GOLF: Howell Hot For Himmerland
McIlroy mania subsides this week as the now four-time major winner takes a well deserved rest.
Meanwhile, the PGA Tour brings us the Wyndham Championship from Sedgefield Country Club and the European Tour brings us the inaugural Made In Denmark Tournament from Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort. Both courses are considerably shorter than last week’s major venue Valhalla and the emphasis returns to course management rather than smashing it in excess of 300 yards being a necessity.
The Wyndham Championship
Players not currently in the Top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings/Money List are in danger of losing their full playing privileges for 2014/15, and this will be massive added pressure/motivation for them to perform well this week. Also, whilst Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson have filled the nine automatic Ryder Cup spots in the US Team selection process, there are still three Captain’s picks to be announced by Tom Watson after the Deutsche Bank Championship on September 2nd.
Paul Casey 66/1 each-way
Sitting on the 125 cut-line in the Fedex Cup Standings, by just one point from the man behind him, Paul Casey will be looking for a decent week after missing a golden opportunity to keep his tour card by missing the cut at Valhalla. His form has been reasonable if unremarkable all season – but has often showed a great aptitude for handling pressure on and off the course.
Brandt Snedeker 14/1 each-way
Won the 2012 Fedex Cup but is currently languishing in 69th place. Will be desperate to start to put a poor season behind him and, after some lessons from Butch Harmon, caught the eye of Tom Watson by finishing 13th at Valhalla. Victory here would get him into the top-30 of the Fedex Cup (needed to get in the end of season Tour Championship), and maybe get him a Ryder Cup wildcard – and he’s guaranteed to be going all out.
Carl Pettersson 45/1 each-way
Six year form of 1/67/MC/4/4/MC reflects the inconsistency of the rotund Swede, but he certainly warrants inclusion using the horses for courses theory.
Tim Clark 33/1 each-way
The pint-size South African returned from a spell in the wilderness and injury to claim the Canadian Open three weeks ago and, having not enjoyed the 7,500+ yards of Valhalla, may regain his good form on a course where he finished 6th in 2008 and 2nd in 2012.
Made In Denmark Tournament
The Himmerland course has lots of short par 4s and three-shot par 5s, and players with great wedge skills may well come to the fore this week – though they’ll have to be able to play in the wind if the weather forecast is to be believed. Thomas Bjorn is favourite on home soil but may get too much press attention to give the golf 100% concentration.
David Howell 55/1 each-way
15th place at the Open was a return to form for last year’s Dunhill Links champion, and he’s a player who thrives on short layouts. If the putter gets hot he really should make a bold bid.
Kristopher Broberg 25/1 each-way
The Swede’s recent form, 3/MC/12/2/32 certainly deserves a victory – and he may be able to take advantage of a field lacking star names.
Emiliano Grillo 80/1 each-way
Catching the little Argentinean on a going week isn’t always easy, but he should enjoy a set-up that places an emphasis on approach shots.