Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2015

Prize Fund – 2,500,00

Take out Patrick Reed, but still a formidable line-up... Although doesn't McDowell's face look really super-imposed?

Take out Patrick Reed, but still a formidable line-up… Although doesn’t McDowell’s face look really super-imposed?

Winner’s Share – €416,660 Course – Royal County Down Golf Club (7,186 yards Par 71) Our 2014 Picks – Stephen Gallacher – MC, Rafa Cabrera-Bello – T26, David Horsey – T49, Matthew Fitzpatrick – T29 One of the most highly anticipated events on the European Tour has arrived and what’s even more special is the fact it comes straight after the flagship tournament at the BMW. Rory McIlroy and his foundation are hosting the event and as the posters state – ‘creating history’ in the meantime. It is undoubtedly a stellar field – Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, GMAC, Jamie Donaldson and the best of European Tour.  But everyone will be drooling at the prospect of seeing the two young starlets battling it out – McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.  We’d be shocked if they aren’t paired together for the opening two days because ultimately, that’s what everyone wants to see. In terms of betting, it’s clearly going to be difficult because only a handful of tournaments have been played here and not many players will know the track particularly well.  ALTHOUGH, the top two boys both played here at the Walker Cup in 2007 – McIlroy both won and lost again Billy Horschel in the singles, whilst only picking up a half in the foursome.  Fowler won his first 3 matches with absolute ease, before being defeated by Rhys Davis on Sunday afternoon.  Only Danny Willett and David Horsey will be in this field who played during that week, whilst Graeme Storm actually won the Amateur Championship round here in 1999…  Only other names of note during that week were Simon Dyson and Marcel Siem. But from our research, there’s plenty to ponder and you can envision the sort of player that’ll potentially conquer this jewell of a course. Firstly, how this isn’t an Open venue we will never know.  Royal Portrush is due to enter the rotation, but this is another cracking track that will get the global attention it deserves this week. The infamous Old Tom Morris painted and weaved out this gem in the Murlough Nature Reserve, sitting on the backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne.  Running alongside Dundrum Bay, few consecutive hole go in the same direction, as the fairways intertwine and bend from the shoreline back to the clubhouse. Harry Colt and Donald Steel have both overlooked redesigns, leaving behind very fast greens that will test even the best putters on Tour. There’s an abundance of blind tee shots, which make it imperative everyone teeing off is prepared for the wind and understand the course during the practice days.  You can’t just turn up and play round here.  The thick, long grass and heather is synonymous with traditional links venues and here it’s no different.  Some of the layered greens are surrounded by ‘proper’ rough and will destroy anyone who tries to hack their way out. The bunkers are pretty horrendous to deal with as well – if you find any on the fairway, you’ll be staring down the barrel of a bogey.  So, accurate, scrambling, wind-loving, links specialists will be the kings of Royal County Down. Picks to Follow.

AT&T Byron Nelson 2015

Prize Fund – $7,100,002015byronnelson

Winner’s Share – $1,278,000

Course – TPC Four Seasons Resort (7,166 yards Par 70)

Our 2014 Picks – Jimmy Walker – T37 Paul Casey – T16 Justin Hicks – MC

This week on the PGA Tour we stay in Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson with a field that doesn’t excite anywhere near as much as last week or over the event over in Ireland.

But, we’ve got to look past all that and try and value at a course which is honestly, quite hard to predict.

Only 3 of the 8 winners on this track had recorded a top 10 before their victory, whilst there has been another 3 first-time victors. Therefore course form can theoretically be chucked out the window, but we always feel it’s important to keep an eye on previous results.

The 7,166 yard par 70 possesses large, undulating greens with several water features and strategically placed bunkers that will swallow anyone who strays into them.  The tree-lined fairways clearly indicate how vital it is to be accurate off the tee, whilst you can’t help but think those that attack the pins and birdie hunt will find themselves near the top of the leaderboard.  If the wind gets up, there’ll be havoc amongst the scores, but if it’s mild, the players will go really low.

That makes this so tough because you could look at accurate grinders or bombers, so check out the wind before you bet – right now it looks like we could be in for a pretty horrific few days weather….

http://www.myweather2.com/Golf-Courses/United-States-Of-America/Texas/TPC-Four-Seasons-Resort-Las-Colinas/14-Day-Forecast.aspx

Picks will follow soon…

Crowne Plaza Invitational 2015

CPIAC_color_highresPrize Fund – $6,500,00

Winner’s Share – $1,170,000

Course – Colonial Country Club (7,204 yards Par 70)

Our 2014 Picks – Jim Furyk (T51), Kevin Na (MC), John Senden (T5), Boo Weekley (75), David Hearn (T21)

The Tour takes it’s second trip to Texas, having been there earlier in the year for the Valero Texas and Shell Houston Opens. We all know what happened last week, Rory tore Quail Hollow a new one, frankly. It looked like we could be in for an interesting week when Justin Thomas hit the front on Saturday, closely followed by Phil. But who can begrudge watching the Northern Irishman in form like that, it really is a thing of beauty. Thankfully, he leaves America alone this week. Sadly, he’s now over in England for the BMW PGA…

So what’s this week all about? It’s always a great indicator to look at previous winners when you first look at tournaments. Zach Johnson, Stricker, Weekley, Toms, Scott. Tee to green you know exactly what you’re getting with these guys. Colonial is held in such high regard because it’s a thinking mans course. Rarely will you see this course torn apart like some of the tracks we see earlier in the season.

Courtesy of crowneplazainvitational

Courtesy of crowneplazainvitational

Don’t worry about distance off the tee for this one, it’s all about accuracy. If you can put it in the right spots leaving good yardage and angles, you’ll do well. The tournament will be won and lost tee to green.

Another thing we always look for when betting at Colonial is a solid wedge game. Anything below 150yards needs to be scaring the flag. Just think about how good Zach Johnson is with his short irons – there’s a reason he has 2 wins and 3 top 10’s in his last 6 starts here.

And then geography. Texans have a real knack of playing well in their home state. And then some people just love it in Texas, take Adam Scott as a prime example who completed the ‘Texas Grand Slam’ last year.

DON’T FORGET – Our weekly competition with renowned magazine Golf Monthly continues, take a peak at the end of our selections to see how our stakes have been distributed this time.

TwitterYou can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!

Paul Casey 33/1

We're in awe of this photo

We’re in awe of this photo

 

We’ve been big backers of Paul Casey over the past year or so, mainly because we know he has the potential to be a top 10 player in the world and on his day can outclass any course.

His well-documented problems seem to be behind him now and he’s plying his trade on the PGA Tour which shows where he’s at mentally. And that brings us nicely to our first point – the flagship European Tour event is taking place across the pond in his homeland and you’d think he would be keen to play – especially with it being a track he’s won on before.

However the fact he’s staying in the States says a lot and to us means he is really confident he can do a job this week.

He has played at Colonial a few times missing the cut last year, but in 2010 he finished T13 and in 09’ 5th. So that proves he suits the track and on paper, he really, really does.

A powerful tee to green player, who can be lethal when he’s accurate – 25th total driving, 15th GIR and 53rd for proximity to hole.

His form has also been fairly impressive – yes he withdrew at The Players because of the illness that carried over from the WGC.

But at that Matchplay he only lost in a sudden death playoff to McIlroy and then T6 at The Masters and 9th at the Shell Houston. Basically he’s in good nick and in a pretty poor field could show his true worth.

Brendon Todd 50/1

Pointing at his forthcoming trophy...

Pointing at his forthcoming trophy… 

Brendon Todd will be turning 30 in a couple of months and entering the prime of his career. He’s shown recently that he bags of potential and will consider 2014 as a sort of breakthrough year or, maybe more accurately, a coming-of-age year.

He got his first PGA Tour win at the Byron Nelson Championship last year – another Texan event – and even with an inconsistent start to 2015, he is still a top player in this field to be found at 50s.

An opening round 68 at The Players showed us something and although he went on to be pretty mediocre, he should take confidence from that. Outright 4th at the RBC Heritage where he shot a mightily impressive 63 on moving day to propel him right up the leaderboard.

If he can put 4 rounds together he will challenge, especially with the game he has for Colonial – 14th driving accuracy, 94th GIR, 24th proximity to hole, 22nd strokes gained putting.

He also finished T5 last year, which shows he has experience and know-how around this track. An interesting prospect.

John Senden 66/1

No John, your putts will be less distance than that

No John, your putts will be less distance than that

John Senden is very much entering the twilight years of his career and is showing some top form to finish what’s been a relatively average career – especially considering his ability.

The likes of Steve Stricker and Miguel Angel Jimenez have shown you can achieve great things with age, so there’s definitely still time for the Aussie.

A win at the Valspar last year started a great run of form for Senden and until his last couple of outings, he hadn’t continued that over to this season. 

However a top performance at the WGC Match Pay opened our eyes to his potential abilities. He got all the way to Saturday, earning a T5 finish and at times he was simply sumptuous with his irons, sticking it next to the flag giving his opponent little hope. To beat Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan comfortably is no mean feat.

And then he went on to The Players where he showed even more class to come in a tie for 8th. His putting has been letting him down undoubtedly but crucially he was T4 for putting average across the week and that should really make you intrigued by his prospects. Because, add that to 56th driving accuracy and 59th GIR, plus two top 10 outings on this track, you’re left with a genuine mid-ranger here.

Boo Weekley (80/1 BetVictor)

Boo and his fish

Boo and his fish

Everyone’s favourite fisherman golfer. If there is such a thing… Boo Weekley is one of the finest iron players when his game is on and you can’t help but be at least interested in his chances on courses like this.

He is a former winner here, having lifted the trophy back in 2013 and that says it all really.

Plus he is starting to come back into a little bit of form having finished solo 3rd at the Zurich Classic and T16 at the Wells Fargo last week.

He hit a couple of rounds in the mid 60’s and that shows he is nearly on it. And that fact he was 16th for putting average at the Wells Fargo really makes us excited by his prospects because if his short stick is hot, he WILL contend.

Rory Sabbatini (125/1 Coral)

The wonderfully bizarre Rory Sabbatini.

The wonderfully bizarre Rory Sabbatini.

 

Rory Sabbatini is yet another play you’d happily trust with an iron. And he is also a former winner here having been champion in 2007. The South African has all the attributes required to do well on this track and we all got a real glimpse of his top abilities at The Players a couple of weeks back.

To finish T6 in pretty much a major-standard field is no mean feat and to shoot -9 on a tough track shows where he’s at with his game at the moment.

85th for driving accuracy and 38th for GIR show that he’s got the class tee to green, whilst he was actually 21st for putting average at The Players which should give him great confidence going onto a course he has done so well at before.

Jason Bohn (150/1 various)

There seems to be a slight theme running this week but Jason Bohn is another entering the twilight years of his career and has been showing promise in recent times.

A near win at the back end of last year followed by some mediocre outings before a T9 last week.

Three rounds in the 60’s to close should give anyone confidence and we are just too intrigued by his chances at such high odds not to get involved.

Because tee to green his stats are outrageous – 8th driving accuracy, 13th GIR and 6th proximity to the hole. That says it all really!

He’s had several top 25 finishes but never properly challenged on this layout, but you never know and at 150/1 it’s definitely worth it!

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

£2.10 e/w on Paul Casey at 28/1

£1.00 e/w on Brendon Todd at 45/1

£1.00 e/w on John Senden at 50/1

£0.50 e/w on Boo Weekley  at 66/1

£0.40 e/w on Rory Sabbatini at 100/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 18 weeks

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-68.70                  European Tour:  £-78.12

PGA Tour: £-15.94                           PGA Tour: £33.75

Total: £-84.64                                   Total: £-44.37

Golf Monthly leads by: £40.27

BMW PGA Championship 2015

BMWPrize Fund – €5,000,000

Winner’s Share – €791,660

Course – Wentworth Club (7,302 yards par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Francesco Molinari (T7), Jamie Donaldson (T30), Anders Hansen (T30), Danny Willett (T63), Richie Ramsey (T38)

After a wonderful return to European soil last week in Spain, the Tour now heads to it’s flagship event – the BMW PGA Championship in the UK. No denying there has been some incredible golf so far this season – it really is hotting up, but every year you get that same feeling for this event.  The summer truly starts here.

The field often attracts some of the very best and this year is absolutely no different. There are a few omissions – Ian Poulter being one, but the on fire world number one Rory Mcilroy, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Jamie Donaldson and Graeme McDowell are flying the European flag, whilst the likes of Brooks Koepka have returned to British lands, just to make it that little bit more exciting.

Courtesy of Wentworth Club

Courtesy of Wentworth Club

As it has been since 1982, the weeks play will be at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey. It’s the headquarters of the PGA European Tour and is full of history and prestige. At 7,308 yards, the par 72 will examine the players in various ways, testing every facet of their games. The view off most tees is the same – tight, tree-lined fairways, which makes driving highly important.  If you are straight and relatively long, you can position yourself to attack the pins and fight for your birdies.  The greens are notoriously difficult to read and you will expect top iron players to be challenging for the titles.

Not necessarily plotters, but certainly those that have the ability to strategize their way round at least. Interestingly as well, every winner since 2005 has had a top ten here before their victory, so course form is clearly important.

DON’T FORGET – Our weekly competition with renowned magazine Golf Monthly continues, take a peak at the end of our selections to see how our stakes have been distributed this time. TwitterYou can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!

Jamie Donaldson (33/1 William Hill)

Courtesy of Titleist

Courtesy of Titleist

Not often you say that a 39 year old is coming into his own and playing the best stuff of his career, but the Welshman quite simply is. Not only has he conquered Europe to an extent, he’s gone over to America and performed more than admirably there too. The way that he has been playing the golf he has across the pond is worth its weight in gold confidence-wise.

He comes here with the requisite top 10 at Wentworth, two of them in fact in ’11 and ’05, but more importantly he comes here in form. His T8 at the PLAYERS was sign once again that he produces his best stuff on the big stage, dare we remind you of the Ryder Cup. It was only Donaldson’s second appearance at Sawgrass and his stats alone did the talking – T16 driving accuracy, T16 GIR and 31st putting. Let’s face it, the BMW PGA is a huge event for most Brits and Jamie has all the tools to go and win this.

Danny Willettt (50/1 William Hill)

Has everything in his locker for this sort of track

Has everything in his locker for this sort of track

In terms of value and confidence, this is our bet of the week without doubt. Just like Donaldson in many respects, the Englishman has taken it to a different level this season.

In America, he played his first PGA Tour event outside of WGC’s and majors at the Arnold Palmer, finished T29. Played at the Cadillac Championship for the first time, finished T12. Played around Augusta for the first time, finished T38. And then most impressive of all, played at the WGC Match-play for the first time, finished 3rd! Over in Europe, he won his first event of the campaign at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, by 4 shots. So it’s been some season and when you look at his form considering the tournaments he’s been in you can’t help but be impressed.

Danny has openly admitted he’s looking to become full time in America so he will only playing events in Europe that he cares about. This is one. Has a best of 5th on his first time around here in 2010 and we all know the trends regarding Englishmen winning here.

Miguel Angel Jimenez (70/1 Stan James)

Yes he’s 51 and yes he’s eligible for the Champions Tour but the Spaniard is defying all the odds and still performing at the highest level and we think he’ll continue that this week.

Wentworth is a thinking man’s course and nobody thinks more than Miguel. His record here speaks for itself over the last 10 years – 4 tops 10’s and a victory. You don’t have to be the longest or the strongest to win around here. Us more than anyone at times have been surprised to see Jimenez consistently challenge in events over these past couple of years but his performance in Barcelona last week made us sit up and realise he could carry that on to Wentworth. All facets of his game were working, as he ranked 21st driving accuracy, 22nd GIR and 6th putts per GIR.

Not to mention the fact he finished 2nd in his home event while recording a hole-in-one. It’s going to take a big character to win around Wentworth this week with record crowds expected and characters don’t get much better than MAJ.

David Howell (50/1 Stan James)

Loves it here

Loves it here

The Englishman is a case where we just have to go there all things considered. Like Willett, we think there’s huge value in this one and we’ll tell you why. His last 3 European events read – 2nd Open de Espana, 2nd Volvo China Open, 4th Shenzhen International. Besides Rory, Justin and perhaps George Coetzee, that is comfortably the best form you will find this week.

Then you look at Wentworth and you look at what Howell is all about, they’re a match made in heaven. Good old fashioned English ironplay, there’s not many better when he’s hot. His win here in 2006 proves his suitability for the track. And then you just have to look at the trends. Englishman, and in particular southerners, love it here. You only have to look at Simon Khan, who elsewhere in Europe can’t really buy a big finish over the last few years, has consistently turned up at Wentworth – two 2nd’s and a win.

Padraig Harrington (125/1 Stan James) INJURY DOUBT

Knows how to win

Knows how to win

At this price, why not? Over at the Honda Classic, a pretty big event for the PGA Tour, we witnessed the Irishman’s rebirth. He beat young star Daniel Berger on the 2nd hole of a play-off, sticking it to 6 feet on what was meant to be a tough par 3. If you looked at any PGA Tour champ from this season and they came over to Europe, they would be nowhere near the odds Padraig finds himself at. It’s value.

We love backing a guy with confidence and with this his first European event of the year after his American success, he will be brimming with it. His record here isn’t shabby either, you can see why he’s got a flight over. 6th,6th and 11th are 3 of his finishes in his last 6 starts at Wentworth. And then despite not featuring at the PLAYERS whatsoever, looking at his stats from Sawgrass you can see glimpses that he’s still right at the top of his game – T16 driving accuracy and 2nd GIR. From that we can gleam the putter just wasn’t working but he knows these greens and he’s one of those players that when he contends, the putts just seem to drop.

Recommended replacement: Joost Luiten (66/1 Various)

Outsider

Soren Kjeldsen (200/1 Various)

We’re going to be chucking a few pounds at the Dane this week. He’s played in every one of these events since 1999 and has a 3 top 10’s to his name and a best of 3rd in 2009. It’s fair to say the last couple of season’s have not been the kindest to him but the last month or so have shown he could be getting back to his best. He followed up a 14th at the Trophee Hassan with a T9 last week in Spain. For the week he ranked 2nd GIR which certainly excites us, that’s exactly what Soren does. His ironplay is a joy at times and to see him striking it that well at these odds is worth money every day of the week. And not just that, his game is a perfect fit for Wentworth.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out. It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

£2.00 e/w on Jamie Donaldson at 30/1

£1.50 e/w on Danny Willett at 40/1

£0.50 e/w on Miguel Angel Jimenez at 50/1

£1.00 e/w on David Howell at 40/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 18 weeks

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-68.70                  European Tour:  £-78.12

PGA Tour: £-15.94                           PGA Tour: £33.75

Total: £-84.64                                   Total: £-44.37

Golf Monthly leads by: £40.27

Wells Fargo & Open De Espana 2015

No previews this week due to work commitments. Normal service will resume next week!

552px-Singapore_Road_Signs_-_Restrictive_Sign_-_No_Parking

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Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10(s) against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

Open De Espana

£10win on Sergio Garcia at 5/1

Wells Fargo

£3.00 e/w on Phil Mickelson at 20/1

£1.50 e/w on Justin Thomas at 40/1

£0.50 e/w on Lucas Glover at 125/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 17 weeks

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-58.70                  European Tour:  £-68.12

PGA Tour: £-23.94                           PGA Tour: £43.75

Total: £-82.64                                   Total: £-24.37

Golf Monthly leads by: £58.27

The Players Championship 2015

PLAYERS-LogoPrize Fund – $10,000,000

Winner’s Share – $1,800,000

Course – TPC Sawgrass (Par 72, 7215 yards)

After 5 days of unadulterated madness at the WGC Match Play, we now move on to another star-studded line-up for the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

The Players Championship has long been considered the ‘5th major’ and will always attract the very best players and this year is no different.

Rory McIlroy heads the betting alongside Jordan Spieth, but the fact he’s just played 7 rounds in 5 days makes him definitely un-backable, even if you fancied the 7/1 on offer.

We do feel the same can be said of all 5 of the guys that made it through to Sunday because it’s just a lot of golf to play both mentally and physically.

Especially because the Players is so prestigious and TPC Sawgrass is such a tough challenge in itself. It’s hosted the event since 1982, with Pete Dye designing a track specifically for this tournament and it requires a level-headed tee-to-green performance.

The Par 72 is not particularly long at 7,215 yards but possesses some of the smaller and tougher greens to hit on Tour. Total diving, ball striking and top scrambling will be requirements for anyone wanting to challenge, whilst historically, scoring on par 5’s has been an important factor.

It’s also absolutely vital to have course experience and knowledge of the track and it’s tough layout. 9 of the last 11 winners had a top 20 finish here before their victory. You will rarely see anyone you wouldn’t consider a ‘top player’ come here and win either, so you are essentially looking for someone with pedigree and some sort of form.

But as we said earlier, it’s probably best to avoid the guys that made it to Sunday at the WGC and instead look at those who may have been knocked out early but still showed some form.

Louis Oosthuizen (50/1 various)

He does like trophies, don't forget that! -Photo Courtesy of Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

He does like trophies, don’t forget that! -Photo Courtesy of Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Now we know we mentioned how important course form is here and there’s no denying that Louis Oosthuizen is lacking in that department. Four starts with three missed cuts, but he does fit the trends theoretically because he has one finish inside the top 20…

The main reason we like the South African this week is simply because of how he’s performing at the moment. He finally seems to be over his bout of injuries, playing regular golf and recording good finishes.

In his last 8 starts he’s missed the cut twice but found top 20’s in his other 6 outings. That includes 4 top 10’s. We were super impressed with his outing at the Match play last week – confirming to us fully that he’s in good knick. Yes, he lost to Jimbo Furyk in the Quarters but he beat Bubba in a playoff, Rickie Fowler and destroyed Keegan Bradley. Across his four rounds (the victories) he would have been -18 in strokeplay, which just proves how many birdies and pars he was able to find.

That includes just one bogey and you have to feel slightly excited by that. Plus in the stats department he is 46th for ball striking, 9th for GIR and 15th in par 5 birdie or better.

At 50’s you’d be silly not to get involved.

Phil Mickelson (40/1 various) 

Phil getting those fists pumping.  Come on! Phot Courtesy of USA Sports Today

Phil getting those fists pumping. Come on!
Phot Courtesy of USA Sports Today

Oh Phil. We couldn’t help it at 40s. It’s probably slightly ludicrous, but theoretically his last outing was a T2 at The Masters, so in our eyes, he’s found his mojo again.

As usual he pulled out of the Match Play which just makes us think he’s as fresh as a daisy, raring to add another big title to his legendary CV.

In all honesty if you actually look at his form line, it isn’t that bad. 5 outings and a worst finish of T31 proves that he’s nearly there and we cant help but get excited at him plugging away on the Sawgrass track.

He obviously won here back in 2007, so he knows everything there is to know about the course and we all know what he’s about tee to green.

Yes wild at times, but there are few better scramblers or par 5 players in the game, full stop.

Too intriguing at 40’s.

Adam Scott (45/1 Coral) 

Long putter or short putter?

Long putter or short putter?

Another top player at very interesting prices and someone that would command half the odds if he was playing at the top of his game.

Adam Scott is not in the sort of form that we’re used to and that’s why he’s drifted. But actually sit down and look at his results and you’d be a fool not to back him at 45/1.

5 outings in strokeplay this season, missing only 1 cut and recording 2 top 12 finishes. He was T4 at the WGC Cadillac earlier in the season and he did go into the weekend at The Masters with a slight sniff of challenging.

Whilst that obviously didn’t work out and he dropped back to T38, it still shows that his game isn’t as bad as what the bookies are making it seem.

He did lose 3 on the bounce at the Match Play, however barring a hideous stretch on the back nine against Paul Casey, his scoring was by no means horrific.

But you’ve also got to look at his history here. He won the event back in 2004 and has recorded 2 other top 10’s, whilst he’s only missed 2 cuts in 12 outings.

His abilities clearly suits the demands when it’s in full swing – a cracking all-round driver with a top iron game, the Aussie needs to pull together and really kick start his season.

Rickie Fowler (60/1 Coral)

Focused - courtesy of golfweek

Focused – courtesy of golfweek

And so the theme continues. Another top, top player at odds we simply couldn’t resist.

It’s remarkable that the market has been pushed out compared to The Masters but it’s most likely because of the top 3 and their clearly impressive form (McIlroy, Spieth and Rose.)

But still, Rickie Fowler at 60/1 is something we simply cannot ignore.

His calendar year has obviously not gone the way it should have, but we’ve seen progressive signs in recent outings to suggest he’s close to showing the form that propelled him to new heights last year.

Mainly he seems to enjoy the truly big tournaments at the moment. Obviously we all know his performances at the Majors in 2014, but even the 3 big ones so far this season – The WGC HSBC he finished T3, T12 at The Masters and a round of 16 berth last week.

Now obviously this is the flagship PGA Tour event and when you think he’s recorded a 2nd here back in 2012, you can’t help but get excited at his prospects.

He’s a top driver of the ball and a par 5 specialist and a proven scrambler. Much like Scott, this is the sort of event that can really kick start the year for Fowler.

Ryan Palmer (100/1 BetVictor) 

Ryan Palmer has every chance here. Courtesy of Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

Ryan Palmer has every chance here.
Courtesy of Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

You will often find us backing Ryan Palmer at these sort of events. Why? Because we know that he’s on the verge of something really special. His talent has proven it over the past 18 months and it’s just a matter of time.

So, at 3-figure odds, once again, we’re lumping on the American.

He’s had a whole host of missed cuts here, but there’s a cheeky T5 finish in 2013 that proves to us his game can suit the challenge, it’s just a case of whether he turns up or not.

Now, we do feel he’s putting in more regular performances and should thrive off that confidence. One missed cut all year, 8 top 25 finishes, including 4 top 10s and he played well at Augusta, on the whole, for his T33.

He is 52nd for total driving, T36 for ball striking, 45th for GIR, 52nd for scrambling and T20 in par 5 birdie or better. If that doesn’t make you want to back him, we don’t know what will.

Webb Simpson (125/1 Coral)

Lucky fella.

Lucky fella.

Webb Simpson is arguably in the same category as Palmer for us. The main difference being he’s already a Major champion. However, we still feel there’s more to come from such a consistent tee to green player.

His distances off the tee have been improving rapidly over recent years and the fact he’s 18th in total driving proves that. He has that potent mix of strength and accuracy which should suit Sawgrass perfectly.

So why his best finish is T15 is beyond us, but again, that still fits the trends in terms of a top 20…

As for his form, he’s shown glimpses without truly putting a 4-round performance in. Last week he faced an inspired Gary Woodland in his 3rd match, but before that beat the much fancied duo of Ian Poulter and Jimmy Walker.

That shows he isn’t a million miles away.

7th in ball striking, 14th for GIR, 32nd scrambling and 2nd for par 5 birdie or better add to the appeal and we can’t argue with his 125/1 price.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

£1.00 e/w on Louis Oosthuizen at 50/1

£1.25 e/w on Phil Mickelson at 40/1

£1.25 e/w on Adam Scott at 35/1

£1.00 e/w on Rickie Fowler at 50/1

£0.50 e/w on Ryan Palmer at 90/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Whilst we are not doing a preview for the Mauritius Open, we do have a staking plan in the betting challenge as follows –

£1.25 e/w on Prom Meesawat at 40/1

£1.25 e/w on Eduardo De La Riva at 50/1

£1.25 e/w on Justin Walters at 66/1

£1.25 e/w on Victor Riu at 66/1

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 16 weeks (and it makes for horrible reading…)

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-48.70               European Tour:  £-63.75

PGA Tour: £-78.44                           PGA Tour: £48.75

Total: £-127.14                                   Total: £-5.00

Golf Monthly leads by: £112.14

WGC Cadillac Match Play 2015

PrintPrize Fund – $9,250,000

Winner’s Share – $1,530,000

Course – TPC Harding Park (7,169 par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Sergio Garcia (9), Jordan Spieth (5), Jason Day (WIN), Hunter Mahan (9)

NEW FORMAT FOR 2015

The top 64 players are ready to do battle in this year’s WGC Match Play but with a new structure. Given the early exit of the likes of Tiger and Rory in recent years, sponsors and TV companies have naturally kicked up a fuss. So how’s it working?

– 64 players

– 16 groups of 4 players (with 1 top 16 player in OWGR in each)

– 1 player from each pool will go into each group

– POOL 1 (Players seeded 17-32) POOL 2 (Players seeded 33-48) POOL 3 – (Players seeded 49-64)

– Round robin matches Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

– The 16 winners from the groups go into single-elimination match play, like the old format

– Semi-finals and final played out on Sunday

NEW COURSE

TPC Harding Park - Courtesy of Golf Digest

TPC Harding Park – Courtesy of Golf Digest

TPC Harding Park plays host to this year’s event which has hosted the WGC Cadillac stroke play back in 2005 and the President’s Cup in 2009. Tiger won in ’05 and was 5 for 5 in the President’s too…

With penal rough and a very protected tree-lined front nine, this parkland track has all sorts of obstacles for the players to contend with.

The second nine runs alongside a lake, which looks great on the eye and in many respects opens up for some potential freedom, but what it really means is a lot more wind.

The back nine could be such an intriguing proposition, when the heat of gargantuan battle is well and truly alive and the wind howls to make it even more fascinating.

After hosting the WGC back in 05′, both Tiger and Phil said the track seemed to play long, belying it’s short yardage.  The ball doesn’t travel as far at sea level and with potential strong winds, low, powerful ball flight could really be a key.

But it’s still clear how important it will be to keep the ball in play.  Having the chance to calculate when to attack pins and when to control your irons is everything in matchplay.  It’s not you against the field, it’s you against one other, so it really is vital that your not hacking out the thick stuff all the time.

BETTING

As for betting, well it is completely wide open.  The most important thing to do, is to look at the draw and work out in your mind as rationally as possible who you think could go through the groups and what that means in terms of who’ll be playing who.

The groups - courtesy of Golf Channel

The groups – courtesy of Golf Channel

By far and away the most intriguing ‘section’ of the draw odds wise is the lower half – groups 4, 5, 12 and 13.

Furyk, Kaymer, Jiadee and Coetzee make up the ‘5th’ group and you cannot see the winner honestly coming out of there with Jimbo’s inconsistent short game, but Kaymer should theoretically progress if you were looking at it logically.  The German would then go on to play the winner of the ’12th’ group – one of JB Holmes, Koepka, Henley and Warren.  A tough one to call between the top 3 on paper, but Koepka and Holmes have the most appeal.  For us, Koepka might just edge it.

So, and we mean this very hypothetically, one of Kaymer or Koepka could be battling it out in the quarters – lets say Kaymer knicks it.  And the opponent there?

The ‘4th’ group containts Bubba, Oosthuizen, Bradley and Jimenez.  Honestly cannot see Bubba doing well here, Jimenez may not be able to compete with the other 3 which leaves Louis and Bradley.  Both are touch and go form wise and with the putter, but Keegan may just sneak it.  He would then play one of Fowler, McDowell, Lowry and English.  Only Fowler knows if he will turn up or not, whilst Gmac is a solid Matchplay bet.  Say we then have Bradley vs Gmac, Gmac grinds it out and gets to the quarters.

That then leaves you – again must stress how hyperthetical all this is, we are just trying to suggest how important it is to look at this part of the draw!! –  with Kaymer Vs Gmac for a place in the semis.

Whereas the other sections – if sponsors, crowds and tournament organisers get their way, whilst the form book runs true ten you could be seeing –

1 McIlroy Vs Matsuyama in the Round of 16

Scott Vs DJ in the Round of 16

2 Spieth Vs Reed in the Round of 16

Garcia Vs Day in the Round of 16

3 Rose Vs Walker/Poulter in the Round of 16

Kuchar Vs Stenson in the Round of 16

(The numbers indicate that specific section.  The winner of those sections will then go onto play each other in the next round, i.e McIlroy Vs Scott)

Now, some of them are ridiculous to call.

We will be making a few long-term bets for the overall, but it will take a lot more time for us to really be sure and most of our money will be going on accumulators and in-play.

But what we do know is that Ian Poultar and Paul Casey at 40/1 do intrigue and may be worth a cheeky punt for now.  Plus Gmac at 60s….

Paul Casey (40/1 various) 

Paul.

Paul.

If you were thinking of an Englishman with superhuman Match Play powers, you would most likely be drawn to Ian Poulter. And too right as well.

But Paul Casey is another fighter from the same isles with a very impressive record in this format.

His record reads – 26-19-2.  Now that is ridiculous!

He has been in the wilderness for so long, but we’re all seeing a steady climb back to the summit of the game and he could definitely have a say in what happens this week.

Challenging far in this competition will really cement his return, especially after a truly valiant effort at The Masters. His draw is intriguing as he will have to overcome former number one Adam Scott and iron guru Chris Kirk, as well as Francesco Molinari.

We can see him out-battling Kirk and Molinari, but obviously a lot of it will depend on how he performs against the Aussie. We aren’t sure which putter Scott will be bringing, but we feel the confusion on the greens could mean a door opening for Casey to march through to the next round.

He would then go onto play someone from group 8 consisting of DJ, Dubuisson, Schwartzel and Matt Jones. Obviously Dubuisson has shown a liking for this format, but not sure he’s in the right form whilst DJ doesn’t look like he’d fit this track. If you get through that, then anything is possible…

Ian Poulter (40/1 various)

Sir Ian.

Sir Ian.

Yes, we’ve gone there. Why not?!

Poults is in some pretty impressive form at the moment and is one of a few to have actually played this track several years ago. He will know a bit more about it and because he finished T20, he’ll be able to draw on his experiences to help push him forward.

His Match Play record is obviously well-known and you can’t help but think whoever he plays will automatically feel slight fear on the 1st tee. He’ll use that to his advantage and battle through.

His draw is interesting – Walker, Simpson and Woodland. The latter is out of form and doesn’t suit, but the former two are going to be tough opposition. If he can get through it could mean a showdown with Justin Rose, but that’s unlikely considering his recent exploits.

Worth a punt surely?!

Hideki Matsuyama (33/1 various)

MatsuyamaWithout doubt worth a punt. Matsuyama was very impressive in the Presidents Cup a few years back, where Adam Scott even mentioned how talented the youngster is.

He played ridiculously well at the weekend at Augusta as well, once again proving his pedigree at big tournaments. He is regularly showing why he’s a big player for big events.

And his game really suits this format – he will hit the ball long and straight and often attack pins with consistent ease, making him a tough opponent.

His draw is intriguing too – Can see him easily getting out his group of Kevin Na, Joost Luiten and Alexander Levy where he could then play McIlroy.   But with the world number one booked in to see Mayweather Vs Pacqiauo on his birthday weekend, do you really think the WGC will be top of his priorities? Will he want to fly back on Saturday night after the fight?

Well, would you?!

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly.  It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters!  We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.

It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets.  Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.

Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows  –

£1.50 e/w on Ian Poulter at 33/1

£1.50 e/w on Paul Casey at 33/1

£1.00 e/w on Hideki Matsuyama at 30/1

Last 2 bets with Stan James for group win accumulators

£1.00 WIN – Spieth, Day, Matsuyama, Reed, Stenson at 50/1

£1.00 WIN – Spieth, Day, Reed, Stenson, Poulter, Casey at 204/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 4 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)

Current Standings after 15 weeks (and it makes for horrible reading…)

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-48.70               European Tour:  £-63.75

PGA Tour: £-68.44                           PGA Tour: £58.75

Total: £-117.14                                   Total: £5.00

Golf Monthly leads by: £112.14