Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Glory's Last Shot for Rory ....or the Anchormen?

The final Major of the year returns to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin for the third time having hosted in 2004 and 2010 when Vijay Singh and Martin Kaymer emerged victorious in play-offs. The Pete Dye course is now infamous for the amount of bunkers on the course, rumoured to be in the number of circa 1000, depending on who's review you read and of course for the 2-shot penalty that was inflicted on Dustin Johnson for grounding his club in the wasteland deemed to be a bunker. Given the amount of bunkers and sand on the course and the controversial ruling from five years ago, the PGA have gone to great lengths this week to remind all the players and caddies of the ruling so as to avoid any confusion. We shall probably see a lot of referees being called upon this week !

Rory McIlroy has declared himself fit, 100% fit and has been seen running up banks proving his ankle is strong and despite the layoff represents some value @ current odds of 12/1 to win here on a course he finished just one shot outside the playoff last time to finish third. Its a long course and with reports that its playing soft at present, it should be an ideal opportunity for him. Jordan Spieth starts as favourite and why not? Winner of the Masters and US Open and agonizingly one shot away from the playoff at St Andrews, Spieth is in fantastic form and we can expect to see him contend again this week but he's not worth backing for this one given that this Major has a tendency over the years to produce first time Major winners along with some "shock" winners. Spieth will play alongside the defending champion, McIlroy, as well as Open Champion, Zach Johnson so expect plenty of TV coverage from this group. Interesting to note also that Zach also finished alongside Rory at -10, five years ago here so he arrives this week with fond memories and recent Major success to instill a lot of confidence. If he plays his wedges anything like he has the past couple of tournaments he may make the 50/1 on offer a bargain price.

I so want to back Dustin Johnson here....but having failed so badly the weekend at St Andrews when he was looking like a winner at the half way point and having had his chance at Chambers Bay, I can't back him @ 16/1. I'd love to see him break through here though, revenge and all that but he bloody deserves a Major and the sooner he wins one, the better chance he has of adding another. I'll be rooting for him as well as the Irish contingent of course, once some money can be banked first !

As per my shortlist on Monday, I really do fancy the chances of Paul Casey this week. He's lost two play-offs already this season at the Northern Trust and Travelers Championship and despite a disappointing effort at The Open, Casey responded with a nice TOP20 last week at Firestone. The Englishman finished T12th here back in 2010 so has good course form (he missed the cut in 2004 though) and if he brings his solid tee to green game here he can make a bold effort and join the First-time-Major-winners-at-the-PGA Club. From his eighteen starts on the PGA Tour this year he has recorded six TOP10s! He could so easily have two wins also. He ranks 10th on tour for Strokes-Gained-Tee-To-Green and he's no slouch off the tee either sitting nicely within the TOP40. He's 5th in GIR and if he can put together a week of solid putting, then Casey can win here or at least present a perfect back-to-lay investment on the exchanges. I'm feeling quietly confident for the former Irish Open Champion. 

Justin Rose normally competes well on Pete Dye tracks but has had poor form at Whistling Straits in the past. However, Rose has been playing extremely well of late and but for a shed load of missed putts, particularly at Tigers event, The Quicken Loans, he would have won. Can't argue though his form of late though. Winner at the Zurich Classic in April having finished runner up to Spieth at Augusta with a score that would normally be good enough to win, Rose has returned figures of 2-27-6-4-3 in his last five starts. He's in form and knows how to win and at 20/1 with Paddypower (paying 6 places) he cannot be ignored.

This is of course the last Major that we'll see the "Anchor Men" and it could be just the case that we have the last winner here as we had Keegan Bradley winning the PGA Championship as the first to do so. Adam Scott has been quiet in 2015 but since Steve Williams has returned to the bag he's produced TOP10s at Chambers Bay & St Andrews. He was 39th here in 2010 and 9th in 2004. Whistling Straits should be right up the Aussies creek this week, and Ladbrokes have him available at 33/1 for 6 places, just too big a price for a man who can turn it on here. 

Matt Kuchar may wobble if in contention on Sunday but if he enters the final round just off the pace he may have the tools to go close this week. Four TOP10s and another six TOP20s from his twenty events already this season yet again show his consistency and his TOP10 on this course five years ago can aide his attempt to break his maiden tag for the Majors. He was TOP25 last week at Firestone which is worth noting as the winner here has usually finished within that TOP25 at Firestone since the events have been staged back to back. "Smiler" will be there or thereabouts and at a generous 66/1, with Ladbrokes again, he has to be included.

Of the "outsiders" I am tempted by Robert Streb @ 80/1. Streb meets a lot of the "criteria" for this week in that he finished 5th last week in Akron, has won on tour already this year and is a maiden in the Majors. Seven TOP10s since his win last October proves this is a player to watch out for as his TOP20 at The Open backs up. Hes ranked 25th on Tour for Strokes-Gained-Putting and 29th for Stokes-Gained-Tee-To-Green. The 28 year old lies 5th in the FedEx Cup rankings, so he's playing solidly all year round.

If you fancy Spieth to win and don't have a Betfair account, why not take advantage of their offer and take the 15/1 to win - if he doesn't win you will get your money back (up to €100). Get the offer here

or if you prefer the 3/1 offer that Spieth will make the cut - if he doesn't win you will get your money back (up to €100)- That offer is here

And if you do have a Betfair Account already and you think Spieth will win why not take the offer of a free bet (up to €25) if your selection comes 2nd or 3rd to Jordan here