Irish Golf Tourism on the PGA Tour with the IGTOA!

The Irish Golf Tour Operators Association, the IGTOA, has recently taken the bold move of an international promotional campaign on the PGA Tour in America with a view to promote Irish golf tourism in association with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, airline partner Aer Lingus and car hire partner Hertz Ireland.The IGTOA will be attending a series of PGA Tour tournaments, to further the cause of Irish Golf Tourism, including the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, Memphis, the Travelers Championship – TPC River Highlands, Conneticut, the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run, Illinois and the Wyndham Championship in Sedgefield CC, North Carolina.

Golf Tour Operators from the IGTOA will be exhibiting at the the above PGA Tour Events in support of the IGTOA’s remit to increase golfing visitor numbers to Ireland. IGTOA Member Garreth Cooke, Managing Director of Links Golf Ireland will head up the team at the Fed Ex St.Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, Memphis,  from June 5th – 8th 2014. Maurice O’Meara, General Manager of the Island Golf Club will also join the IGTOA team in Memphis to spread the message of Irish Golf.

The Island GC1

The Island GC2

IGTOA Member Patrick Aiken, Managing Director of  TheGolfPA.com, will head up the IGTOA promotion at The Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conneticut from 16th – 22nd June 2014 and will be joined by IGTOA National Executive Officer Stacey Williams. This particular promotion is also being supported by IGTOA Member Ireland Golf Travel and leading Irish golf courses Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort and Waterville Golf Links.Adare overview

WatervilleGC

Speaking about the promotional campaign on the PGA Tour this season IGTOA Chairman Denis Kane said:

The IGTOA is delighted to launch our 2014 promotional schedule on the PGA Tour this season. We plan to play our part in the growth and development of Irish golf by taking promotional platforms at multiple PGA Tour events.We are keen to deliver a key message to the North American market that Ireland is a world class golfing destination, offering great value, top quality accommodation and spectacular links and parkland courses.Through our IGTOA Golf Tour Operators and in support of our many Irish golf tourism industry partners, we plan to actively promote Irish golf for the island of Ireland as the leading golfing destination of choice. Our promotional presence overseas will be strong this season and we will also focus on other important markets for Irish golf such as Germany, the Nordics and the UK

The IGTOA is an internationally recognised organisation that is supported by Fáilte Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland. The IGTOA has professional affiliations with the European Tour,the European Senior Tour, the Ladies European Tour, Ryder Cup Europe and Ryder Cup Travel Services, the Confederation of Irish Golf, the Golfing Union of Ireland, the Irish Region PGA, Visit Scotland, Golf Tourism Scotland,Golf Tourism England, Visit Wales, the Welsh Assembly and the Global Golf Tourism Organisation- IAGTO.

The IGTOA acts as the Voice of Professional Irish Golf Tourism and IGTOA Member Golf Tour Operators are collectively responsible for over 80,000 golfers visiting the island of Ireland, with an estimated consumer spend of €90 million to the Irish economy. The IGTOA participates in multiple overseas tournaments, trade shows and events all over the world each year to promote the island of Ireland as the world’s leading golf and sightseeing destination.

IGTOA Logo

For further details please contact:

Stacey Williams, National Executive Officer, Ireland Golf Tour Operator Association.

Tel: +353 (0) 64 6639910 / Mobile: +353 (0) 87 8112640 / www.igtoa.com 

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

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
 

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.

Tournament Preview – Waste Management Phoenix Open

This is consistently one of the best weeks in terms of fan-player interaction and also attendance with pretty much a football stadium stand erected at the 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale in Phoenix, Arizona. Scoring tends to be fairly good so expect a score not far off the 20-under par mark if the weather is anyway decent for golf which it is likely to be be going on the forecast.

Phoenix Open2   Phoenix Open1

Phoenix Open3

John Deasy is going for Graeme DeLaet to win this week in Arizona, best price 40/1 with 888sport and 33/1 with the majority of the rest. He is fresh off his second career runner-up finish and has finished no worse than a T7 in his last three starts. Top 10s in seven of his last 14 tournaments indicates that he is on a roll and looks good to pick up a win soon. His performance in the President’s Cup was also superb and he looks to have the mettle for playing under pressure and also notching up low scores.

Graeme DeLaet

One of John’s each way bets is for Keegan Bradley (top price 25/1 with most bookmakers).Tied for 16th at Torrey Pines, extending his string of top 20s on the PGA TOUR to seven in a row, the nephew of LPGA Tour legend Pat Bradley remains in good form. He has Top 25s in both starts at TPC Scottsdale and definitely has the ability and mentality to go low. One of John’s recent picks, Roberto Castro (100/1) is just waiting to catch fire at an event and this might be it.

Keegan Bradley    Robert Castro

If you’d like to give John a follow on Twitter you will find him@johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 7.30pm on 28/1/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Tournament Preview – Farmers Insurance Open

Torrey Pines is the venue for the next stop on the PGA Tour when the Farmers Insurance Open starts tomorrow. Unfortunately we won’t have a Tournament Preview for Qatar as John and myself both forgot it was starting today, Wednesday 22nd January!!

torrey pines2Like most people that know Torrey Pines know Tiger Woods should be right up there when the final round finishes on Sunday and expect nothing less this week. A best price of 5/2 with Paddypower who are offering 6 places is still very short however, having said that a win is a win and Tiger should be bang in contention after 72 holes.

Tiger Torrey PinesBill Haas will be another to keep an eye on this week in California. A top 6 finish last week at the Humana Challenge which could have been so much better had it not been for Patrick Reed going ga-ga with 3 consecutive rounds of 63, eventually finishing up with a 28-under par total to win. Haas shot 23-under and but for Patrick Reed we could have seen him fighting for even more money. Now he enters a tournament that has seen him finish tied for ninth last year, T-4 the year before, with another top-10 and three top-20′s to his credit over the years. Best price is with BetDaq at 27/1 with Paddypower next best at 25s.

bill haasJimmy Walker has been on great form of late and we expect to see more of the same this week at Torrey Pines. He is Top 10 in nearly all of the stats so far this season , on a hot streak and a good could go low again over the next 4 rounds. CORAL offer you the best price on Jimmy at 40/1 while Bet Victor are next best at 35/1, most of the rest are 33s and lower.

jimmy walkerJohn came close to a winner in Europe last week picking Phil Mickelson so hopefully he will go one better this week Stateside. If you’d like to give John a follow on Twitter you will find him @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 9pm on 22/1/2014 via Oddschecker.com