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

2013 Majors Preview – The US Open

The second Major of the year takes place at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, USA, in June and this is the focus of Part 2 of my Majors 2013 Previews. Their East Course has hosted more USGA Championships than any other in America so expect the usual layout, plenty rough and ultra-fast greens come to mind. Bobby Jones won the 1930 US Amateur title there, considered a Major at the time, while the most iconic shot probably played there was Ben Hogan’s 1-iron on the last hole of the 1950 US Open. Merion’s pedigree as a US Open venue is not in question and anybody around that Level Par mark will be likely contenders down the stretch on Sunday in the Final Round.

THE US OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Merion Golf Club, Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th June

meriongc

The last US Open held at Merion was 1981, won by David Graham, so not much course form will come into who may win probably the toughest Major in golf this year. Edoardo Molinari has most recent course form, having won the US Amateur there back in 2005 but his form has well and truly eluded him since his Ryder Cup bow in 2010 when he was superb in the final qualification tournaments. As usual at the US Open, expect contenders to come from those who are solid from tee to green, also great grafters and those with a good short game, most importantly clutch putters. My early picks to contend in the US Open are Northern Irish pair Rory McIlroy & Graeme McDowell, Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker. They all pretty much fit the bill and hopefully I will explain why………

meriongc2

G Mac is very much a US Open type golfer, gets it in play off the tee, without being overly long, and is one of the best putt clutch putters on the planet. His ability shown to hold his head while others were losing theirs (sorry Dustin Johnson!) was very much on display at Pebble Beach in 2010 and his performance last year at Olympic Club showed his battling qualities as he attempted to catch Webb Simpson down the stretch. His came so so close last year to adding to his Major haul and I expect another fine showing in Pennsylvania in June.

gmac1

Jason Dufner is one of the finest ball strikers out there and his seemingly relaxed way of going about things is the sort of mentality you need to win a US Open. His only time in real contention for a Major so far did end up with him losing a playoff to Keegan Bradley when it did look like he was cruising to victory so this would provide the doubters with plenty ammunition but it did takes to likes of Phil, Jim Furyk and even Rory a few attempts while contending for a Major before they eventually claimed one of Golf’s big titles. I would not be surprised in the slightest should “The Duff” be in the final pairings when the final round of the US Open tees off at Merion.

dufner

Brandt Snedeker is the latest tour star to claim the crazy bonus on offer for winning the FedEx Cup, and according to the affable Southerner in a recent interview with David Feherty at the Farmers Insurance Open, he has not managed to spend much of that but rather use some of the funds for a charity foundation he is involved in. That is neither here nor there when discussing the potential winner of The US Open Championship but good things usually happen to good people all the same, and Snedeker is definitely in this bracket – his golf isn’t half bad either! One of the final proponents of the old odyssey mallet putter, he is one of the best putters from long and short and his long game is generally spot on albeit a poor showing over the final two rounds at The Open Championship last July does point to maybe a slight weakness when contending at the very top of the game. He has been a superb player for a few years now so well worth looking at for at least a top-5 finish in June.

snedeker

World No.1 Rory McIlroy has got the perfect game to win a US Open, he has won the championship already so no need to offer any particular proof here. Whether he can keep up his record of only winning Majors by 8 shots is, of course, probably not up for discussion and I’m sure he’ll take a win no matter by what margin. Once Rors get into contention in a Major now he does seem to have the knack of closing them out, I know he has only won 2 but he has probably only genuinely contended in 4 so a 50% conversion rate from those he has had a chance to win going into the latter stages is pretty damn good. I can look to many contenders for the US Open Championship, and I’m sure due to form and other issues these will change over the next 5 months, but my man for Merion is McIlroy.

rory us open

The US Open always throws up something that little bit different due to the difficulty of the layouts presented to the best players in the world, and I expect the second Major of 2013 not to vary here at all. The best of the best at the moment is Rory though and I fully expect him to keep up his record of winning 1 Major a year from 2011.

Another big event in June will be in Ireland as the Mount Juliet Junior Scratch Cup takes place on Sunday 2nd June. Interest is also already high for this amateur event which is also a fixture on the Top Golfer Tour 2013, the winner of the Mount Juliet Junior Scratch Cup will take their place in the Top Golfer Tour Championship later this year. The entry fee is €60 per person, online bookings can be taken via http://www.brsgolf.com/mountjuliet/opens_day.php while you can book by phone on 056-7773012 or email golfreservations@mountjuliet.ie.

US Open 2012 Preview, The Olympic Club

US OPEN 2012 PREVIEW
 
It’s consistently the toughest tournament in golf every year when par is usually the winning score, last year and Rory being one of the few exceptions. We’re off to Olympic Club in San Francisco where the patience and, of course, the golf games of the World’s best players will be tested to the fullest.
 
Tiger Woods – best price 17/2 with sportingbet
 
I’m amazed TW is favourite for the US Open, albeit at a decent price for once! His game is in decent shape but he has won at Bayhill and Muirfield Village this season, venues where he has won at ease and many times while in his pomp so I would not put as much value with those performances as usual, added to that the struggles the chasing pack on both occasions endured adds no fuel to the fire that would have me recommend Tiger. He may contend but I think a top 5 finish may be his best result here.
 
Lee Westwood – 12/1 with Bwin
 
Westy is again looked at as somebody that should contend this week and I would not be surprised is he does, his performance in Sweden bodes well of course but only on rare occasions does the winner the week before triumph in a Major championship the week after. Lee’s putting and short game will be severely tested over the Olympic Club layout and I again see this being his biggest stumbling block to claiming a Major title. A good each way bet but I don’t expect Westwood to win.
 
Luke Donald – 13/1 best with Boylesports
 
The current World No.1 would cement his position at the top of the game this week with his first Major win. I note the fact that I have tipped “Luuuuuuuuke” for numerous Majors over the past year but I think his game is ideally setup for Olympic Club. Lee Janzen won the last playing of the US Open here in 1998 with a score of level par and I saw a lot of parallels between the two players – both decent ball strikers but with short games to envy. Donald will be right in the hunt come the cauldron that will be the final round at Olympic Club on Sunday.
 
Rory McIlroy – 20s with William Hill
 
I’d be getting you Rors at 20/1 with this UK bookmaker! The same price as last year has a nice ring to it and his good performance at the FedEx St Jude won’t do him any harm, his final hole disappointment may only help to spur him on all the more. Rory’s form wasn’t all that great last year when he got to Congressional and he doesn’t have the weight of the world on his shoulders this year like he did after Augusta this year. A great each way bet and expect Rory to come out of the blocks firing from Thursday!
 
Phil Mickelson – 22s with Coral
 
I’m a huge fan of Phil but the only Major I would usually look to him to do the business would be the Masters. There is a lot better value out there including many more US golfers in better form, sorry Phil but I can’t see it being your week!
 
Matt Kuchar – 28/1 best price with William Hill
 
I’m liking Kuchar’s form this year, he won superbly at The Players Championship and I fully expect him to move on from the “Fifth Major” to winning one of the Big 4 tournaments this week. Great value as well, winner alright me thinks as the US continue their comeback into the upper echelons of world golf – I’m getting worried about the Ryder Cup already!!
 
Jason Dufner – 28/1 with William Hill
 
It could be a battle of the 28/1 shots this week in San Francisco as the two form players in the world come under the spotlight. Dufner is steady steady steady and he just seems to have ice in his veins at times. Having said this, however, his eventual collapse at the US PGA is the only worrying point. He looked coolness personified until fairly late during the back 9 on Sunday where the wheels well and truly came off.
 
Jim Furyk – 35/1 with Paddy Power
 
Furyk is the sort of US Open specialist that you may always look to in the betting. Solid off the tee, a superb iron player and generally an excellent putter when the pressure is on, his putting of late has been a concern but he seems to be creeping into form at the right time. One for the shortlist although he should probably be a higher price in fairness, do you hear me Paddy?!?!
 

The Rest of the Irish

Padraig Harrington – 80/1 with Bwin
 
Paddy has an outside chance, he played well in the St Jude Classic and will hopefully take that form into this week. If he starts well expect him to stay in contention, worth a few quid as he could be the only sportsman wearing green doing well this week!
 
Graeme McDowell – 80/1 with Bwin
 
2010 US Open Champ G Mac comes into the tournament having little or no form. His terrible showing in Memphis which resulted in him missing the cut did not help in the slightest for his confidence either. Not for me this week.
 
Peter Lawrie – 300/1 with Bwin
 
Huge odds for his first US Open appearance do not foster much optimism but Peter has been playing well and you just never know with up-and-coming Irish golfers these days. What’s a €1 each way???
 
Big D doesn’t tee it up this week with the Irish Open his hopeful comeback, we wish him all the best for this and the links will hopefully bring out the best in his game.
 
Some long shots to consider – David Toms 150/1 with Coral, Jason Day 66s with Coral, Louis Oosthuizen at 66s with Coral and Geoff Ogilvy 80/1 with Bwin, special mention goes to a namesake of a very good friend of mine, Brian Gaffney, who is at 2,500/1 with BetVictor!
 
I hope ye enjoy a week of watching the world’s best golfers struggle over the layout at Olympic Club and, of course, win a few quid along the way! Best prices from oddschecker.com Mobile App as at 10.53pm on Wednesday 13th June.