US Open Preview

The golfing world focuses on Pinehurst for the next 2 weeks with The US Open and The US Women’s Open being hosted on the world renowned Pinehurst No.2 course, just 1 of 8 superb courses at this absolutely amazing spot. I had the privilege of visiting the resort in October of 2007 and couldn’t get over the place – nearly as close to Golfer’s Heaven as there could be.

Having looked at the field it will obviously take a superb player to win around the recently revamped course and I feel those with the better short games should end up at the top of leaderboard while fighting it out for the US Open Trophy. These are my 4 picks for the 2nd Major of 2014, form an orderly queue at the bookies please………

Pinehurst No2  US Open 2014 Logo

Phil Mickleson

Mickelson1

The short game genius returns to Pinehurst and has been talking up his chances this week, along with his confidence in going back to the pencil grip with the putter. Phil has previous Pinehurst form, finishing 2nd to Payne Stewart in 1999, and is one of the few people in the field to have performed well at Pinehurst No.2 before. After six 2nd place finishes in this Major alone that seems to mean the most to him, can he complete the career Grand Slam this week? I, for one, think he can. He’s around 4th favourite with those in the know, BetVictor giving best price at 20/1.

Henrik Stenson

Stenson

The super Swede Stenson has yet to hit the heights of last year, it would be hard to replicate all those performances really, but when he is in the mood there are few better in the world. His recent form has improved and if he keeps the driver in the bag the majority of the 72 holes this week, one of the few players that can around any course, he can definitely contend for his 1st Major title. Best price is currently with BetFred and Totesport who are both offering 28/1 but with 7 places.

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter

The Poultergeist is one of the best pitchers, chippers and bunker players in the world and when the putter is hot he can simply putt the lights out – this doesn’t always happen of course but I think IJP will be up for it this week as he needs to up his game to either qualify for the Ryder Cup or impress Captain McGinley enough to pick him as a Wild Card. A 1st Major would help on both counts of course, over to you Poults! He’s best price 66/1 with those boys offering 7 places, BetFred and Totesport. Most of the others including Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and BetVictor are offering 66/1 as well but 6 places.

Luke Donald

Luke Donald

Luke Donald is fast becoming the “Best Player in the World Not to Win a Major“, a very much unwanted title! He has been undertaking some swing changes of late to most of all improve his performances in the Majors and it is debatable whether this transformation is complete yet, having said that his short game remains superb and that is what you need around Pinehurst No.2. If he can find the fairways then expect Luuuuke to contend come the Back 9 this Father’s Day. Donald is 50/1 best price with Ladbrokes while most of the rest are offering 40s or less.

So, those are my picks for this week at Pinehurst. Having visited the resort, and for anybody there this week, the Ryder Cup Bar at the Pinehurst Resort and the Sports Page just down the road would come highly recommended for a few after golf tipples!! Enjoy the golf wherever you will be watching it from and fingers crossed 1 of my 4 might prevail, either that or an Irish winner will do!

Advertisements

Tournament Preview – Valero Texas Open

The PGA Tour heads to Texas this week for the Valero Texas Open, having finished the Florida swing at Bayhill last week. It looked like John had picked a winner as early as the second round last week with Adam Scott but unfortunately the Aussie faltered at the weekend. We’re hoping he’ll pick a winner this week! Here are his picks.

????????   Valero Texas Open

Phil Mickelson

Phil Pebble Beach

Lefty has shown decent form this year without doing anything fantastic. Phil has tinkered his preparation for the Majors over the years and his warm ups for The Open got him in the frame of mind to win at Muirfield. This week in Texas might be a warm up but don’t count Mickelson out if he gets into contention. He is favourite to win this week, best price 16/1 with Stan James and William Hill while Paddy is next best at 14s offering 6 places.

Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson

Johnson has won the Texas Open twice, in 2008 and 2009, and a large chunk of his PGA Tour victories have come in Texas and the Southern States so he is definitely one to watch this week. A gritty competitor who has enjoyed a great start to the season, he could be coming into form again at the right time and with Augusta on the horizon he’ll want to get in some good performances before driving up Magnolia Lane. Best price for Zach is 18/1 with Paddy Power, 6 places!

Jimmy Walker

jimmy walker

Walker still sits atop of the FedEx Cup rankings after an amazing start to the season, his form has tailed off a little recently but if he can recreate the sort of golf he was playing over the first 2 months of the year especially then he could be a contender this week and at Augusta too in 2 weeks time. You can get Jimmy at 20/1 best price with Victor and William while Paddy are offering 18/1 (6 places).

They are DC’s picks for this week. He also wants you to watch out for Casey Wittenberg in Louisana, 50/1 best price with bet365 and BetVictor, while Chella Choi is also a notable for John in the field at the LPGA Kia Classic at 50/1 with bet365, Ladbrokes, Boylesports and many more. As usual you can give John feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 10.45am on 27/03/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Arnold Palmer Invitational – Tournament Preview

The Florida swing sets down at Bayhill this week for what should be a very open tournament indeed, especially keeping in mind the fact that Tiger Woods will now not be in the field due to his withdrawl through injury. Some worry about him making The Masters as well as a result of his troublesome back problems. Anyway, back to this week at Arnie’s place……..John has 3 picks for you to hopefully make you a few euro, Justin Rose was going well until the back 9 on Sunday last week so we are hoping these lads can make it all the way through 72 holes in or around the lead!

Bayhill  A-Palmer-Invitational

Patrick Reed
Wyndham Championship - Final Round
John hopes you’re not annoyed with Reed’s bravado, calling himself one of the top five golfers in the world. The truth is that belief has been backed up by his two wins in his last six starts and an amateur pedigree matched by very few lends itself to the credence that Reed will compete each and every week. Reed won the 2006 Junior Open Championship the last time The Open itself was staged at Hoylake so he could also be a sneaky fancy for The Open this year too, just saying! He has some interesting swing mechanics, but you don’t need to swing pretty to win. While Reed missed the cut last year in his only appearance at Bay Hill, that was before he figured out how to win on Tour. His approach to winning by treating every round as a Monday qualifier has worked well so far! Count DC among the believers and with best price of 33/1 with BetVictor and Ladbrokes with 5 places or 28/1 with Paddy at 6 places he could be a great each way bet this week.
Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson
Right behind Reed at Doral was Watson, who is in as good form as we have ever seen him in. He’s made a run in match play this year, has a win at the Northern Trust Open, a T2 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and two other top 10′s. His only real issue at Bay Hill will be closing strong after what is normally a solid opening round. He has a T4 here in 2012, the year he won The Masters, and he also has three missed cuts through the years. This is the best and most focused season of golf we’ve seen Watson play and he’s always shown a propensity to put low numbers on his scorecard. His issue has been limiting the damage during those bad rounds, and this year has seen him do that week in and week out. Bubba is best price 12/1 favourite pretty much across the board, remember Paddy and Stan (James) are offering 6 places with the other giving 5.
Adam Scott
Adam Scott
Scott, last year’s Masters winner is also in the field. Really, you can’t go wrong with Scotty this week while Watson is likely the hottest player on overall form. Do not discount Scott based on Bubba’s form though. He hung around at Doral, but never really made a move. That’s okay, because his T25 followed what had been five terrific tournament starts. He hasn’t played the Arnold Palmer Invitational since 2009, when he missed the cut, and truthfully he didn’t tear up Bay Hill in year’s prior either. He is, however, in good form and with an eye on reaching No. 1 in the World the motivation is well and truly there to win each time he tees it up. Anytime you have a guy with his pedigree who has been playing at his prime, you could do a lot wrong than putting a few quid on him. The first Masters winner from Australia is best price 14/1 with Stan & Paddy (6 places) to triumph at Arnie’s place this week.
So the above are John’s picks for the Arnold Palmer Invitation at Bayhill! As usual you can give John feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 1.00pm on 19/03/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Valspar Championship Tournament Preview

So we’re still enjoying the Florida Swing, will be for a while yet! John has dragged himself away from his Cheltenham form book to hopefully pick a winner on the PGA Tour this week. He got close last week with Dustin Johnson so here’s to hoping he will go a few better this time around in the Valspar Championship. After the Beat Trap 2 weeks ago and the Blue Monster last week we’re onto Snake Pit at Innisbrook now!
Valspar Championship
Tampa Bay Championship - Round One    Innisbrook2
DC’s pick are as follows:
Jason Dufner
dufner
We know now that when Dufner begins to get hot, look out. Well, Dufner has begun to get hot and John is jumping on board right away. He scored fifth at the Hyundai TOC, made a run in match play and tied for ninth at the WGC-Cadillac despite a final round 76. When he began to warm up last year he capitalised with a major win at the PGA Championship. He’s consistently been inside the top 25 at this event over the last five years and DC likes him to be in the top 10 at least this week. “The Duff” is best price 28/1 with Paddy Power who are also paying 6 places!
Luke Donald
luke augusta
Donald’s entering his fifth start of the season, which is one tournament more than he typically has at this point. Whether that means anything or not, his game seems to agree well with Innisbrook with a T6 in 2010, a win in 2012 and a T4 last year. In the week that is in it we could be looking at horses for courses and Luuuuuke fits the bill here, he is best price 20/1 with Paddy Power again due to them offering 6 places.
Graeme DeLaet
Graeme DeLaet
After a blistering start to the year the Northern bandit has cooled down slightly. Hopefully this will be the week he rejuvenate his season. John has tipped him up a few times and his form is reflected in a price of 33/1 best with Ladbrokes.
Justin Rose
justin rose2
Big odds this week across the board with best price of 25/1 with Paddy Power (6 places!). He struggled a little with injury in January and February but that is now behind and this big a price is too good to let slide. Get on JR says JDC!
So they are John’s thoughts on the Valspar Championship! As usual you can give John feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 8.45pm on 12/03/2014 via Oddschecker.com

WGC Cadillac Tournament Preview

So we’re still in Florida and off to the revamped and re-toothed Blue Monster course at Doral. It will hopefully be a week where great golf makes the headlines rather than the course itself which has been redeveloped by designers Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner under the guidance of the man himself, Donald Trump. Doral has given us some amazing finishes down the years and this year promises the very same entertainment, especially as the new layout could well see the previous local knowledge going right out the window! If the finish on Sunday at the Blue Monster is anything like the 2 previous weeks at the WGC Matchplay and at the Honda then we are in for a treat.

Doral1   Donald Trump

John has run the rule on the possible winners this week and his picks are as follows:

Adam Scott
Adam Scott

There’s a lot on the line this week for Scott. With a win and a Woods finish outside the top 7, the Aussie would move to No. 1 in the World. That ranking is a driving force for many golfers and Scott would become only the second Australian to be top dog in golf, joining Greg Norman. That’s the motivation for the Aussie and Scott’s previous form at Doral has been strong, which comes on the heels of four top-10s this season and a T-12 at the Honda Classic. Scott finished T3 last year, T13 in ’12 and T6 in ’11. He also has a top-10 from 2008. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t contend all week. He has SW on the bag to drive him into the winners enclosure. Scotty is 12/1 pretty much across the board, a decent price for somebody who tends to finish in the places at the Blue Monster.
Rory McIlroy
Rory2
Aside from his struggles in the final round of the Honda Classic, McIlroy has been shooting the lights out on most courses he’s walked this year. He knows his game is in good shape so I doubt one bad Sunday round in which nearly everyone struggled will be enough to derail him. He’ll be hungry. Even with all the struggles he had last year including THAT withdrawal from the Honda, he walked in and grabbed a Tied 8th finish. The year before was solo third, and he has a top-10 and top-20 previously. Rors is favourite at the WGC Cadillac with best price being 15/2 with Paddy Power and CORAL.
Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson
It’s easy to be fairly envious of Dustin Johnson, I don’t think we need to go into specifics here!! DJ’s season started with a win and before being bumped in the WGC Accenture Matchplay and he has also put together two second-place results at Pebble and the Northern Trust Open. He was just off the pace last year, shooting 9-under par to finish T-12. He was solo second in ’11. With his length off the tee, he’s going to reach a lot of par-5s in two and give himself easy irons into the redesigned greens. And since he leads the Tour in greens in regulation, he’ll be putting a lot for birdies. Johnson is available at 18s best price with Bet365, totesport, BetFred and BetVictor.
So that’s John two cents on the WGC Cadillac! As usual you can give John feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 1pm on 05/03/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Tournament Preview – Tshwane Open

The European Tour is in Africa again this week (I seem to saying that a lot!) with the playing of the Tshwane Open at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate. From an Irish perspective we hope Shane Lowry’s clubs have arrived off British Airways at this stage so he can put in a good showing!

Tshwane Open 2014  Copperleaf GC

This is another hard tournament to pick a winner but John is going to try to stay away from stats as they seen to mean nothing in these mixed field tour events like this. DC is going to pick 2 Ryder Cup hopefuls, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Morten Orum Madsen both of whom are in good form and are in with a real chance of sneaking in to Paul McGinley’s Ryder Cup team come September. You can get Rafa at best price of 20/1 with ToteSport and for somebody who has started the season so promisingly that is more than decent. Our Danish friend is a little higher, 35s best price with 888sport and 33/1 with most of the rest. All firms seem to be going 5 places only for this week’s European Tour stop.

Cabrero Bello  Madsen

We’ll give Shane Lowry a shout out here too, at odds of 70/1 best with Bet365 lets hope his clubs can do the talking this week if they arrive. Best of luck Shane!!

Shane Lowry

John awaits your feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 8pm on 25/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Tournament Preview – The Honda Classic

We’re to back in Florida for a while starting this week with the Honda Classic at PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens. The top 8 in the World tee it up among others for what should be a great week’s golf. John is back this week after taking the WGC Accenture off, my picks last week were shocking in the end so I hope none of you read the Blog for the Matchplay!
Honda Classic
DC’s first pick is Brian Harman and at 90/1 with Paddy Power who are paying top 6 he will pay out a nice few quid if he does the business. Harman finished 3rd at riviera last time out, top 25 in adjusted scoring and 11th in strokes gained putting. He also holds the course record around the 5th hardest course on tour, PGA National, and had a nice 12th place finish here last year.
Brian Harman
G Mac is John’s second one-to-watch in Florida this week, and with odds of 22s best with Bet365, Stan James and SpreadEx he could be worth a look – especially if he’s 2 behind with 2 to play on Sunday! His grind-it-out mentality is as good as ever and may even have gotten better from last weeks performance at Dove Mountain, he loves it around here with finishes no worse than 17th in 6 starts including 4 top 10s.
G Mac2
Honourable mentions go to Adam Scott, available at 20/1 with Boylesports and BetVictor, and Henrik Stenson who you can get at 30s best with BetVictor. Both are priced fairly high going on their overall form and results over the past 12 months and even though they don’t have much form here they should have the quality to mount challenges.
Stenson    Adam Scott
As usual you can give John feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 8pm on 25/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Tournament Preview – WGC Accenture Matchplay

So we’re back at Dove Mountain for the Matchplay, perhaps for the last time and definitely with probably the worse field to tee it up there but hopefully without last year’s snow! I still very much enjoy the format though and Matchplay is always a great watch.

Accenture Matchplay   Dove Mountain2

It’s always tough to pick the winner of a Matchplay match, nevermind the overall winner of a Matchplay tournament but we’re going to give it a go! First up is the Bobby Jones bracket. Henrik Stenson is our pick here, the Swede was the best player in the World for the last 6 months of 2013 and he also has form at Dove Mountain in the past. Expect him to come through his bracket and at 22/1 with totesport, SpreadEx, BetFred and sportingbet it’s a decent pay-out even if the Double Money List winner from last year gets to the Semi Finals.

Stenson

We like Matt Kuchar to make it through in the Gary Player bracket. He may well end up playing Jordan Speith on his way through the matches but Kuchar knows his way around Dove Mountain and is a solid matchplayer. With a price of 28/1 to win overall with Paddy Power, bet365 and CORAL he could be worth a few quid, that’s working out as 7/1 to win the bracket too if you back him each way.

World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship - Final Round

The Ben Hogan bracket isn’t an easy one so I’m going for 2 players – Ian Poulter and Jimmy Walker. Poults is a superb matchplayer and if his putting hits any form in this format then he’s near to unbeatable. You can get the “Postman” at 35s best price with bet365 and Boylesports this week. Walker is the form player in the World at the moment and it is tough not to consider him this week, of course Matchplay is a very different game but if you play well you will of course have the chance to win. 50/1 best price with CORAL is worth at least a second look!

jimmy walker  Ian Poulter

The toughest bracket this week could well be the Sam Snead, it could very well be the case that our pick to win the bracket could go out first round but we hope not! We are going for Zach Johnson here, superb putter and wedge player along with being one of the most competitive players head-to-head – he is very well suited to Matchplay. Zach is available at 35/1 with Stan James if you fancy a flutter here!

Zach Johnson

So that’s what we think will happen this week, summary as follows:

Bobby Jones bracket – Stenson; Gary Player bracket – Matt Kuchar; Ben Hogan bracket – Ian Poulter or Jimmy Walker; Sam Snead bracket – Zach Johnson. Stenson hasn’t played too much this year or overly well but he is truly World class when in the mood and expect him to be so this week. Another WGC title for the Swede, well at least we think so!! Enjoy the golf this week!

Tournament Previews – Northern Trust Open & Africa Open

We’re going with one preview fits all this week once more as John Deasy takes a look at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera and the Africa Open at East London GC.

NTOpen    Africa Open

John is going with Graeme De Laet once more as his recent good form continues and he is going for his first win on tour so the motivation is most certainly there. The best price you can get the Canadian this week is 22/1 with BetFred, Bet365 and SportingBet while he is 20s best with many of the rest. He’s been the runner-up his last two tournaments at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Before that was three top-10′s. He’s made the cut in both starts at the Northern Trust Open.

Graeme DeLaet

DC also likes the look of Webb Simpson this week on the tricky layout where players like Faldo, Elkington and Couples have won on before. The 2012 U.S. Open champion is best price 20/1 with most of the usual bookies while Paddy Power again are stand-out here offering 6 places. Simpson has five top-10s this season and a T6 result here last year. Simpson finished T15 in his only other start here, while he leads the Tour in birdie average and scoring average and ranks third in all-around. He’s a strong bet to finish in the top 10.

Webb Simpson

 Another player John wants you to keep an eye on this week is Hideki Matsuyama, best price 35/1 with 888sport while he is 33s and lower with most of the others. In just nine PGA Tour-sanctioned events, Matsuyama had six top-25 finishes, including a T-6 at The Open last year and is looking good so far this year .

Hideki

In Europe, well South Africa, John has just 2 picks this week in the shape of Dawie Van der Walt and Roope Kakko. Van der Walt, having already qualified for The Open this year and with a string of top 20s to his name this season can produce another early season victory if hitting the same heights he did the win the Nelson Mandela Tournament not so long ago. You can get him at 35/1 with Paddy Power, BetVictor, ToteSport & BetFred.
Van der Walt
Kakko won on the Challenge Tour in October 2013, where he claimed his first tournament as a professional by triumphing over a very strong filed at the Bank of Oman, and has been playing good golf this year. Full of bubbles he can get his season off to a lift in Africa this week. Roope is available at 66/1 with Paddy Power and a number of other bookies.
Roope Kakko
As usual you can give John feedback via  Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 9pm on 12/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com