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!

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
 

Tournament Previews – AT&T Pro-Am and Joburg Open

We’ve put the two tournament previews together as one this week as John has got one pick for the Joburg Open! First up though is the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.

Pebble ProAm2

Formerly the Bing Crosby back in the day this tournament continues to be one of the most eagerly anticipated and fun events on the PGA Tour each year, this has a lot to do with the contribution of Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood and many more celebrities and sporting stars over the past 50 years or so.

Pebble ProAm

John’s first pick this week at Pebble is G-Mac himself, Graeme McDowell. He is best price 33/1 with Ladbrokes, Bet Victor and Boylesports among others paying out 5 places while Paddy Power are offering 28/1 with 6 places. This will be McDowell’s first start of the calendar year and his first since early December. He’s played well in two unofficial PGA Tour events and showed decent form at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in November. Now he returns to the site of his marvellous Major championship win, the 2010 U.S. Open. He actually hasn’t played Pebble Beach since then, and he’s only played the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on one occasion—  2006 when he missed the cut. Deasy doesn’t like that he tends to hover near even-par and doesn’t shoot particularly low, especially for consecutive days. He’s a solid golfer to say the least, just don’t let the U.S. Open win fool you.

G Mac2

Next up to be considered for a Pebble Beach win this week is Jason Day, best price 11/1 with Paddy Power paying 6 places. Though he has just one PGA Tour win to his name, Day has developed a reputation as a high-stakes player. If it’s a Major, Day is usually in contention. And while this isn’t a Major, what it does tell you is the Aussie is supremely close to being an every-day elite golfer. He finished sixth last year at 13-under and finished T-14 in 2009. He also didn’t miss a single cut last year and finished T-2 at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago at Torrey Pines.

Jason Day

John’s third one-to-watch in Northern California at Pebble is Phil Mickelson. Lefty is on offer at 14/1 with most of the usual suspects, again Paddy Power providing the overall value paying 6 places. Phil is one of those guys who can play badly for a couple of weeks and will give us a quote such as, “I feel like my game is coming around and I’m really driving the ball well. I’m just not scoring well.” One week he’s off the radar and the next he wins a tournament. This could set up like 2012 when Mickelson performed only alright at the Waste Management Phoenix Open but then won at Pebble Beach. The four-time Pebble champion has historically played well here even regardless of victory. The risk with Phil is that back issue so do take this into consideration.

Phil Pebble Beach

Edoardo Molinari is John’s pick for the Joburg Open and at best price 66/1 with 888sport he’ll provide you with a great return if he does the business. Edoardo might well have a very good chance after showing form over the last 3 tournaments he has played , and with the added incentive of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September he might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat early in the year .

Edoardo Molinari

If you’d like to give John a follow on Twitter you will find him @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 12am on 06/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com.