Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village - 2013

Welcome to The Memorial Tournament....well maybe it's better if you have your host, Jack Nicklaus, welcome you to this quality tournament that Tiger Woods has won 5 times in the past here.
  This is a big one this week on the PGA Tour! Just 2 weeks now to the 2nd Major of the year, so alot of the top players are in action at "Jack's Place", Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.  Tiger is everyone's favourite and is as low as 9/4 to win this week. Will he though ? He should but, of course, I want value elsewhere. So whilst I have a "gut feeling" that Tiger won't win this week, I won't be approaching it with that in mind. There is great value taking Tiger out of the equation so all selections in the betting w/o Tiger market.

I like Kevin Streelman this week, possibly influenced by price too. 55/1 w/o Tiger with BET365 is very tempting dspite missing the cut last week. 11/15 this season with 5 TOP5s, the missed cut arrived off the back of 2-6-3 finishes. That 2nd was to Tiger at The Players. That repeated here will do very nice indeed. His form is too good to ignore on the back of last week, he will be rested and re-focussed. he was T7th here in 2011 too.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Nordea Masters - 2013

 A somewhat surprising conclusion to the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday eventually produced a popular winner in Matteo Mannesero, who was on my shortlist but omitted from the final staking plan (AGAIN!!).  Alex Noren was tipped to go well at Wentworth but never got into it and had to settle for T32nd in the end. I am a little surprised that he heads the betting for this week's event in his homeland for the Nordea Masters, but perhaps thats on the back of the fact that it is in Sweden and that he shot that stunning 63, 2 years ago in the 3rd round to open up an 11 shot lead going into Sunday. No doubting the course form is there, I like Alex a lot, but I cannot back him this week at 16s.With the US Open fast approaching, Alex has not qualified and missed out at Walton Heath by a couple of shots so there is a little bit of pressure to go well here. I just fancy a couple of others at better prices who could get the job done in what is a fairly decent field, albeit a competitive one at least. (Alex is now free from my shackles to go and win!)

Jamie Donaldson heads my selections this week. He has decent form at Bro Hof  Slott GC, with 22-10-8 the results over the last 3 years. The reigning Irish Open champion will be keen to hone his game before heading back Stateside for the US Open in a couple of weeks before jetting back to defend his title at Carton House. Bro Hof suits his game as his results show and with the American adventure on hold for the time being, a European  event maybe just what he needs to kick start his season again. He's simply too big at 50/1 with Paddypower

My second selection is Paul Casey @ 50/1 with Betpack. Paul has been showing signs lately that he is about to put together a challenge for one of these events and on the back of qualifying at Walton Heath for The US Open, he will head to Sweden in confident mood following a missed cut at Wentworth. 2 TOP 20s and a TOP 10 in China make up for that this season and I'd like to be on him at 50s when he does click and he wont fear anyone this week. A good performance here will end any memories of his dislocated shoulder injury as he continues to make his comeback.

The third pick is Mikko Ilonen, who has been in excellent form of late and arrives at this one at the right time because of it. A former winner of this event (1 of his 2 wins), when known as The Scandanavian Masters in 2007, the Finn has backed up his event form by finishing T3rd last year on this course. His 2013 form is excellent with cuts made in 6/9 events, including 3 TOP 10s. He has also backed these up with a further 2 TOP20s including 12th at Wentworth. He took one shot too many at Walton Heath to miss out on the playoff, so he will be all out to win here if he wants to get to Merion. Former winner, in excellent current and course form, the 40/1 with is again too big to ignore.

I'm also having a small stake on Swedish player Kristoffer Broberg who seems to have gone quiet since joining the big boys on tour. No doubting his talent, this event may be just what he needs to get some confidence and form back. Has 2 TOP30s to his credit here when playing on the Challenge Tour so knows how to get around this place and I'm drawn to the 140/1 with Bet365.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w J.Donaldson @ 50/1 Paddypower

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w P.Casey @ 50/1 Betpack

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w M.Ilonen @ 40/1

TIP 4: 0.5 pts e/w K.Broberg @ 140/1 Bet365

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth - 2013

 The Europeantour hits the UK this week for the first time this season for its showcase event, the PGA Championship. Its a top, top quality field too with all the European "defectors" to the US PGA Tour returning for a crack at one of the elite titles and a decent purse. I have often said on this blog that Luke Donald doesn't win enough for me but that's not the case here as he goes for 3-in-a-row. He was also 2nd in 2010, so its obvious he loves this course and the bookies agree that he is the man to beat at 8/1. I've been looking at this pric sinc early Monday morning hoping it would go out but there does seem to be some support for him. Wentworth is a course that will suit Lee Westwood but he's a bit short this week. He does seem to be in good form since arriving back in the UK. His horse won a race in Windsor last night and he even took to twitter to tip up Ireland to win the Eurovision on Saturday night! (Thank God, he plays golf better than he can pick a singing contest winner). A fan of Lee's I maybe but this week there is one player at the head of the betting that I really do like and thats Rory McIlroy. His game is gradually beginning to click and from tee to green, Wentworth will be to his liking. 11/1 with Paddypower is decent for me and he heads my staking plan this week for a win bet. Rory may have his issues off the course at the moment with news that he is to leave his management company, Horizon, but perhaps that is what is required for Rory to kick on.
The one thing that I am looking forward to this week is proper golf coverage on my TV. Don't let me down now Sky, but watching the PGA Tour the past few weeks has been quite frustrating, with limited player viewing. A lot of people would love to see a SKY dedicated golf channel in the UK & Ireland, myself included, but with the tour hopping around the world and buying rights for the PGA proving costly, that may be a bit too far off for our liking. That said, the tourney is in England this week, its a big event so I'm looking forward to seeing a proper golf viewing tournament this week. Its also another reason why I'm skipping the Colonial from my staking plan this week. The blog has not had much luck on that tour despite being well in contention going into the final round almost every week, but the TV viewing adds salt to the wounds.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Byron Nelson Championship - 2013

Back to Texas this week for the Byron Nelson Championship where a very competitive field yet again tees it up on the Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas. I missed out on a good payout last week when I opted for Zach Johnson over Kevin Streelman at the Masters despite his recent form, preferring experience of Sawgrass over that current form. Lesson learned? Maybe adjust the staking plan accordingly to allow room for "the toss of coin" choice. I hope I have achieved that lesson learned by deciding to leave the Volvo Matchplay alone, only backing two in Madeira, and completing the plan with real contenders here. Its a par 70 course where wind will act as its best defense this week. One of the staggering statistics from this event is,that the past 30 years has produced 30 different winners! Its not the reason though that I strike both Keegan Bradley & Jason Dufner off my original shortlist. I just feel there is good value elsewhere.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Madeira Islands Open - 2013

Undoubtedly the weakest field on the European Tour assembles for an event that also incorporates the Challenge Tour on the Madeira Islands in Portugal, where local boy, Ricardo Santos, hopes to defend his title. The event is being played on the Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra and will see eight former champions tee it up. Whilst this event is being staged for a paltry purse of €600k, Volvo are staging the World Matchplay Championship in Bulgaria in groups of 3 where the 24 players will contest for the €3M purse on offer. I wont be having a bet on it with no course knowledge to go on but having had a quick research it does look "linksy" and similar to courses that will suit the Irish & British players.  Shane Lowry was my fancy and I may still get involved pending the draw.

Onto Madeira though and I've opted for two of the more experienced guys to prevail. Damien McGrane has shown some improved form the past couple of months and will relish playing here this week as he has shown a real liking to playing in the Iberian Penisula in the past and almost won this event a few years back. He comes into the week off the back of two solid results in Korea and China (T40-T29) and competes in a much weaker field than usual. He has the head to get the job done and I expect him to go really well. He's generally available @ 50/1.

My second and final pick here is Scotsman, Peter Whiteford @ 50/1 also. It hasn't been the best of seasons so far but he did finish 2nd to Brett Rumford in Korea last month and but for a final round 78 in China he could easily have recorded a top20. I love this player's swing and if he finds his tempo early he may be encouraged to go on and finally win on Tour to back up the excellent Challnge Tour career that he did have. Last week at the Players at Sawgrass I opted to back Zach Johnson over Kevin Streelman and stated so in my preview only to see 80/1 shot, Streelman finish 2nd to Tiger ! I'm hoping the same thing doesn't happen this week with Whiteford chosen ahead of Graeme Storm @100/1. The Englishman should be competing well in these fields but is too inconsistent for my liking....but I may include in the plan pending my final weekly staking plan to include the Byron Nelson Championship so keep an eye out on twitter (@birdieclubtips) if i do decide to include him

TIP1: 1 pt e/w Damien McGrane @ 50/1 Betpack
TIP 2: 1 pt e/w Peter Whiteford @ 50/1 Betpack new customers click here

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Players Championship - TPC Sawgrass 2013

There is no event on the European Tour this week but it would be hard to compete with the richest tournament in golf taking place in Florida!  The $9.5 M event being held at TPC Sawgrass sees the World's best players tee it up tomorrow, obviously enticed by the huge purse that is really lacking in Europe this season. The course is called The Stadium course, appropriately named as this will be a popular event with the fans. (I suspect Betfair will echo same come Sunday). Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are both playing and head the betting but I really cannot see either of them winning this week given the quality in the field that actually look forward to playing here. Tiger has only won this once (2001) and the course has been modified since. Rory has had an awful time here and both he and Lee Westwood came in for some slack a couple of years ago when they left this off their schedule. Westwood just might do a bit better than Rory this week, but they don't like this course. Its a 7200 yds, tight tree lined with severe rough and super fast greens. That said, the scoring seems to have improved over the past couple of years and is not playing as difficult as in the past. A lot of rain has fallen on the course the past week and with little wind about, it should play to its length and some.
 Given that there is no European event this week, I have revised my staking plan for this one. The course over the years has shown that experience here is the most crucial ingredient so the rookies are left to the side in that plan. They shouldn't be discounted altogether, but stats back up course experience and good GIR and scrambling stats are essential if one is to prevail.