July 2012

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Golf Benefit: Boat pose works on building core strength so golfers can maintain posture thus creating a more consistent swing which in turn leads to more consistent shots.

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Instruction: Come to a seated position on your mat. Bend the knees keeping the soles of the feet flat on the mat. Bring both arms in behind the knees as you straighten up the spine and tighten up the core abdominal muscles. Lean back and balance on the sit bones, ensuring to keep the back straight. Any rounding of the back or slumping of the shoulders will result in the core strength being lost. Once you are balanced extend both legs out keeping a bend in the knees, calves parallel with the floor for a half-boat, suitable for beginners. Bring the arms out straight in line with the shoulders, palms facing each other. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

For a more challenging full boat pose, work to straighten the legs bringing the body into a ‘V’ shape. Ensure that the chest stays open and the back stays straight. Hold 5-10 breaths.

 

Anne Marie Kennedy from Yoga For Golf Ireland is our teaching bay contributor. Anne Marie works with Ireland’s elite amateurs, training them to maximize their flexibility, and power in their game through yoga. For more details check out www.yogaforgolf.ie

 

It’s a PGA Tour event where the highest score wins, not the lowest score. Wtf?  I don't understand.

Modified Stableford Scoring will be in use this week, supposedly to entice more viewers away from the WGC Bridgestone invitational which has taken many of the big names with it.

How It Works

You get points for your score on each hole

• Albatros: 8 points
• Eagle: 5 points
• Birdie: 2 points
• Par: 0 points
• Bogey: -1 point
• Double Bogey: -3 points

If you do a Kevin Na and get worse than double bogey it’s no problem; it’s just –3 points, put the ball in your pocket and meet you on the next tee.

 

The format is designed to encourage players to take risks and go for everything.  Theoretically a player with bogeys mixed in with lots of birdies and the odd eagle who normally would not win, could come out on top in this format.

The big name players at the event include Padraig Harrington and John Daly.

Golf writers of the past were certainly looked after a damn better than today’s!  This is the apartment of American golf scribe George Peper, overlooking the st andrews apt 18th fairway on the Old Course in St Andrews. And it’s up for sale with a guide price of £1.5 million.

There’s two-bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, sitting room and one helluva view.

Due to be sold tomorrow.  Now where to get a mortgage?

 

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Firestone CC (South Course) - Akron, OH, USA, early odds from betfair.

Winner Alright: Last week we tipped both Bernd Wiesberger (19/1) and Scott Piercy (75/1) to victory

Adam Scott 19/1

adam_scott_img_02 Shot a 62 in the first round here last year and never really looked back. This is where caddie Stevie Williams declared himself “a great front runner”, which came back to haunt him at Lytham a few weeks back. I’m one of the people who didn’t think Scott blew up at The Open and predict another strong showing here. Third and second in his last two starts, Scott’s not far away.

 

Hunter Mahan 38/1

Hunter-Mahan-Colonial[4] Hunter would break your heart if you had shares in him as logic and stats suggest he should figure more foten than he actually does. Fourth in total driving (distance and accuracy) is a big advantage on this mammoth 7,400 yard par 70 as is Hunter’s standing of third in the greens in regulation stats. Three top 10’s in his five stars at Akron including a win in 2010 coupled with decent recent form give Hunter a shout for my money.

 

Tiger Woods 7/1

TigerShhhh Adopted a tactic of laying well back from the bunkers at the Open and came third. But Tiger will need his driver on full power this week if he is to have any chance to contend. Discount last years poor performance here; Tiger was out from May to August and look more to the seven Firestone wins from 1999 to 2009. If Tiger gets back to his billing as ranking third in total driving, it’s hard to see past him.

 

Luke Donald 18/1

luke_299x246 Shot 64, 66 at the weekend last year to tie for second with Rickie Fowler; Donald’s best finish at a venue which theoretically should not be suited to his game. The BMW PGA Championship was lightly raced coming into Lytham having taken five weeks off before playing the Scottish Open, yet snuck into a top five finish. The Englishman will be buoyed up for this week and I can tell you now, he WILL be one of my five picks for the US PGA Championship.

 

Bubba Watson 32/1

bubba Bubba continued to excite his fans with some extreme shot making at Lytham where I considered him a little unlucky to finish 23rd. The Masters champ showed good form in finishing second at The Travelers at the end of June, a result he matched at the WGC Cadillac Championship earlier in the year. The longest driver on Tour and surprisingly accurate, if Bubba is in the mood, he could win this week.

 

Best Of The Rest

It’s only Bo Van Pelt’s 65/1 third appearance in Akron and he’s played well to date. Tied for third in 2010 and top 25 last year, Van Pelt ranks eighth in total driving and was second to Tiger Woods at Congressional recently. Played well in Canada last week also and certainly worth an each way wager.

 

Thanks to reader Colin Clancy for pointing out the glaring ineptitude of the Golf Channel when it comes to the European Tour.  Here’s their final round leaderboard from the Lyoness Austria Open.

Golf Channel Gaffe 

Now bearing in mind the Golf Channel have thousands of employees and none of them even bothered to find out where Chris Doak comes from (he’s Scottish by the way), it’s pretty poor stuff.

It seems they take more pride in pointing out who is using Titleist balls!

And as if that was not bad enough they then went and popped up an English flag beside Shane Lowry.  Granted they are our near neighbours and all but THE last thing you call a proud Irishman is English!

So come on Golf Channel, tighten up!

 

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On being Irish

“I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s just our upbringing. We come from fairly humble backgrounds, and I think it’s something about the country we live in, with its traditions and humility. You picture us storytelling in front of a fireplace with a pint of Guinness and a musician playing. There is that culture, and I think a lot of it is the characters, a lot of characters.”

On being in Major Contention

“I definitely missed it. I craved to be back in that kind of scenario. 2011 was a tough year, but I think I learned a lot about myself and handling my new-found position within the game, I suppose, and the higher world ranking and just my own expectations. I feel like since September of last year, I’ve really put these things into use. I’ve been playing very consistently now for close to 12 months. I’m very happy where my game is, and I’m looking forward to the PGA Championship, the FedEx Cup and the Ryder Cup.”

On Improving

“Pre-shot routines. I think my pre-shot routines in 2010 were really sharp but probably not as sharp right now. Just seeing shots, the imagery. I think I need to be a little more instinctive again; maybe I’m trying to be a little too perfect and prepare a little bit too well under pressure, instead of just letting the brain take over and being instinctive. That’s something I’m going to work on between now and the PGA.”

On Belly Putters

“I fully expect they’ll ban them at some point. It’s going to be interesting, but I would be in the camp where I would like to see them go. I don’t think Adam putted very well in the last round, so I don’t think it was an advantage to him. If it was that advantageous, everyone would be using them. But, yes, when it comes down to a 6-footer under pressure on a Sunday afternoon at a major, it might just be that little bit easier to have one part of extraneous movement taken out by anchoring the putter to your body. It makes it just that little bit easier under pressure, but you still have to get yourself there.”

 

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It’s one rule for one and one for the other.  Or is it?  Forget having to decide if belly putters should or should be legalized, what about the PGA changing their mind every five minutes on what is or isn’t a bunker?  Well maybe not every five minutes, but every two years.

bucket_spade1 The new ruling called the “Dustin Johnson Dictat” (by me) states that all bunkering at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course which will host next month’s PGA Championship will be considered “sandy areas”.  That really means that all the sandy areas might look like bunkers, but will be played like waste areas, where players can ground their club, remove stones and bash about as much sand as they wish with their practice swings.

Basically there will be no bunkers on the golf course.

So you can imagine how Dustin Johnson feels having heard this rule.  Exactly two years ago he and a couple of hundred people were stood in what best can be described as a grassless cliffside at Whistling Straits only to have a fowl called on him for grounding his club in a “bunker”.

According to the PGA they didn’t change the rule to help everyone out or really annoy Dustin this year.  Apparently in Kiawah it has always been the done thing being that the course is set amongst natural sand dunes.  The same rule applied at the 1991 Ryder Cup. 

Dustin Johnson is 33/1 with the bookies to win now that he can bring his bucket and spade!

It’s still not to late to enter a team in Ballyliffin’s Major Pro-Am this weekend.  Teams of three will be joined by the elite from the Irish professional ranks over two days of competition on the Glashedy and Old Links.

Entry also includes a pre tournament practice round and guaranteed 5-star hospitality.  It’s all shaping up to be one mammoth weekend in Donegal, on and off the course!

Download your or call  074-9378100 to book in by phone.

 

Thorbjorn Olesen 14/1

thorbjorn[3]  Five top 10’s this season for Jacob including an exciting week at the Open where he played the third round paired with Tiger Woods.  Tiredness could be a factor for him in his fifth week in a row on the road but his recent form coupled with a win in Sicily in April make him the deserving favourite.

 

Thomas Norret 95/1

norret Norret lead by two after three rounds last year with some excellent golf but a final round of 72 dropped him to fourth.  Played well at the Nordea Masters in this calender slot last season, so I’m hoping for a good week from the Dane in Austria.

 

Bernd Wiesberger 19/1

  berndThe powerful Austrian is the home favourite this week  and has kicked on from his four top 10’s last season with a win in the Ballantine’s back in April.  Form has been poor since with only one top 20 in Sweden but backed by the crowd and memories of his tied fifth finish here last year, Bernd should put on a good show.

 

Lorenzo Gagli 48/1

lorenzo-gagli Plays his 62nd tournament this week in Austria and hasn’t quite found the formula for success. Yet! I saw enough from Gagli in his opening two rounds at Portrush a month ago to convince me he can win.  Scored five top five finishes last year in his first full season on Tour coming close at the Scottish Open and even closer at the Madrid Masters.  All that’s needed is a little step up from the Italian.

 

David Drysdale 32/1

Odrysdale ne of the most consistent and underrated players on the Tour David has the chance to score big this week.  In his 17 events this season, the Scot has made 14 cuts finishing every event at par or better.  Back this week after a disappointing trip to Castle Stuart, Drysdale will be looking to recreate the form of Wentworth and Portrush and get into the mix come Sunday.

Best Of The Rest

Magnus A. Carlsson 25/1 has been on my radar with three top 10’s this season.  He’s certainly good enough to break through.  I’ll also be keeping an eye on gritty pro Robert Coles 95/1 who played well to podium in Morocco and showed signs of good things to come in Scotland last time out.

 

This week’s readers prize is a half day coaching with PGA professional John Dooley at his academy in Riverstown, Co. Cork, Ireland. The session, worth €250m, will cover all parts of your game and include high tec swing video analysis.

Here’s the itinerary:

John Dooley0029.00 am – 9.15 am, Introduction.

9.15 am – 10.15 am, Golf Swing Analysis with JC Video.

10.30 am – 11.30 am, Short Game, Pitch shots.

11.45 am – 12.45 pm, Short Game, Chip shots.

12.45 pm – 1.00 pm, Recap and Q&A. 

For more info on John’s services call 087-9277997 or mail johnny.dooley@gmail.com.  Enter the comp through the widget on the left hand side.

 

Last week’s winner

Congrats to last weeks winner Vivienne Arnopp who wins a fourball on any DECGA Course.  She gets to choose from the K Club, Carton House, Druids Glen, The Island and more!

 

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The engraver at The Open is always under pressure at the end of the tournament.  Getting the winners name on the Silver Medal and the Claret Jug in time for the presentation is as stressful as it gets.

adam scott medalThen there’s the traditional shot for the BBC, of the engraver in action, beamed to millions across the world.

On Sunday, the BBC did the shot, and the medal had Adam Scott’s name on it!  Luckily however the name had just been traced, not engraved.  Blushes were spared on the engraving but not before the error was broadcast! 

We’ve trawled the Open Championship images for the top three fashion statements of the week.  Here’s our top three with all the info and links you need to investigate further.

Gold: GMac By Kartel Apparel

 GMac

Gold has to be Graeme McDowell’s for four days of dapper apparel.  The Portrush man launched his new clothing line website “GMac By Kartel” on day two of The Open and did a nice little trick of marketing by getting himself up near the top of the leaderboard!
You can get yourself kitted out in the GMac by Kartel apparel by following this link. http://www.kartel.ie/g-mac/ 

Silver: Adam Scott’s Oakley Shades

Royal and Ancient greenkeepers, Lytham ground staff and the head greenkeeper of 2013 Open venue Muirfield Links emerged from a meeting this morning declaring “a whole new world of pain” for any player who hits the ball into the bunker during next year’s Open Championship.

“We trialled putting water in the bunkers this year and it was a huge success”, said Paul Smith, head greenkeeper at Royal Lytham.  “However the players still found places in the bunker to drop the ball and some cases didn’t feel the full force of the hazard which we envisioned.  Next year we will be placing deckchairs, flip flops and used hypodermic needles in areas of bunker sand not already filled with water.  This, we feel, will provide a more exacting test befitting an Open Championship”.

beach effect bunker

Head of the R&A Peter Dawson clarified a decision to allow a player to sit on a deckchair in the bunker.  “The player finding his ball in a trap, may avail of a deckchair for a period of 30 seconds only after failing to extricate himself from the bunker after five strokes,”  Dawson said.

 

RBC Canadian Open, Hamilton G&CC, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada.

Previously held the tournament in 2006. Jim Furyk winner.

Early odds on the exchanges

or on pic for course guide.

Matt Kuchar 14/1

kuch As always after a Major Championship, fatigue has to be taken into account not to mention the adjustment from links golf back to the parkland game. However Matt Kuchar should be reasonably fresh for the fight having taken a month off after a top 10 at The Travelers to tie ninth at Lytham. The Players champion has a recent best of tied fourth in The Canadian Open in 2010.

Bo Van Pelt 36/1

bo_van_pelt The RBC Canadian Open courses work very much on a rotational basis these past few years and this year comes all the way across from Vancouver to Ancaster, Ontario about 450 miles of New York city. Last year Bo Van Pelt held the lead going into the final round at the tough Shaughnessy Country Club but dropped into a tie for sixth after a final round 74. Though he missed the cut at Lytham, Van Pelt has been showing form of late finishing second to Tiger at the AT&T a few weeks back. Tied for 20th in 2006, the last time the event was held on this course.

Scott Piercy 75/1

piercy_scott_pga Followed a strong showing at The Greenbrier Classic where he finished just outside the top 10 with a third place finish at the John Deere Classic the week before the Open. Piercy tied for sixth last year and the calendar suggests he hits form around this time of the year having bagged the Reno Tahoe Open in August 2011. One to watch.

Troy Matteson 95/1

troy625-cohen_ Embarks on his 201st (PGA or European Tour) Tournament this week and can be quite proud of his record with two wins at the Frys.com Open in 2006 and 2009. Matteson came so close to win number three at the John Deere until Zach Johnson’s wonder shot from the bunker beat him in a playoff. Made the field and then the cut at The Open finishing in a tie for 39th. Tiredness may be a factor but Matteson is a form dog.

Kyle Stanley 42/1

Kyle_Stanley_smile_t607 This is more of a gut feeling tip rather than based on solid fact but based on what on what I saw of Kyle Stanley last week at Lytham he will come strong again on Tour. He’s been through a dismal few months since winning in Phoenix back in February but mixed a hatful of birdies with some naïve course management in the Open to tie 39th. This could be one to back next Friday night if he’s in contention.

Long Odds Glory

Long odds glory hunters might have a quid on Scott Brown this week at 110/1. Scott might have missed 12 cuts from his first 17 PGA Tour starts but he seems to be getting the hang of it with a seventh at the John Deere and a tie for fifth in the True South Classic which ran parallel to the Open.

 

Ernie Els thanked Sherylle Calder during his acceptance speech at The Open Championship today  for having helped him regain confidence in his putting stroke.  Here’s a little background on Dr. Calder and what it is that she does.

(also check out my Ernie Els winning equipment post here)

Calder is a former elite athlete, scientist and visual skills coach.  She played international hockey and now works at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.  Ernie Els was introduced to Calder by a mutual friend Johann Rupert at at the Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt where she was working with Robert Karlsson and Retief Goosen among others. Ernie was in the doldrums over not having been included in the Masters field and the pair decided to work together.  Their sessions included a 10 day intensive camp in the USA after which Els noticed a significant improvement in his PGA Tour putting statistics.
 
Sherylle Calder is a renowned visualisation coach and is a household name in South African sport for well over a decade.  She has worked with several of the nations top rugby players including Bryan Habana and Percy Montgomery.  When the Springboks won the 2007 World Cup Calder met Nelson Mandela but needed no introduction as Mandela declared ‘Of course I know who the “Eye Lady” is.’
 
Calder teaches a visual performance programme, the Eye Gym, which she claims can give athletes an edge and “lift their performance”. She believes that in sport negativity is present at the highest level of competition, this is rooted in poor visual skills.  Among those she professes she would to work with in the future are tennis player Andy Murray and Tiger Woods.
 
After Ernie’s success at Lytham, somehow I can visualize that happening.
 
Below is Dr. Calder’s blog post on her work with Ernie Els
When Ernie Els finished his final round at the U.S. Open last month, he had every reason to be filled with fury. He bogeyed two of the closing three holes at the notoriously unforgiving Olympic Club course in San Francisco and squandered his chance for a third U.S. Open title.
In 2010, Els, burning with frustration, had marched past the swarm of press after a similar back-nine failure at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

  1. els trophy aloft Never mind what nutritionists say about onions. A little bit of wind is always welcome.
  2. This Open wasn’t really lost with a bogey. It was won by a birdie.
  3. Belly putters really do work.  Bradley, Simpson and Els, that’s three of the last four.
  4. Life really does begin at 40.
  5. Wayne Grady should never organize a party until his guy has actually won.
  6. wayne grady party cancelled

  7. The compensation for getting hit by a ball has just gone up.  It’s now a glove AND overnight accommodation.
  8. Interviewers need to know that “bogeys dont help”. Birdies do.
  9. There are bunkers and there are Lytham bunkers. Complete with rising water.
  10. Getting into the mix like GMac is the best way to plug your new clothing line.
  11. Caddies really shouldn’t declare themselves “great front runners”. It will come back to haunt them.

In an unprecedented move God himself came to out tonight to declare his position ahead of the final round of the 2012 Open Championship.

god In a statement released through the Baptist Bishops of Blackpool, known locally as the the BBB, God said “Obviously I have the power to make crazy stuff happen. move balls in the air and stuff, make putts veer into the hole etc, but I’m torn between Tiger and Stevie; both are sinners of the lowest order, beyond redemption in my book , and hey I’ve forgiven a lot of bad shit.”

God went to praise Graeme McDowell, intimating he might be the the beneficiary of any kind final round bounces.  “Far be it for me to interfere with the final round of a Major but GMac is a good God fearing lad just like his mum and dad. He has a nice low draw off the tee which suits Lytham so he doesn’t really need me, but if push comes to shove, let’s just say the McDowell’s have never missed a Sunday at Mass and do a lot of praying and stuff. That’s all I’m saying.”

After 36 holes of The Open here is the state of play of our tips

Site Tips Left Standing

thorbjorn Thomas Bjorn (80/1) –1 (only 3 bogeys in two rounds, just cant get putter working)

Louis Oosthuizen (40/1) Level (Good 68 today)

Dustin Johnson (40/1)  +1 (needs a biggie tomorrow)

Francesco Molinari (40/1) +1 (sloppy back nine today but could explode into life tomorrow)

Padraig Harrington (16/1) +2 (May get work work as a magician, after turning two under into two over on back nine today)

 

Facebook Betfair over 200/1 tips left standing

Thorbjorn Olesen (320/1) –5 (fingers crossed! Best of luck Jacob)

Jamie Donaldson (240/1) Level

Jeev Milkha Singh (210/1) +1

Branden Grace (200/1) +2

Chad Campbell (340/1) +3

Tom Watson (650/1) +3

Just want to take this opportunity to say well done to friend of golfcentraldaily Alan Dunbar on his great showing at this year’s British Open.  He managed a highly respectable one over today and looked every bit the part alongside Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar.

So here’s a toast to the British Amateur Champion, or Subo as he’s known around here, great things await!

Here’s Alan in action today

Stevie Williams came out all guns firing in his press conference following his second round 67 today.  Williams will tee off alongside Brandt Snedeker in tomorrow’s third round and issued this warning to the Tennis-een, Tennesyan…..man from Tennessee.

steve-williams_2 “I’ve got you in my sights Snedeker, I’ve been doing this for 34 years and this is the best second round of my life, I’m not joking you. It’s like going to the race track. The only place I’m interested in finishing is first. That means I’m going to shred The Sned.  Obviously its a very tough game and you can’t always win but I’m a very confident front runner.  There was a lot of expectation today, seeing as I lead overnight and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous, but it’s great to back it up. I always back myself just like I do when I go racing. Did I mention I’m a great front runner when I’m racing? Anyway, it’s been the best second round of my life, honestly.”

Support Stevie This Weekend By Wearing His Mask

Hey kids, want to make a really great Stevie Williams mask? Just follow the simple instructions below and we’ll instantly transform you into one of the best loved villains in golf.

things you needThings You Will Need

Some sharp scissors: Simply cut around the edges of the Stevie mask.  Always be careful when using a sharp scissors. You may need to ask a grown up racist for help.  When you have done that, prod out the eyes.

Some cotton wool strips: These will come in handy for making Stevie’s locks.  Simply stick big bushy lumps onto the dotted lines outlined in the mask.

Teeth:  Make a few complete pricks around the mouth area of the mask to make a hole. Pop in the teeth and hey presto, you’re a great front runner!

How to Lose Friends Book:  Simply read this book to get into Stevie’s mind.  Really impress your friends by snatching their cameras and phones and smashing them off the wall.

The Accent: This is the tough bit. Perfect the following phrase and amaze everyone. “Oymmm into Roycing end Gulf.”

stevie mask navy[6]

donald openLovely story today about Luke Donald’s caddie John McLaren who was given the day off by his boss to be with his newborn baby.  John’s wife Helen gave birth to their first child yesterday.  Common sense prevailed as a new life took precedence over a golf tournament.  McLaren joins Jason Day and Webb Simpson as chief nappy changers, but expect him to be back on Saturday morning to help his boss win the Claret Jug.

gareth lord

Robert Karlsson’s regular caddie Gareth Lord is set to deputize today.  Karlsson pulled out of the tournament bizarrely after deciding his short game was not in good enough condition to compete.

Every cloud eh!

 

Update: Nut cracker Jason Blue, 16, had his accommodation updated from ‘tent’ to ‘hotel’ by Rory McIlroy last night.  Rors told reporters: “I hated the thought of him spending the night in a tent after getting that bang on the head. Several of Jason’s mates are travelling to Lytham today in the hope of getting hit by a McIlroy ball during the second round.  One friend, Tom Orange told reporters “I’m going to try and get hit in the face, I really need to upgrade to the new Nintendo 3DS and with Rory giving away presents, this is the perfect opportunity!”

stevie williams bib funny[11]New Zealand sporting icon Stevie Williams shot 64 in the first round of the 2012 Open Championship today at Royal Lytham.  Afterward he declared himself happy with his round, if a little disappointed that his golfer might have cost him with at least two missed putts.

“Obviously I’m delighted” said Williams. “I’m a great front runner, over 50 Tour wins worldwide.  Okay my golfer Adam Scott let me down on a couple of occasions but if I keep doing what I’m doing and take one shot at a time, I feel I have the game to win this.  I’ve been in excellent form recently and practice back home has gone well.”

Questioned as to whether or not he would like to be paired with Tiger Woods in the final round, Williams said “I’d love to go head to head with Tiger.  We’ve both won big tournaments, we’ve both won Majors. I think the crowd would like to see us go at it down the stretch.”

300pix open-logoTHE 141st OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP,

Royal Lytham & St Annes GC, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England

19 Jul 2012 - 22 Jul 2012

Statistic Computer Predictions

The stats say that of the 157 players in the field the most in-form player in his last five events is Justin Rose with an average finish of 9.8.  He’s closely followed by Padraig Harrington at 10.2.  However, with a cut streak of 20 events and a season average finish of 17.29 the computer predicts Lee Westwood has the best chance of winning this week at 84.629% probability.  Luke Donald is predicted to come second at 82.643% using the equation with Rory McIlroy third at 81.001%

 

Padraig Harrington (Ladbrokes 20/1, Paddypower 18/1)

podgeThe bookies have trimmed Podge’s odds from 24’s to 16’s in the past couple of weeks based on his form. The 2007 and 2008 champ is striking the ball as good as in his career and after top 10’s at The Masters and the US Open is one good putting week away from adding to his Major haul. Team Harrington have been to the venue and prepared well and I have it from caddie Ronan that Padraig is close; though the margins are the top are fine, I feel Padraig can contend.

Rickie Fowler (Ladbrokes 40/1, Paddypower 35/1)

4thround_playersA Major Champion in waiting, of that I have no doubt. When is another question. This will be the orange one’s third tilt at The Open and if he continues his record of improvement from tied 14th in 2010 and tied fifth in 2011 he’ll be in the money again. Fowler showed some stones beating Rory in a playoff at Wells Fargo earlier this season and also went close at the Players. Well rested since the US Open, let’s hope he’s ready come GO TIME!

Michael Hoey (Ladbrokes 150/1, Paddypower 150/1)

hoeyCompeted in the 2001 British Open at Lytham as an amateur, his one and only Major until now. Paired with Jimenez and Justin Leonard then, the young Hoey narrowly missed the cut after getting stuck in a bunker on the sixth. Winner of the 2011 Dunhill Links and having grown up playing Castlerock and Portrush, I fancy a good week for Michael. Those of you who like the first round leader bets might take a punt here too.

Thomas Bjorn (Ladbrokes 80/1, Paddypower 90/1)

bjorn goodfellasIf last year was Darren Clarke’s year could this be Thomas Bjorn’s? The Dane has only missed two Opens since 1996 (2008,2009) and has tied for second twice in 2000 and again agonizingly in 2003 when he lead with four holes to play before some horrible luck in the bunker. Bjorn has tied for second in Wales and tied eighth in Germany during the last month or so and who’s to say the dream can’t come true? It did for his mate Darren.

Francesco Molinari (Ladbrokes 40/1, Paddypower 40/1)

francescoThree missed cuts from four Open appearances suggests Francesco is not going to break his duck this week but he is undoubtedly one of the in form players at the moment. Already a winner on Tour this season (at the Open de Espana) Molinari is not afraid to go low of late with a brilliant 64 on Sunday in Paris and a 62 last week in Castle Stuart.

Raphael Jacquelin (Ladbrokes 100/1, Paddypower 125/1)

We tipped Rapha last week in Scotland and at odds of 150/1 he’s worth another look at Lytham. Swinging and putting well as wjacqe saw in Paris where he came third and his eighth at last year’s Open doesn’t get the credit it deserves given that he had by far the worst start (74) of any of the eventual top 10. It’s only his third Open but the Frenchman has plenty of big time experience.

Best Of The Rest

dustin-johnson-one-legged-squatDustin Johnson 40/1 won the Fed Ex St Jude Classic just over a month ago after missing a big chunk of the season with injury. Has played poorly since but seems to find another gear in Majors of late. Since crumbling with GMac at Pebble Beach in 2010 Johnson (tied 8th) has been close at the 2010 US PGA (tied 5th) when penalized for grounding his club in a “bunker” and last year at The Open (tied 2nd) when he hit his iron out of bounds on the back nine when paired with Darren Clarke. g00062-louis-oosthuizenLouis Oosthuizen 40/1 has no recent form to speak to but when Louis is on his game nothing seems to phase him. Won the 2010 Open at St Andrews by a stunning seven shots and displayed steely final round rounds again at this years US Masters when only Bubba bettered him. Oosthuizen on the links again impressed me at the Dunhill Links where he tied fifth so keep a close eye on Shrek this week!

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