are retained, big money can be won and ultimately where hearts will be broken. Anyone could steal the show this week.

Ones to watch:

Englishman Ian Poulter (14/1 at Ladbrokes) scorched his way to a 60 in the second round last year en route to the title by one shot from Dyson and a young Italian teenager. Poults heads to Hong Kong on a high after storming to a joint second place finish in last week’s Omega Mission Hills World Cup with a stunning 63 alongside Mr Pink in the final day’s foursomes. A win, or maybe a second, could put Woburn’s finest into the lucrative top 15 and should not to be overlooked.

Someone with a slightly bigger mountain to climb is Stephen Gallacher (93/1 at BetDaq) who sits ever so slightly on the wrong side of the Dubai World Championship threshold in number 61. The Scot, fresh from a solid performance with Countryman Laird in last week’s World Cup will be on a high but will be focused on the task of soaking up some Arabian sun next week. If his putter is switched on, watch out for a meteoric charge come Sunday!

Ones to win:

Has been quiet, but consistent, for much of the tail end of the season – perhaps school work has got in the way, but it’s the Crayon and Creamola Foam sponsored 2010 runner up Matteo Mannesaro (35/1 with William Hill) who means business this weekend before Nanny will ask him to sit down and write his letter to Santa. Has performed consistently across the season and currently lies 26th in the Race to Dubai requiring a win to propel him skyward to the real big boys and another delayed week before he puts a big sticky pen to dog eared paper.

I can count with both hands and a foot, the times I have rallied for the world number 2 to take the Race to Dubai to the wire. And here we are once again, where my winning focus is for Rory McIlroy (5/1 at Victor Chandler) to make a fight of the season and sock it to the quiet consistent leader (without a Major). McIlroy has had 4 top fours in his last 4 (Tour) outings and a win in Shanghai propelling him closer and a respectable showing for Team Paddy last week. With Kaymer and Donald out of action this week, a win means the action hots up in the desert next week. 

Your welcome!

Jenks out!

Selectabet: OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup

Date:                     24th – 27th November 2011

Competition:     OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup            

The Omega Mission Hills World Cup returns to the international golfing calendar this year as a biennial event with a record prize fund of US$7,500,000 at a brand new venue in the Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island in Southern China. It remains the only team event in the men’s professional game where players can proudly represent their own countries and maintain its status as the oldest international team event in professional golf.

The Championship is a 72-hole stroke play team event with each team comprising of two players. The first and third days are four-ball (best ball) play and the second and final days are foursomes play. A total of 28 teams, each one of different nationality, will compete in the 2011 Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

Venue:                 Hainan Island, China

The World Cup will be hosted over the Blackstone course; a spectacular, 350-acre layout that weaves through a striking landscape of mature trees, expansive wetlands, ancient town ruins and ever-present lava rock, the 7,777-yard Blackstone features a myriad of risk / reward opportunities throughout the back nine.

Yards:                   7,777 yards maximum!

Par:                        Par 72


The Official World Golf Rankings as at July 18, 2011 will determine the 18 leading nations that qualify automatically for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. The leading player may select any player of his choosing from the same country provided such player was ranked within the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking as of either July 18, 2011 or August 22, 2011. If there was no other player from that country within the top 100 on the OWGR on either of the dates, the exempt player’s partner shall be the next highest ranked available player.


The United States of America holds the record for the most number of wins with 23. South Africa is next with five, then Australia and Spain with four, followed by Canada’s three titles. Despite this year’s hype, Ireland have yet to register a win!

However, consider that the course is long and that anyone not landing on the short stuff runs the risk of taking another ball from the tee –as the ever present lava presents a more difficult challenge than its stunning aesthetics. This course then is all about the second shots – and long irons, hybrids and chipping and putting.

Ones to watch:

Team Mid-Atlantic (“Go on! Go on! Go on! Go on! Go on!”). Graham McDowell and Rory McIlroy – always an interesting combination of mid-Atlantic drawl – especially when they are together – with Rory clearly the man to watch at the moment and the hype surrounding these best-of-friends is always interesting. With Rory’s classic youthful gung-ho approach and Graeme’s more laid back solid performance – Team Ireland (9/2 at Victor Chandler) will be in the mix come the weekend.

Team Sweden (“Klunk!”) (61/5 at BetDaq). Robert Karllson and Alexander Noren look sweet to me. Norens two wins in 2011 position him high in the Race to Dubai while Karllsons solid Tour performances over the last 22 years and his 11 wins means he is the experienced old timer with a victory (with Henrik Stenson) in this very event in 2008.

Ones to win:

Team South Africa (“Go Boks!”). With two recent major winners both recording a very healthy 2011 season – Schwartzel and Oosthuizen will provide some tough opposition to ensure anyone else lifts the trophy on Sunday. The holders of the two man South African Tour events in 2011 will not only be vying for their position as their Nations number one, but also the number one team position for the Boks. Will there be gold at the end for the Rainbow Nation? 

Team USA (“USA! USA USA!”)(9/1 at UniBet, SportingBet and Stan James). You have to love their cheesy spirit, their chants and the nonsense that our dear allies resort to in team golfing competitions. That said, they have Mister consistent in Matt “Kuchie Koo” Kuchar and length and outright bravado in Gary Woodland. Seems like a deadly combination that might just deliver the 24th win for the Yanks to me!

Your welcome! 

Jenks out!

Selectabet: Alfred Dunhill Championship

Date:                     17th – 20th November 2011

Competition:     Alfred Dunhill Championship

Venue:                 Leopard Creek CC, Malelane, South Africa

Aweh my bru! Welcome to the rainbow nation and a truly awe inspiring Mpumalanga. Designed by Gary Player, the course at Leopard Creek is in a stunning setting on the edge of Kruger National Park. Winding through the bush and grasslands past natural water hazards, the layout is famed for its plentiful and diverse wildlife with hippopotamus, waterbuck, impala, giraffes, crocodiles and leopards all frequently seen on and around the course. This year we will also see the rare (on the big Tour) cheating half of Team Saltman – “little” Elliot (423/1 at BetDaq).

Yards:                   7,326 yards

Par:                        Par 72


Although the field is dominated by home players, a number of the lower ranking Europeans are on the start sheet, many from the Challenge Tour or those who finished outside the top 115 on last year’s Tour. Included in this watered down Tour event is the very American sounding Linus (Gillgren) at 835/1, Dodge (Kemmer) at 265/1, Wade (Ormsby) at 275/1 and both the Tyrone’s (Mordt (275/1) and Ferreira (854/1)) – all at BetFair! The LA Crips clearly has some new members!

Who could cast a beady eye over the start sheet without stopping on the RSPC sponsored Neil Sheitekat (618/1) and my new favourite monickered player on any Tour – the one, the only…Theunis Spangenburg (974/1) – both BetDaq!


With just four events left on the 2011 Race to Dubai, a number of players in the field this week are feeling the pressure. Some are trying desperately to ensure they finish in the top 115 on the money list in order to retain their playing privileges for 2012, others are looking towards the top-60 and the prospect of competing in the Dubai World Championship.  Beyond that, the trick will be finding the greens in regulation. The last seven winners of this event have averaged 72.41% of GIR.

Ones to watch:

With five top five finishes, a putter that’s always on fire and having made the right career choice (his father wanted him to be a tennis player) Pretorian George Coetzee (14/1 with William Hill and PaddyPower) is definitely one to watch this week. Coetzee has firmly secured his Tour card for next season and clearly stated his intentions on the Tour with frequent strong finishes. Ag baas!

With seven top fifteen finishes in the season before making a breakthrough with his maiden victory at the Open de Espana in 2011 just a few days after golfing legend Seve passed away, South African Thomas Aiken (141/10 with BetDaq) has certainly cemented his standing on the European Tour. Has earned a wage every week bar five this season and sits comfortably in the top 20 on tour. Finished fifth here last year and again will be a strong contender ya?

Ones to win:

Moffie look-a-like Robert Rock (18/1 at Coral and BetFred) is widely tipped among those to perform well this weekend having performed consistently in patches throughout the year. Is about to embark on his most consistent performing “swing” on the tour but will he be chomping on the boerewors on Sunday and waking with a babelaas babbelas on Monday?

Pablo Martin (34/1 at UniBet) obviously! A win again here at his special place would mean a hat trick of consecutive gold medals. Enough said!

Your welcome! 

Jenks out!

Selectabet: WGC – HSBC Champions

Date:                     3rd – 6th November 2011

Competition:     WGC – HSBC Champions

Shanghai huan ying ni! Welcome to Shanghai – and by the way, you are welcome to it! A city where every one of its 23,000,000 inhabitants will be at the airport when you arrive! Or at least, it will seem like it after the 12 hour flight!

And so, another European Tour year meanders towards its end and with this week’s Asian event, a star studded and global field that represent over 20 Nationalities for the $7 million prize pot of the World Golf Championships – Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Champions Tournament – unsurprisingly shortened to WGC – HSBC. (Which for all your grammar Nazis and repetitive human rights activists’ avoids repeating the same words in the one short soy sauce infused breath).

Venue:                 Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China

Sheshan International Golf Club is Shanghai’s first and most exclusive private golf club where in truth both of its members are too busy trying to only have one child (or pay a fine) to find time to play the wonderful game that is golf. That said, I’ve played this on the Wii many a time and it’s a fantastic golf course where my personal best is a 57!

Back in real life, many of the holes play along the existing canal, around manmade lakes or over the spectacular quarry which is the major feature of Sheshan. Beyond the lakes, scenic landscaped streams don’t forget to add a stunning mountain forest backdrop to the picture and you have pretty much got one of the most aesthetically pleasing lush golf courses anywhere on planet golf. Holes 16 and 17 play around and over the quarry, giving golfers both a stern test of golf but also a wonderful vista, if you were not focused on your A-game.

As you can imagine, as a course, it is more American than Chinese. Otherwise it would be short. And yellow.

Yards:                   7,233 yards

Par:                        Par 72


The 7 million Yuan first prize has appealed to every one of the Worlds’ most in-form golfers including Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel (28/1), Open Champion Darren Clarke (370/1) and US PGA Champion Keegan Bradley (48/1) who will all look to add the final World Golf Championship event to their 2011 Major success. They are joined by Cadillac Championship winner Nick Watney (23/1) and WGC – Bridgestone Invitational champion Adam Scott (88/5 – all BetDaq) alongside 23 of both the European and PGA Tours event winners and victors of other piddley-little events in Asia.

All, that is, except one Lucas Donald, who is rubbing salt into hard working Chinese wounds by staying at home while his live-in-baby-maker pops out yet another money-grabbing-sleep-stealer to push the population tally well over the 7 billion mark. Which appears to be a similar figure to that of his combined season’s winnings this year!


Consider only the quality of the field – it’s a really open 78 horse race! Anyone of these finally honed athletes could take the Old Tom Morris Cup come Sunday evening. It will be humid, it will rain and there may be thunderstorms and so obviously the likely performers, able to cope, will be those based in Florida or who are from the region.

Ones to watch:

With two wins in 2011 – including one, bizarrely, for his own tournament (The CJ Invitational hosted (and won!) by KJ Choi) – it is World Number 13 Choi (33/1 with Paddy Power and Bwin) who is my one to watch this week. The Korean son of a rice farmer made history as the first of his Nation to win on both sides of the Atlantic and has kept a consistent form at the top level since. With 8 top tens and a victory in the 5th major in 2011 he shows no signs of throwing the golfing equivalent of a “paddy” and should be contender rice up to the bitter end!

Second in 2010, and enjoying playing on the best conditioned golf course that he has seen all year, the Chinese tinged Lee “Woksop” Westwood (8/1 with Bet365 and SkyBet) hopes to follow in Luke Donald’s pedicured footsteps by vying for his first WGC title. Westwood’s fifth in the Shanghai Master last week included a hole in one and comes at the end of a quality five week spell where he has had 4 top ten finishes in 5 starts. He is certainly one to watch given recent form and sitting in a lowly 5th position in the Race to Dubai, a top finish will see him likely rise towards the top once again.

Ones to win:

Never the first to do anything of note, but will always eventually follow suit, it Rory McIlroy (11/2 with Victor Chandler) who will fire himself into the footsteps of Sergio and Bjorn with back to back win on the European Tour this year. With fire in his belly after the shambles that was the Masters, his form has been nothing short of phenomenal and you can see it in his eyes he believes that he can catch Luke for the European Crown. With the World Number 1 in absentia this week, it’s as good a chance as he will get to significantly close the gap! 

However, this week it’s all about a player with 7 top tens this year including a victory and a six in the other WGC events; it is the six foot good looking Aussie love machine Adam Scott (88/5 with BetDaq) that excites me this week. It’s a rarity that he plays outside the USA and his homeland but after sticking the fingers up at the “Has Been” Tiger Woods by employing his caddie and subsequently winning; Scott has been back to the form of old since returning from a dip in form in 2009 and reentered the World’s top ten. In particular watch for his crisp swing, accurate ball striking and some trophy broad of the quality of Ana Ivanovic, Kate Hudson or Marie Kojzar on his arm.

Your welcome!

Jenks out!

Selectabet: Andalucia Masters

Date:                     27th – 30th October 2011

Competition:     Andalucia Masters

Hello, welcome to Spain, the Number 1 ranked course in Continental Europe and the last European event of the 2011 Race to Dubai season. We are at Club de Golf Valderrama, a few miles North of Gibraltar in Paella Country.

As the race hots-up nicely for a dramatic climax with the Dubai World Championships a few weeks away – all eyes are on the 15 individuals who are a mere 3,000,000 Euros behind run away Race to Dubai Money leader, PGA Tour Money Winner and, lets’ not forget, World Number 1 (without a major)…Luke Donald.

Venue:                 Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande

Navigating subtle doglegs on gently undulating parkland terrain through a cork forest, this Robert Trent Jones Sr. design seems so simple and effortless one does not have a day go by without pondering why every golf course can’t be like this. It is, by no means, an easy course – nor was it intended to be, but designed to call for thought and precision on every shot. Now one of the world’s most famous clubs, Valderrama features small, raised greens defended by heavy bunkering and cork trees. (I said cork imbécil….!)

Yards:                   6,988 yards

Par:                        71


Now that the US PGA Tour has come to a giddy money grabbing climax (congratulations again Luke), it’s the turn of the European Tour to turn up the heat on those focusing on a top 60 position for the Dubai World Championships and specifically the top 15 who can qualify for their share of the $7.5 Million Bonus Pool. Those currently wide of the mark include Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose and Jeev Milka Singh who this weekend will flamenco head to head for 500,000 small golden reasons why they should make this year’s draft and take their strutting to the Arabian desert.


This course favours length, accuracy and with such small greens, meticulous putting (Paul Lawrie is not playing).  This week, those hotly tipped for these very reasons include Richie Ramsay (75/1), Thomas Aiken (28/1) and Ross Fisher (35/1 – all Bet365) although none of them made Jenks’ shortlist this week.

Last year’s winning score was minus 3 (-3) but despite that, look out for the 536 yard par 5 17th that delights golf nuts each year with everything from albatrosses to wet feet as the round draws to a close!

Ones to watch:

One player, likely to never complain about Valderrama’s 17th hole is Miguel Angel Jimenez (69/1 with BetDaq). In the 1994 Volvo Masters, Jimenez carded an albatross, eagle and two birdies over four rounds. Currently sitting in 16th position outside the bonus pool, the athletic, flexible and clean living Miguel needs to quit the siestas and put in solid performance in the busy coming schedule to secure his position within the crème of the crop.

With its tight fairways and small greens, Valderrama suits Graeme McDowell (20/1 with PaddyPower) down to the ground. He currently ranks fifth on Tour in GIR, hitting 13.9 per round, which coupled with his above average driving accuracy (9.1 fairways per round) should see him fare well this week. And whatever the venue it always helps to putt well, and with the Northern Irishman ranking 16th in putts per GIR the numbers really do seem to be in his favour.

Ones to win:

One of the many local heroes, Pablo Larrazabel (81/1 at WBX) has played consistently and solidly across the whole length of the season. Pulled off a great win at the BMW International to cement his Tour Card (to avoid future work on the family fish farm) but will be keen to avoid playing like a donkey and put in further good performances to put him in with the big hats in the European Tours valuable top ten club.

Moving to England from South Africa was just the start of Justin Rose (22/1 at Bet365 & VictorChandler) and his link to the world of golf – first breaking 70 aged 11, playing off plus 3 at 14 and playing in the Walker Cup aged 17 years and 10 days. 14 years later, and now playing much of his golf in the US, he finished 5th in the Fed Ex Cup in 2011 and requires 4 more outings to meet European Tour obligations (having played 9 events) and a number of high placed finishes to ensure a decent position in the rankings let alone an exclusive top 60 or even top 15 finish! His US win in late September proves he has it to compete for the sangria from the silverware while the Marcha Real plays on!

Your welcome!

Jenks out!

Selectabet: Portugal Masters

Date:                     13th – 16th October 2011

Competition:     Portugal Masters

This week we turn to a small slither of mainland Europe that is a little bit Spanish, a bit African and more than just a little bit Brazilian. And so with no hairs (“Brazilian” – geddit?) or graces, it’s the turn of the Portugal Masters from the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course, Portugal, West Spain.

Venue:                 Oceanico Victoria Golf Course

This jewel in the Algarve’s golfing crown is the most recent course project of one Arnold Palmer that opened in 2004. With wide, undulating fairways, extensive water hazards and cleverly positioned bunkers it is very American in look and feel and despite sounding relatively easy for us hookers, hackers and duffers, I am reliably informed that its not.

Yards:                   7,231 yards

Par:                        72


Five major champions and 20 Ryder Cup players take part in this week’s stroll around a wet and sandy field with the 416,660 tiny incentives to do so. Some names you may have heard of comprise Kaymer (10/1), Harrington 22/1), Pa. Lawrie (90/1) and The Mechanic (50/1) amongst their sort.

However, despite Portugal’s sporting prowess topping out with Ricardo “The Woodcutter” Carvalho, Cristiano “I dance!” Ronaldo and some bloke called Figo, also in the thick of it this week are golfing Portugeezers including the greasy Santos brothers – Hugo (1500/1) and Ricardo (200), Antonio “Mr Pink” Rosado (2000/1) and Nuno “No Overnight Stay” Campino (2000/1 – all at Bet365).


…what you like, but this weeks’ competition is wide open as the race hots up on Top 60 status; Dubai World Championships invite; Tour Cards; or just impress for increased event invites next year. Therefore it is anyone’s game.

Having said that, I smell brown envelopes and so….

Ones to watch:

Despite wanting to cut off his damn ponytail, it’s Marcel Siem (256/1 at Betfair) who, for me, has the X Factor this week. The little pedantic German will tee off at precisely 13:50 on Thursday fighting for a top 115 spot and secure next years’ tour card. Not the only one fighting out for the richest of European golfing prizes but certainly Marcel has the talent; turning Pro with a handicap of plus 6 in 2004, nearly hitting the gong on the European Tours “Every Shot Imaginable” series and is a consistent performer worthy of more than the sum of this year’s results.

Having viewed, analysed and dissected his swing (with Paul Lawrie) closely at the Dunhill Links Championships, Joost Luiten (24/1 at Unibet) is another one I will be watching this week. Not only does he has one of the better names on the tour, but Joost has had three top tens in his last three outings in a Luke Donald rich vein of form and 5 since June. That said it’s disappointing to hear that his interests are computers. Watch him play golf, just don’t engage him in conversation.

Ones to win:

Two second place finishes in the last two Portugal Masters have meant its third time lucky for Italian, Francesco Molinari (16/1 at PaddyPower and Bodog). With two card busting 62’s in last year’s event, expect a little more from the Inter Milan supporting 2010 Ryder Cup Rookie and a typifying end of season charge up the Race to Dubai Leader board. The Superbock awaits….

Proving himself to be more Portuguese than Nelly Furtado, Jay Kay, the leader singer of rock group Journey and some bloke called Tim (google them!), its Peter Hanson (16/1 at Coral and Bwin) who this week, is getting set for European domination and heading for a top ten R2D finish.  As with Molinari above, a strong season finish (alongside the 6 top tens of 2011) will position the Swede at the business end of the European Tour chart.

You’re welcome.

Jenks out!

Selectabet: Bankia Madrid Masters

Date:                     6th – 9th October 2011

Competition:     Bankia Madrid Masters

The fourth Bankia Madrid Masters will take place this week with some of golf’s top names bullfighting for the lion’s share of the €1 million prize money. This year, the tournament, will be held at the El Encín Golf Hotel in Alcalá de Henares for the first time, taking over from last year’s venue, the Real Sociedad Hípica Española Club de Campo. Alcalá is a beautiful, historically rich city located around 20 miles from the Spanish capital, no-where near Benidorm. 

Venue:                 El Encin Golf Hotel, Alcala de Henares, Spain

El Encín Golf Hotel is a typical Robert Von Hagge design; a long championship course, but with six different sets of tees overlooked by the stunning mountains of the Santos del la Humosa region. It is a ridiculously flat course but comes with great undulating greens, a plethora of bunkers and huge water hazards in play on 16, 17 and 18.

Yards:                   7,651 yards

Par:                        Par 72


It will mark the first time for 18 years that the World’s number one player will compete in a European Tour event in Madrid – if you lot remember Nick Faldo (Google him), he was the last in ‘93! There will be 22 home nation players competing including a Pedro (Oriol (399/1)), a Jose (Manual Lara (69/1)), a Javi (Colomo (499/1)) and Jesus himself (Arruti (749/1))! Perhaps mid-transgender operation, there are even a handful of Marias. The Master of the Masters is 48 year old winner of the 1995 Madeira Islands Open, Santiago Luna (499/1 – all BetDaq) who is making his 589th European tour start.


The rain in Spain won’t be falling mainly on the plain this weekend as it is planned to be typically warm and sunny and the key considerations are what time is the siesta, who’s backswing is least hindered by huge sun hats and who can follow through properly with a wicker donkey stuffed under their arm. And if stereotypes are to be believed, we can count out the Brits who come midday will be sun burnt and pissed and wont figure at all. That said….

Ones to watch:

Former Essex born English Amateur Champion and paella addict, Ross McGowan (294/1 at BetFair) is worthy of casting your mince pies on as a former winner of this tournament with record breaking scores (-25 under par) in 2009. Despite returning from a serious injury in 2010 and having a more off than on season, Ross is a fantastic putter and more than capable of causing some serious harm on these greens.

Former Johnny Walker Championship and Scandinavian Masters winner Marc Warren (85/1 at BetDaq) is also a man on form after a season best 5th place over the three links courses of the Alfred Dunhill Championships. Returning from missing his Tour Card in 2010, Warren’s season has been bitty (like tapas) at best but is on the up again.

Ones to win:

With 9 top ten’s from 11 starts in Europe (not to mention 13 top ten’s from 18 Stateside) Luke Donald (9/2 everywhere) reaches the real pinnacle of his career being mentioned in this feature two weeks on the trot. The winner of the paella pan and flamenco master class of the Madrid Masters in 2010 is again a contender this year, despite only three wins amongst his global dominance. Donald is proving to be as consistently brilliant as a Torres Rioja or the Rodriguez Spicy Chorizo sausage. This was the event that kick started his global ascendancy – will it continue here? 

If it’s not a Brit, it may be a fiery Latin (non Spanish) and this week we look no further than one of the Molinari’s. And specifically the quiet brother to the even quieter hairy one. A repeatedly consistent performer with one missed cut in 2011, Francesco (19/1 at BetFair and BetDaq) is where my money is at this week and I anticipate 166,666 reasons he believes he can win before he packs up to head for the hills and his annual snowboard-fest. No bull.

Jenks Out

Selectabet: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Date:                     29th September to 2nd October 2011

Competition:     Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is one of the richest tournaments on the European Tour and a 4 day pro-am.  With teams consisting of one professional and one amateur (from other sports or the worlds of entertainment or business) playing one round each at St Andrews Old, Carnoustie Championship and Kingsbarns. After these first three rounds there is a cut, with the leading 60 professionals continuing on to play in the final round at St Andrews over the historic Old Course.

The 60 leading Pros’ and their teams are joined by the leading 20 teams, regardless of whether the professional member of the team made the cut individually.

“Oh. My. God. Hugh Grant looks a bit divine doesnt he?”

Venues:               St. Andrews Old, Carnoustie Championship & Kingsbarns Golf Links

A stern links test for all players this – especially Carnoustie (where in club medal competitions the standard scratch can be as high as 76!), but it is a great way for following patrons to get up close and personal with many of the players and the celebrities and enjoy the amazing walks around the three participating golf course.

“Howzat! Ian Botham looks fat now-a-days doesn’t he?”

Yards:                   St Andrews: 7,279 yards; Carnoustie Championship: 7,412 yards; Kingsbarns 7,150 yards

Par:                        Each Par 72


It is one of the stronger European Tour fields that you can get with a total of 15 of the world’s top 50 making the trip to Scotland, including Major Champions Darren Clarke (113/1), Charl Schwartzel (28/1) and other leading players including Ernie Els (69/1), Retief Goosen (77/1), Dustin Johnson (30/1) and Graeme McDowell (52/1 – all BetDaq).

“What a come-back for Shane Warne’s hair!”


Here are three links courses – two of which are exceptionally tough and the third of which can be relatively easy provided you know where to put the ball. So bearing in mind that despite recent forecasts for hugely unseasonal weather if the wind blows, playing well in this weather will be tough for all.

“What do you call a woman who knows where her husband is every night? A redhead….oh look, there’s Chris Evans.”

Ones to watch:

Sadly losing out on adding the FedEx Cup to his trophy cabinet last weekend, and the potential to remove consistent ownership from the yanks (yet still add yet another top ten finish to the 14 that helped get him in to contention), Luke Donald (Ladbrokes and 888Sport), winner over the Links at Castle Stuart earlier this year bids to ensure that the Race To Dubai doesn’t slip from his grip in the same way. Luke was 11th at the Open in 2010, 7th in the Dunhill in 2009 and is fishing for his second straight Scottish title.

With one or two putting problems on his shoulders at the moment, but still with 4 consecutive top ten finishes on both sides of the pond in the last 2 months, Lee Westwood (11/1 at Bodog & StanJames) continues to fight for the retaking of his Race to Dubai crown. A win here should see him skip over Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel (28/1 at BetDaq and BetFair) into second and an exciting run in where he stands an outside chance of catching Luuuuuuke for the European Number One spot.

“It’s so unfair; Tim Henman is a great golfer as well!”

Ones to win:

It’s the most exciting golfer of the last 12 months who, for me, is hotly tipped to take the Links trophy and 500,000 cans of Irn Bru that come with it. Rory McIlroy (10/1 with Victor Chandler & BlueSq) was third here on his second outing as professional in 2007 (securing enough money in two events, to retain his tour card) and who shot a blisteringly low 62 in the 2010 Open. Contrary to his admission at Royal St Georges, McIlroy is clearly a man who does enjoy his links golf when the going is good.

With 7 top tens’ including two wins in 2011, and as with bragging rights as a previous winner from 2009, its Simon Dyson (22/1 at Bwin) who is on a charge in the latter part of this season as he has climbed up to the Race to Dubai rankings. With a penchant for winning over courses he likes (he was won three KLM Opens now) it’s only a matter of time before he tops the leader board at the Dunhill, next year’s Irish Open or the HSBC Indonesian. While I’ve money in my pocket, he can have it now…. 

“Isn’t that one of the highest scorers ever playing in that group over there? It looks like Sir Bobby Charlton…”

See you in the Jigger Inn! Jenks out….

Selectabet: Austrian GolfOpen

Date:                     22nd – 25th September 2011

Competition:     Austrian GolfOpen by Lyoness

In the absence of a functioning space-bar, and following a week watching tour pro’s attempt to recreate the excitement of the Walker Cup in a “thing” called the Vivendi Trophy, it is business as usual at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Austrian GolfOpen. However, this week it’s the turn of The European Tours “B” squad while the proper players fight it out in the US for the PGA Tour Championship finale at East Lake…but stick around….I’ll be back.

From the Country that brought the world the sewing machine, sponsor Lyoness, for the record, is a Europe wide loyalty card. As someone who knows about these things, and like the sewing machine, it’s a dated creation, somewhat like Austria’s gift to the world of popular music – Falco (remember Rock Me Amadeus?).

Venue:                 Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria (Diamond Course)

With plenty of water to focus the mind, The Diamond Country Club is a mighty challenge stretching beyond 6,700 metres from the tips. Eight of the final twelve holes feature lakes and ponds to threaten tee shots and approach shots, and in some cases – both. Tis’ not the best course in Austria, but that doesn’t make it a rough diamond…

Yards:                   7,386 yards

Par:                        Par 72


There are some really big names playing this week including Florian Pogatschnigg (1,000/1), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (45/1), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (24/1) and Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (213/1 – all BetDaq). Equally there is a big caddy nicknamed Wobbly (and a wobbly player named John Daly) who is carrying the clubs for Walker Cup hero Paul Cutler (90/1) on his Professional debut.

However, of the players, it’s difficult to see anyone from outside the top ten obvious favourites triumph this weekend. They include Padraig “Wheres me trophy” Harrington (12/1 at SkyBet), Soren “the Great Dane” Hansen (33/1 at Ladbrokes) and the walking humidor himself, Miguel Angel Jimenez (13/1 with Coral).


At this juncture, I would normally make mention of some of the better holes (probably here the 11th and 15th which are both par threes are both have island greens). I may also have mentioned a tricky hole towards the end (the 18th has water down the left hand side while out of bounds protects the right) but this week, I am not going to.

Occasionally, I also mention the weather forecast which this time around, is the most interesting of the usual features. Earlier this week, many Austrians awoke to a large dump of fresh snow which is the first snowfall on lower levels since last season. Sadly there was no skiing – as the weather was just too bad and although winter ski areas are around two months from opening, many were blanked with nearly half a metre of snow! With a half baked field such as this, this minor snowy distraction is music to my ears – in the form of the Austrian maestros Mahler, Mozart and Strauss….

Ones to watch:

Not wanting to appear as obviously homosexual as Austrian TV presenter Brüno Gehard, but this week, I have to say I rather fancy Tom Lewis (48/1 with BetDaq). Following an exemplary showing at this year’s Dubai Desert Classic (59th) and The Open (30th), and here in his professional debut, the sweet swinging, blonde haired blue eyed wiser-than-his-years Welwyn Garden City boy will be an exciting prospect for the future and well worth an each way punt this week of all weeks.

There’s no doubting that a visit to the history books often provides much of my inspiration for this meager collection of wordsmithery and so its perhaps no surprise that 2010 winner, Jose Manuel Lara (22/1 with BetFred and Totesport), reappears as a potential top 4 finisher this week. The rather scary, hairy and lairy looking twice Tour winning Spaniard, despite an interesting season in 2010 (with 21 missed cuts and a win!), has steadied the ship this year with 5 top 15 positions. 

Ones to win:

Aiming for the Swarovski and sparkling Red Bull (they like the podiums!), and hoping to beat the two year victory itch, is visor sporting Soren Kjeldson (33/1 with Ladbrokes) who is a consistent performer on the tour having never finished outside the top 67 since 1998. A gritty but stylish character Kjeldson will be eyeing the silverware this week.

And finally the smiling Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson (30/1 at PaddyPower and Bet365), Titleist playing wunderkind and general extrovert player is seeking his maiden victory having played himself both in (and out) of contention on several occasions across the season. Now seeks a solid performance to consolidate a solid rookie year on the big tour. But inspired by the smell of victory he hopes the local Apfelstrudel and Pez candy won’t be the only sweet things about his week in Austria.

Hasta la Vista baby.