After lining my pockets for two weeks in a row, Martin Kaymer is currently my favourite person on the planet. The German and I are both in tip-top form at just the right moment as we move into the biggest week of the golfing calendar. The Open Championship from Turnberry sounds great and I am sure that it won’t let anyone down.
The Open rotation has finally worked its way back to the fabulous setting of Turnberry and what a treat we are all in for. This track is a great example of what a links course is all about. There is natural history all around and a general feeling that this is a very special place.
At just over 7,200 yards it is pretty lengthy for a par 70 course but as with all links courses the length is only ever second in relevance to the weather. My sources in that department tell me that whilst it will be unsettled we should not expect anything too severe. The course is tough but there are also good birdie chances so pick your holes and know when to play in-running.
No prizes for guessing who holds the top spot in the market this week. Tiger is hunting his 15th major win and he has an ominous look in his eyes this week. Since his return from knee surgery he has already recorded three tournament wins but notably no major victory. For anyone opposing him that is not a good sign. When the great man gets the bit between his teeth then it will take an act of god to stop him. Something similar to the scenes we saw at Muirfield in round three of the 2002 Open is what his opponents will have in mind.
The truth of the matter is that Tiger is striking the ball beautifully. As much as we try and deflect the attention away from him and big-up the chances of the Europeans, nobody can beat him if he executes his game plan. Tiger has had a few practice rounds at Turnberry now and whilst others are marveling in the surroundings he is doing nothing but plotting their downfall.
His planning is meticulous and I believe that of all the majors this one suits him best. His low stinger shots will be seen to their full effect this week and his superior imagination will put him ahead of his rivals. I rarely get involved at anything so short but backing Tiger at 3.7 seems the only logical solution to the 138th Open Championship.
The Next Best Bets
There are two ways to play Turnberry. Either you take the hazards on and get a much easier second shot if successful or you play it safe. Tiger will play it safe but he can afford to do that as he is deadly with virtually every iron in his bag. That cannot be said for all his opponents. If Tiger is to be beaten it will have to be by someone who is great with the driver or someone who hits it very very long.
Angel Cabrera could be the man. The Masters champion is still underrated in my opinion and I am not sure what he has to do to get himself in amongst the top echelons of a market. He has always played links courses well and like Tiger he will play it safe. He is perceived as a swashbuckling big hitter but he is a great planner and will be more than happy to be patient and wait for his opportunities. At current odds of 100.00 he has to be in your staking plan.
If there was one player I would be happy to see play the risky shot off the tee it would be Lee Westwood. He is hitting the ball as well as anyone in the world right now. I really do hope he is lifting the Claret Jug on Sunday and he will be seeing a bit of my money at decent odds of 38.0.
The Massive Outsider
There are some seriously big prices available about some very good players this week. The main man in this category is definitely Vijay Singh. The big Fijian has taken some time to get back to his best following a knee problem but now the only problem is a misbehaving putter. As long as the really poor weather stays away he has all the game to challenge on Sunday afternoon. At current odds of 120.00 he is most definitely top of my outsider fancies.
A little further down the market you have to pay good attention to Stuart Appleby. A play-off loser in the 2002 Open, he knows he can play these courses. A lean spell is passing and the last few weeks has seen some really good stuff from Appleby. His record at the Mercedes Championship and his Aussie background tells you he knows how to play windy conditions so he won’t be fazed by that. At odds of around 250.00 you can’t really go too far wrong for a saver.
Two of the three lowest ever winning scores in an Open have been recorded at Turnberry so maybe, just maybe, it won’t play as hard as we all think. Only two players in the last 75 years have been wire to wire winners with no ties so don’t get too excited if your fancy hits the front after the first round. Most interestingly of all is the fact that I backed Nick Price to win the Open the last time we had the championship at Turnberry in 1994. Surely I can’t defend my 100% course record…
Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. Ã‚Â© The Sporting Exchange Limited
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BIOGRAPHY: Cesc Fabregas