January 2011

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The Northern Trust Open 2011

Phil Mickelson 15/2

Phil-Mickelson-001 The winner in 2008 and 2009 and with a string of other top results around Riviera Phil must fancy his chances again here this week. Another top-10 at Pebble to follow his second at The Farmers make him a worthy favourite. It’s all about the blade for Mickelson, if he gets it humming he could win by a mile.


Steve Stricker 12/1

steve-stricker-col4_399x244 We may forgive him a 45th place finish in windy Qatar on his European Tour holiday but stateside Stricker is as dangerous as ever with top-10’s at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open. A progressive improvement from tied 11th in 2008, to second in 2009 and then winner in 2010, the defending champion wont be far away.


Matt Kuchar 22/1

091005_wb_kuchar Having climbed off the canvass to scale the heights of world golf Kuch has absolutely no intention of letting it slip away again. A worst result of seventh from three PGA Tour starts and the stats say he’s a birdie machine. Insiders say Kuchar has an extensive knowledge of Riviera and though he doesn’t have a PGA Tour form line here, he’s going to be dangerous.


JB Holmes 25/1

jb-holmes-091808 Didn’t get it done in the Pro-Am format last week with three rounds in the 70’s but that Friday 64 was pretty impressive stuff. JB’s last seven rounds at Riviera have been in the 60’s resulting in a tied sixth in 2009 and tied third last year. It’s been a big hitters Tour so far this season and with the average winning score expected to be around 16 under this should suit JB down to the ground.


Marc Leishman 80/1

leishman Our long odds shout at the Northern Trust Open is Marc Leishman. In researching the tips I always look through final round movers from the previous year because their memories on returning are always positive. The Aussie closed with a 65 last year in what I believe was his first outing at Riviera. Top 10’d at The Farmers two weeks back so looks to be in decent form. The odds of 80/1 reflect the quality of the field, Leishman is 14/1 to finish in the top five.


2011 Northern Trust Open Betting Preview and Tips- PGA Tour

DLF Golf and Country Club

New Delhi, India 17 Feb 2011 - 20 Feb 2011

Last week: Winner alright- We tipped Alvaro Quiros at 21/1

Scott Strange 25/1

scott strange The man at the weekend in Dubai last week was Scott Strange. What was that he said at the Celtic Manor Wales Open in 2008, “Trust me, I will not choke”? True to his word he delivered and added the Volvo China Open the following year. A strong character who is bang in form, it will be interesting to see if he can contend for the big prize this week. We think he can.

Rafael Cabrera Bello 22/1

cabrera bello Hotly tipped to win on Tour this year, the young Spaniard’s best result of the season to date is a tied third finish at the Qatar Masters; remarkable considering he opened with a 77. Cabrera Bello also scored a top ten at the HSBC C’ship in Abu Dhabi and has a worst result of 30th this season. One note of caution, Cabrera Bello has only one tournament round under his belt on this course; that was an 80 last season after which he withdrew with illness. Well worth your fiver nonetheless.

Richard Finch 33/1

finch Richard Finch makes the trip to India on the back of a decent five weeks of action. The two time Tour winner has yet to miss a cut this season and scored an impressive top 10 in Qatar two weeks back. After a quiet week in Dubai, the Englishman will be looking to go one better in New Delhi than he did last year. His final round charge of 66 saw him saw him climb into a tied third finish. One to watch.


David Drysdale 50/1

drysdale Drysdale got off to a flyer here last year but couldn’t surge at the weekend when he needed to. However a tied third finish will have the Scot relishing the chance of a return to New Delhi. Three top-15’s in decent fields at the Alfred Dunhill, Joburg Open and Qatar Masters give him a solid chance of a podium finish.


Richard Bland 125/1

richard bland The long odds shout this week is England’s Richard Bland. A European Tour victory has been like a five metre scrum for Bland where he just hasn’t been able or had the good fortune to get over the line. Irish readers will remember his agonizing second at the 2002 Irish Open, a result he produced a carbon copy of here in India last year. A pulled tee shot on the par five last hole got a horrid bounce before settling right in front of a tree. The result was a dropped shot while Andrew Dodt picked up one for the win. Will the golfing Gods offer redemption for a man who truly deserves it?

2011 Avantha Masters Betting Preview and Tips

Paired with caddyshack star Bill Murray, D.A. Points won for the first time on the PGA TOUR at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last night.   Points holed out from 100 yards for eagle on the tough 14th on his way to a 5-under 67 and a two-shot victory over a charging Hunter Mahan.  Overnight leader Steve Marino triple bogeyed the final hole to slip from second to tied fourth.

john daly lcd tv bag 2011Check out John Daly’s new tour bag, equipped with built in LCD TV.  The caddyshack bag has a 10 inch screen which allows Daly to keep up with his favourite shows Ellen and Oprah during breaks in rounds.

I wonder would he be allowed watch PGA Tour golf to see what clubs the guys in front are using on the par three’s?  If the camera’s can be used to catch Paddy Harrington then why not use them to help JD?

Just a thought.

Rory McIlroy has just completed a first round 65 to top the leaderboard after the morning session of the Dubai Desert Classic 2011. As he said himself after he “got away with a few drives” and still made birdies.  The only blemish in a round of 8 birdies was a dropped shot at the seventh, his 16th.  The “big three” of Woods, Westwood and Kaymer are just underway.

With Westwood, Kaymer and Woods paired together for the opening rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic we’ve gone deep inside the minds of the trio to reveal in only “two words” how each feel about the state of their game heading into this week.  We think you’ll find the results as accurate as an Irish General Election Opinion Poll.

westwood kaymer woods funny pic

When asked this morning if the language barrier between the trio could create some difficulty,  European Tour boss George O’Grady reportedly said “Both Martin and Lee have plenty of US Tour experience and have played with Tiger many times now so both should be well capable of understanding what comes out of his mouth.”

Our Golfbidder Doc’s Dawn Raid days are fast becoming legendary and the next in the series has just been arranged for Saturday 19th February on the beautiful Carton House Estate, Maynooth, Co Kildare.  Don’t worry, there’s no rugby internationals on that day so seek permission from the householder, and sign up on our widget to enter!

How do the Dawn Raid’s work?  The day is basically a free fun day out for 12 of our readers. The ingredients are club testing, breakfast and golf, with craic guaranteed.

Club Testing: We will start our day on the range in Carton House at the crack of dawn (8.15am) testing a whole stack of clubs (and a few gloves) sent to us by Europe’s largest pre-owned club seller Golfbidder.  We make little YouTube videos of what you, our testers think, so best clobber and game faces on! There’s no other place you can test all the big makes in the one place, blades and offsets, drivers and fairways than on one of our Dawn Raids.

Breakfast: At about 10am we will all head into the clubhouse for brekkie (full Irish of course), a chat and a bit of banter.

Round Of Golf: At 11am we’ll take on the fabulous O’Meara course in three fourballs.  You can use your own clubs for this or feel free to take some of the weapons you’ve tested out on the course for a real test.

Who Should Sign Up: This testing day is with men’s right handed clubs, so sorry ladies and lefties, but your day is coming soon.

And the best thing, it’s all free and on me so you can leave your wallets at home.  Cant say fairer than that.  Sign up through the widget on the right and wait for your phone to ring with an invitation.

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AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 2011 Betting Preview and Tips

Odds on the exchanges

Dustin Johnson 8/1

oct12-dustin-johnson_372x365 Top tenned in Hawaii and tied third at The Farmers two weeks back. 29th last week but the undisputed king of this AT&T Championship having won this multi course format for the past two seasons. The shortest tracks on Tour were devoured by DJ last year who spat out the par fives in a ridiculous number under par. Like a champion boxer that’s prones to cuts, if Johnson can protect the scar tissue from his US Open 82 last time on Pebble he should be just fine.


Jonathan Byrd 50/1

jonathan-byrd-golf_t640 The back to back winner either side of Christmas at the Shriners and the Tournament of Champions Johnathan Byrd will also be confident heading to this week. He’s had a quiet two weeks finishing in the 30’s but interestingly his worst round out of eight since winning was a 73. Byrd has unfinished business at this event dating back to 2006 when, although finishing tied third, he could have and should have notched the win. In better form now than then, he will be aiming to join Mark Wilson as the second multiple winner of the year.

Vijay Singh 36/1

Vijay-Singh Kind of like Michael Schumacher, he’s back and he’s good but does anyone really want back?  Singh tied third last week in Phoenix, the first time he has done so in over two years. The difference? His putting, Vijay is back making birdies and what better time to start than the week leading up to an event he has won in the past. Well 2004 might be seven years ago, but I think his resurgence is no flash in the pan and the man who is more popular than Jesus in Fiji is well worth a look.

Tim Clark 20/1

tc-ht1650 If Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson were top tennis players, then Tim Clark would be a world champion table tennis (ping-pong) player. They don’t play many short tracks on the PGA Tour but all three courses in use this week are under 7000 yards. Add into the equation that Clark finished tied second at the Sony Open, he’s been injured since, and you have yourself a contender. His best result here was tied fourth in 2005 but he’s been in the top 25 almost every time he’s played this event.

Pic: Clark busy preparing for Pebble Beach with a blister on his foot!

Brandt Snedeker 32/1

maar01_snedeker This may a be little out of left field but keep an eye out for Brandt Snedeker this week. After finishing last season with a top five at the Deutsche Bank he has continued with top 10’s at The Farmers and last week’s Phoenix Open. Very impressive in last years US Open on the toughened Pebble Beach format tying 8th. One to watch and the bookies agree as these odds are not as long as you might imagine. If only he’d turn down those collars!


Steve Marino 70/1

dan-marino Impressed at the Sony Open in Hawaii tying second and one of the first US players I look up coming into a seaside golf event. Tied fourth last season after faltering at Pebble Beach in the final round. The last couple of weeks have been a struggle but don’t count him out of this one.


The GUI have picked Paul Cutler (Portstewart), Alan Dunbar (Rathmore), Eddie McCormack (Galway) and Jeff Hopkins (Skerries) to compete in the Portuguese Amateur Open Championship at Montado Golf Club from 17-20 February.

With 999 views of him nailing a drive Paul is also looking forward to reaching another career milestone; the 1000 view club on Youtube.  Only 391,821 views behind Rory McIlroy, Cutler insists he can still catch his fellow Ulsterman saying “Doc from GolfCentralDaily championed me when all the others were swarming around stars like Peter O’Malley and Martin Lafeber on the range.  Moooo!”

Report  from PGATour.com.

Mark Wilson won the frost-delayed Waste Management Phoenix Open on Monday for his second victory in three starts this year, making a 9-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole against Jason Dufner.  Wilson, two strokes ahead when play resumed Monday, closed with a 2-under 69 to match Dufner at 18 under. Dufner shot a 66, birdieing Nos. 16 and 17.

The 36-year-old Wilson, who won the Sony Open in Hawaii last month in a 36-hole Sunday finish, made a 4-foot par putt on the 18th to extend the playoff after Dufner had tapped in for par. Wilson then won on the par-4 10th, setting up the deciding putt with a 7-iron approach from the middle of the fairway.

Dufner was facing a 7-foot par putt when Wilson ended the playoff.  Delays for frost and frozen turf the first four days forced the Monday finish.  Wilson earned $1,098,000 for his fourth PGA TOUR title and moved into the FedExCup points lead. He also won the 2007 Honda Classic and 2009 Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Third-round leader Tommy Gainey, a stroke back with two holes, closed with a 74 to tie for eighth at 14 under. He made a triple bogey on the par-4 17th after hitting into the water twice on the driveable hole.

Last Week: Each way win- Alvaro Quiros 2nd at 15/1

Omega Dubai Desert Classic betting preview and tips

Emirates GC

Dubai, United Arab Emirates 10 Feb 2011 - 13 Feb 2011

Rory McIlroy 10/1

Form like 2,5,6,5 might not be that impressive for a racehorse but when it describes a golfers last four finishes it immediately grabs your attention. And when the player it belongs to won here in 2009 and tied sixth last year, you would be foolish to leave him off your betting slip. The question, as always, for Rory McIlroy is not how many birdie chances he creates in Dubai, but how many he takes. Quite simply, tee to green, Rors is the best and when his putting steps up, he will be the world’s best.

Alvaro Quiros 21/1

The towering Spaniard drove his golf ball an average of 323 yards from the tee last week, the longest in the field by a mile. If he can reproduce that driving form plus get a couple more putts than he did in Doha this man is going to be hard to stop. Finished tied sixth last year but knows he could have won were it not for a disastrous final round of 75. Second on his own last week and third at the Earth Course down the road in November, he remains a desert specialist.

Miguel Angel Jimenez 36/1

He may not have the length off the tee of the others but Jimenez remains a wily old campaigner. He proved that when beating Lee Westwood in a playoff to win here last year. Add to that tying for second, fourth, seventh and tenth all in the noughties and you begin to see just why The Mechanic loves to comes back to Dubai every year. Okay so he didn’t do so well in the wind last week, but his tied second in Bahrain suggests he will be still as dangerous as ever around here.


Thomas Bjorn 36/1

thomas-bjorn Could last week’s winner make it two in a row with another victory this week? With the pressure off and a few pints downed Bjorn is back on the course where he won in 2001. The Dane claims the new Callaway Razr driver is giving him ten extra yards off the tee but in truth his putts per greens in regulation were imperious. Another display like that on the short stuff could see him challenge again.

Pic: A smiling Thomas Bjorn

Long Odds Shouts

David Howell 150/1

howell You might know him better as the funny guy from The 200 Yard Gong Shot or Clay Pigeon Golf or even Sky Sports but David Howell used to be a pretty handy golfer. In fact he was much better than that around 2005 and 2006 as he broke into the world’s top 10, played Ryder Cup and even took care of Tiger Woods in the HSBC Champions. Howell is now back fit and well after struggling with back problems and forging his way back up the leaderboard. Finished fifth last week and is a former winner albeit on a different course in 1999. I just think momentum is with Howell for a big finish and the Force grows strong with him. Well worth an each way look from 150/1.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello 110/1

Tying for third last week makes it two top-10’s in his last three starts for the young Spaniard having also clocked up a seventh place finish in Abu Dhabi. This man is a statisticians dream with his numbers from last week defying belief. He was fourth in driving distance, seventh in greens in regulation, first for putts per greens hit in regulation and fourth in overall putting. Simply put its extremely rare that a player finishes at or near the top of all the stat categories so alarm bells are ringing, especially when I see he can be got for 110/1 on the exchanges. Also keep an eye on the progress of England’s John Parry from 170/1. Straight off the tee and brilliant on the greens, better iron play could be the key for him this week.

mark wilson Tim Finchem and the PGA are today considering disciplinary action after Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey apparently attacked playing partner Mark Wilson with a cheese sandwich midway through the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Gainey, who also works as a Cage Fighter with a travelling circus had just surrendered his lead when the incident happened.  He emptied the contents of his sandwiches on Wilson resulting in a lump of cheese becoming embedded on his head.  Our picture, taken seconds after, shows an irate Wilson shaking his fist as Gainey. It is as yet unclear if Gainey will take his place alongside Wilson for today’s conclusion.

european tour trophy pic There were widespread calls for the introduction of regulations surrounding European Tour trophies after another near miss today at the Qatar Masters.  Dignitaries, including a Sheikh and banker,  almost decapitated Dane Thomas Bjorn during the trophy presentation.  The Qatar Masters trophy, a giant clam, became dangerously unstable in downloadthe windy conditions and almost snapped shut on Bjorn’s jugular.

The controversy follows just weeks after Martin Kaymer refused to touch the Race To Dubai trophy.  Apparently Kaymer was worried for his toes after a forklift, hidden boom and two of the Dubai weightlifting team were required to help Westwood lift it the previous year.


He may share the same facial attributes as a disgruntled farmer but those who know him best say he’s a joker and that’s good enough for us to wholeheartedly congratulate Thomas Bjorn on his 11th Tour victory in the Qatar Masters. Fourteen pars, then three birdies in four holes blew away the field in the same very windy conditions as his last victory in Estoril.

Alvaro Quiros finished second, his round came unstuck with a three putt on 15 but he then produced the shot of the day, a 310 yard three iron onto the green on the par four 16th.  Ouch!

The win moves Bjorn to just inside the top 60 from 133rd in the Official World Golf Ranking and on course to gain a place in the WGC – Accenture Match Play.  It also extends Denmark’s run of consecutive winning years on The European Tour to seven, dating back to the 2005 season.

tommy bjorn qatar

Ireland’s top golf journalist Brian Keogh tackles the subject of cheating  on the Irish Golf Desk site today.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Or put it another way. If a golfer cheats but no-one dares to challenge him, is there a cheating problem in golf?

The official answer, apparently, is no. But that’s not what the grassroots are saying. For example, if a player cheats in a club competition, gets caught and sanctioned by his club but is not officially reported to the Provincial Branch or the Golfing Union of Ireland, he will only be out of action for as long as his club sees fit. Or as long as it suits his club to be without his talents.

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