Wednesday, 26 June 2013

AT&T National 2013 - Congressional GC

Oh's not all about the "5th Major" at Carton House, Ireland, this week where Rory McIlroy attempts to win on European soil for the first time, there is a PGA Tour event on in Washington! And it just happens to be on a course that Rory cruised to his US Open victory in 2011, The Congressional GC.Its an invitational event, hosted by Tiger Woods and his Tiger Woods Foundation but due to injury, the world's best player wont be playing but will make the presentation to the winner on Sunday evening. And just who will the winner be?

I really like Jason Day to triumph here this week. He's due a win. He is playing oh so well lately, he deserves a win and the tougher the track the better chance he has of getting that eleusive win and Congressional is certainly a tough track. Its a par 71, 7600 yarder and ranked as one of the toughest non-major courses on tour in 2012. That included fairways hit, GIR, and putting stats. All round & precision golf is a must this week and Day has the armoury to win. He was afterall runner-up to Rory at that US Open, by 9 shots nonetheless but he likes this course. He was T8th here last year and arrives on the back of his T2nd at Merion to Justin Rose at the US Open. 14/1 with this week is not a bad price and its a win bet for me.

Speaking of Ladbrokes...why not check out my twitter account today (Wednesday 26th June) @birdieclubtips and enter a competition to win a free bet with Ladbrokes. Simply follow both @birdieclubtips and @ladbrokesIE and RT the competition

My second selection for the AT&T National is Angel Cabrera @ 66/1 with Bet365. Fast finishing last week the double Major winner is one of those players simmering before a good week. Like Day, he excels on tough tracks and this being a long par 71 should be to his liking. Big driving will be an asset and if he can find fairways he'll score. I'm taking Angel as my second and final selection over John Huh who should also be watched on this type of course at big odds.

TIP 1 : 1.5 pts WIN J.Day @ 14/1

TIP 2: 0.75 pts e/w A.Cabrera @ 66/1 Bet365.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Irish Open 2013 - The Montgomerie, Carton House

We have a very good field assembled this week in Ireland where the local boys all arrive here in mixed form. Rory McIlroy heads the betting in his attempt to win his home Open and regain confidence before the next Major in 3 weeks at Muirfield. As eluded to in my Irish Open preview, Rory will be hoping to win this and kick start his return to form just as winning the Irish Open in 2007 acted as the catalyst for Padraig Harrington. This course will suit Rory and if he can get his short game going he could very well win come Sunday but I'm not that confident at 7/1. GMac let me down at Merion, but he will be happy to be home too  and will be all out to win ,but perhaps the course may not suit. Again he is too short in the betting for me. Padraig Harrington is just bang out of form despite two solid opening rounds in Connecticut last week, and its hard to see him winning here. Thomas Bjorn went very close for us in Munich and arrives back at Carton House having won the last time it was staged here on the back of two second placings. But at 16/1, I think we should look for value further down the field. The Irish Open has produced many a household name winner in Seve, Langer, Montgomerie, Faldo, Campbell, Harrington, Crenshaw, Torrance, Garcia to name just a few but it has also thrown up some outsiders in recent years and its quite possible we could see that again this week.One player towards the top of the market that I did fancy to go well here is Francesco Molinari and he is on my staking plan this week at 33/1 with paying 5 places or 28/1 with Betpack who are paying 6 places. As per normal I advise taking the 6 places.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The 5th Major !!...Well try tell the Irish it's not !

Its here at home Open, the Irish Open. With in excess of 450 courses in Ireland, its quite fantastic that the organizers continue to rotate the Irish Open and this year it returns to Carton House to be played on the Montgomerie Course. This will be the third time the Irish Open will be played on this course with Thomas Bjorn winning last time in 2006 and Stephen Dodd winning in 2005. The Montgomerie is considered the more difficult of the two courses at Carton House with the O'Meara a true parkland course compared to the Montgomerie which does have some links type features throughout. Due to weather in 06 and 05, scoring was tight and I'm not expecting a birdie fest here either, but there will be opportunities to score well. Driving it straight will be the key this week and should a player find rough, he'll need good scrambling skills. We'll have 30,000 spectators EVERY DAY and its the place to be on Saturday too. With the Dubai Duty Irish Derby being run at the Curragh after the Lions rip the Wallabies apart, the tented village will be in fine singing mood....ahem... the Guinness will be flowing! And God forbid theres a few Irish players on the leaderboard come "moving day" ,then, lads, the Irish Open is open to more investment, people!
The GUI is working hard to harness Irish golf and indeed a new body has been formed to enrich Irish Golf both nationally & internationally, the Golf Club Business Association of Ireland.Its objective is to enhance the profile of Irish Golf as a business and an industry and promote employment, and to actively engage in the promotion of the game, particularly targeting younger participants in order to secure the industry¹s future. Irish Golf is on the up again, we have 4 Major winners (Harrington, McIlroy, McDowell, Clarke) and we may not be finished yet either. The Irish Open deserves its place in the European Tour calendar at this time of the year, just before the British Open. Its vital that it remains a top tournament despite reduced purse, but that's par for the course (pun?)  in Europe this year.With Irish government officials now touting the idea of banning alcohol companies from all sponsorship, this event, along with any major sporting event is living on a knife edge. We need Heineken, we need Guinness, we need Jameson Whiskey etc to maintain our sporting involvement. Ask anyone outside Ireland what is Ireland's biggest export and they'll probably say Baileys or Guinness or Jameson Whiskey....they won't say software. Ireland....we need to play to our strengths.....and this week I believe we will....we are in for a class tournament this week folks and lets hope we have a class winner. Sure, we have always had one!

I call this the 5th Major. But so too does every player who tees it up in his home National Open. We saw how disappointed Phil Mickelson was when he failed to win his National Open, The US Open, 2 weeks ago and every player would love to win his home one. Ireland had to wait quite awhile between 1982 and 2007 to produce a home win in the form of Padraig Harrington. Shane Lowry then in 2009 as an amateur, became one of the most talked about home winners of all time, a win that I believe has rejuvenated the Irish Open. And speaking of rejuvenation, Padraig's win at Adare Manor was the catalyst for an amazing 18 months for the Dubliner. He went out to win The Open at Carnoustie a couple of months later. What would Rory McIlroy give to see a chain reaction like that and kickstart his season? Does The Montgomerie give Rory a chance to do that? You betcha! Does it give Darren Clarke an opportunity to gain some form and confidence and re-ignite his game? Well.. his support would indicate it will...he'll have a big gallery on Thursday & Friday. As I write, Padraig is doing well in Connecticut at the Travelers Championship. He'll be in confident mood when he touches down in Dublin on Monday. Carton House touring pro,Shane Lowry will be excited and he'll want to go well will the Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley. And Peter Lawrie and recent winner Simon Thornton and so will Michael Hoey and so too will ....!!!!   Well my local club has a representative this year in the shape of the Irish Amateur Champion of 2012  (beaten in playoff in 2013 whilst in the middle of studying for his final school exams). Gavin Moynihan has an invite and he'll play well too and he'll be one player  I'll follow when I go out on Thursday (as long as he doesn't have a 07:30 tee time!). Can he emulate Shane Lowry in 2009 ?

 Its a very strong field this year, albeit boosted by the Irish stars. And being boosted by the Irish stars means Irish golf is on the map and its a week to shine and showcase what we have to offer. Ireland, with an abundance of courses to play on, is a golfers paradise....lets hope we get the weather now and put on a show. Did I mention alcohol already? It will come in handy at the 17th par 3 this week. A 1500 spectator grandstand around the green will greet the players and the plan is to have a vociferous welcome for every shot played into the green. The "Open House@17" is a new concept designed to create a jovial player-spectator interaction, afterall, the players are gonna have a good night out Thursday, Friday, Saturday and depending who their Pro-AM group is they may just have a bloody good Wednesday night out too. Miguel Angel Jiminez will be out all nights anyway.....he was a favourite in Clogherghead, Co Louth when the Open was won by Brett Rumford in Baltray.....he'll be an extremely popular winner on these shores should he take the honours.

Its a tournament to rank amongst the best and its a tournament that will offer everything to the spectator. For those that have struggled to monitor scores on the European Tour website this year, we have an opportunity this week to download a new app called GREENi which will not only provide scores, but player location throughout the course for those attending etc. Its exciting times. We have this week and then the French Open, then the Scottish Open, then The Open. We have a fantastic slot in the calendar and the players will know the significance of the next 3 weeks. The only regret I personally have this week, is that, Thorbjorn Olesen is taking the week off. I would love to have seen him play here.

So then.... who wins this years Irish Open and joins a Who's Who of Irish Open Winners? We've had Ben Crenshaw following Christy O'Connor Jnr, we have multiple winner,Sir Nick Faldo and Mark James, we have seen Ken Brown win, Bernhard Langer(three times), Ian Woosnam(twice), Sam Torrance(my first golf betting winner), Colin Montgomerie( three times), Sergio Garcia (his first pro win),Seve Ballesteros(three times), Padraig Harrington and Michael Campbell. There's 7 Major champions in there winning on various courses. We have many a European Tour winner teeing it up this week and recent years has seen British players prevailing (Winners List). Reel in those Irish Open years here 

What about The Montgomerie course? Its a 7300 yds course and its a links type design course. Its not a birdie fest, but its does have it well and you just might score well here. Check out the course here courtesy of Ireland's own Shane O'Donoghue presentation.

I will of course be back here on the blog to give my thoughts on who will win this year.....I have some non-Irish in mind too so don't worry its not all about the Irish this week.....we've had Major winners take this title and with all due respect we've had some outsiders in recent years too. I already have my eye on a player that I have tippd a couple of times this year and is bound to like Carton House and his trip to Ireland.

Check back here on Monday afternoon for my selections and some offers for the week. Or sign up for the weekly newsletter in case you forget.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Travelers Championship 2013 - TPC Highland Springs

  The PGA moves across to Connecticut this week for the Travelers  Championship to be played at TPC Highland Springs, a par 70 course that will  play in complete contrast to last weeks enthralling Major at Merion. This week ,expect birdies ...and plenty of them. Its a tournament that has produced a lot of maiden winners and its a trend on the tour this year too with many first time winners already to the fore. It is a fairly decent field given that it comes just 4 days after the conclusion of one of the toughest, if not the toughest, Major. Justin Rose has confirrmed he will play and although the newly crowned US Open Champion will be giving 100% he can be forgiven for being not quite 100% on the course this week as he's bound to be tired. Should that be the same for the other Sunday battlers at Merion? Well, I don't think so and therefore am leaning towards Hunter Mahan to continue his decent form on a course he has fantastic results on. Mahan has missed just 2 cuts from 15 starts this season, has 3 TOP 10s and a further 6 TOP 20s. Winner here in 2007 and additional TOP5s to his locker, Hunter Mahan will arrive here hoping to get that elusive win for the season on the back of these strong showings. The tour has produced winners this year for those that have shown steady progressive form in the likes of Horschel, Streelman, and English and it could be Mahan's turn this week.

Its a straight win bet for me this week for 2 pts @ 20/1 with Titanbet

My second and final selction this week is Belgian Bomber, Nicolas Colsaerts @ 55/1 with BetVictor. Colsaerts is in brilliant form on his debut season on the PGA Tour.He has 3 TOP 10s in 12 starts on tour this season and finished 10th at Merion last week. Sundays finish following his Saturday round shows how far he has come the past 2 years and with this being a wider course and just 7000 yds, he may just approach this one with an abundance of confidence.

TIP 1 : 2 pts WIN H.Mahan @ 20/1 Titanbet

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w N.Colsaerts @ 55/1 Bet Victor

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

BMW International 2013 - Golfclub Munchen Eichenreid

After the excitement and the thrills of the 113th US Open at Merion, where the blog's tip, Justin Rose prevailed by 2 shots, our attention switches back to mainland Europe for the next few weeks on the European Tour. Some of those who played all 4 rounds at Merion will be in action in Munich where the event has quickly returned after a one year absence back to the Golfclub Munchen Eichereid, where Marcel Siem learnt his golf. But with Englishman, Justin Rose winning his first ever and Englands first Major since 1996, fellow Englishmen may be inspired this week in much the same vein as the Aussies did when Adam Scott won at Augusta. Indeed, the last 10 years of this tournament has seen 5 different players from England win and I have my eye on two of them here!

This is a forgiving course and measures just a little over 7100 yards. It does favour the big hitters yet there doesn't appear to be many players that have established a course relationship and with that in mind I am happy to take the one player in the field that has not only won here on this course in the past, but has done so twice. He is also a player that is gradually coming into some form and a player that will be anxious to keep doing so leading up to The Open. That player is Thomas Bjorn.
Now 42, the Dane last won this back in 2002 (also in 2000). Next week, Thomas travels to the Irish Open to be staged at Carton House where he won the last time the event was staged there so he will be very keen to play well this week ahead of that. Rested, he may gain an edge on those that had to endure the might of Merion over 4 days. Having almost won in Austria 2 weeks ago(2nd), following a T 4th in Sweden, Bjorn's results are progressive and he will be confident this week.

33/1 with represents value for me, given current & course form.

Monday, 10 June 2013

US Open - 2013 Merion GC

The second major of the year is upon us already and it promises to be one of the great majors played on a course steeped in golfing heritage and traditions. It's been awhile since the US Open was last played at Merion GC in Pennsylvannia and we may be asking why by the end of the week. Bobby Jones completed his 1930 Grand Slam here, Ben Hogan hit that 1-iron on 18 in 1950, and Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus in a playoff in 1971, snakes and all ! (Lee talks about that win here ). David Graham won in 1981 with a brilliant final round that saw him hit fairway after fairway and return a 67. Hitting fairways is the key this week.

So what do we know about Merion for this year's US Open ? They say its short! It's only 6,996 yards long with 4 of the par-4s measuring less than 360 yds. Will we see the big hitters taking these on? There are only 2 par-5s and they come very early in the round at numbers 2 & 4.

We wont see the flagsticks flapping in the wind, because there aren't any. We'll see red wicker baskets atop the pins instead.

 Most players have recognized that patience is key this week and that the middle part of the course presents them with the best scoring opportunity whilst the finishing holes could wreck their card. The rough is ...well let's just say, is gonna be tough. Getting the ball back into play is going to be the order of the day so whoever can hit accurate tee shots and can scramble consistently will be feeling a bit more confident than those that don't. As Lee Trevino himself said when asked what is Merion's best defence being such a short course, he replied "its a US Open". And US Opens are made for US Open type players. The weather the past few days has brought a lot of rain and flooded some parts of the course and with more rain expected it could soften up the fairways and the greens making scoring easier. I hope not. A major needs to test all aspects of the game and I love these type of courses where course management is essential, and the players get to use their full set of clubs. Irons off tees, as was the plan for Tiger at Hoylake, will be a joy to watch amongst the driving the short par 4s. Its a thinking golfers course, and we'll see an ever changing leaderboard. It's a Padraig Harrington course, isn't it? My heart says have a wager on Padraig, but my head says no. He was just outside my top20 and perhaps should have been there. He's 80/1 and very tempting but this time round I'll pass and hopefully he'll have a great tournament, but I've decided on 5 that I think have a shout come Sunday.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Fedex St Jude Classic - 2013

Action on the US PGA Tour centres on Southwind TPC south of Memphis this week and acts as the last event on tour before the US Open next week. We have yet another par 70 course this week where the big hitters have fared well in recent years. Ranked as one of the most difficult scoring wise on tour (as a par 70) Southwind is not a short course and is well protected by bunkers and water hazards throughout. Past experience will help here if lacking the power off the tee.

Phil Mickelson is using this week to get his game right for Merion and that might mean experimenting with clubs again. I'm not so sure that Phil will contend in Majors again but if he gets a good start he will most certainly be up there. However, this week I do like the chances of co-favourite Brandt Snedeker @ 14/1. Its not often I will back the fav. but I think there is value at 14s given the quality of the field. Following some recent good form at Augusta and Sawgrass, the local boy will be hoping too, that his game is in fine shape ahead of the 2nd Major of the year and I fully expect a title bid this week. He missed the cut last week at Muirfield, which makes 6 in a row, so that can easily be ignored as its a track he just doesn't like. Lying 3rd in the Fedex Cup, some valuable points can be gained here and he's backable for the win.

My second pick is South African, George Coetzee @ 80/1. In his debut season, Coetzee has made 6/7 cuts with just the 1 TOP 25 but he is bedding in nicely on tour and this is course that should suit him. Winless, though he has threatened many times on the European Tour, it could very well work out that he tastes victory for the first time on this tour and again just like Phil Mickelson's chances, if he can get into contention early he just might give us a run for his money.

My third pick this week is Jason Kokrak @ 150/1. The big hitting 26 yr old ranks in the top 10 for driving distance on tour this season and from 15 starts has made 9 cuts yielding 2 TOP10s and a further 4 TOP25s. With just 2 par 5's on the course,  the winning score looks to be in around that of 270 (-10) so if he can limit his mistakes on the tricky par 3s this week he may just find a score to challenge for a top 6 or better.

A fourth pick this week has to be John Merrick @ 55/1. Runner up here last year and T11th the year before, Southwind TPC is a course the winner of this year's Northern Trust Open obviously likes. Merrick will be anxious to return to some form and build on his World Ranking and FedEx Cup points tally, so Southwind gives him a good opportunity to do that and represents decent enough  value this week.

TIP 1: 3 pts WIN Brandt Snedeker @ 14/1 Paddypower

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w George Coetzee @ 80/1 Betpack

TIP 3: 0.50 pts e/w Jason Kokrak @ 150/1 Betpack

TIP 4: 1 pt e/w John Merrick @ 55/1 Boylesports