Last week’s winners from either side of the pond both line up in America this week, but both Rory McIlroy (8/1) and Adam Scott (11/1) are much shorter in the betting than last week, in what looks a stronger event, and are therefore passed over from the lack-of-value angle.
The only other players priced up at less than 20/1 are previous winners Matt Kuchar and Justin Rose. Kuchar has been no worse than 13th in his last six appearances here and, despite a missed cut last week at Colonial, had previously finished no worse than 17th in his last six tournaments. At 16/1 he looks likely to give you a run for your money. Rose meanwhile produced a mixture of brilliant golf and glaring errors at Wentworth last week, and it might just be that the build-up to defending his US Open title next week is playing on his mind.
The 20/1 to 40/1 betting bracket brings in the likes of Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickleson, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Jason Dufner, yet it’s not easy to build a compelling case for backing any of them.
The first player that looks over-priced is Charl Schwartzel (50/1), a world-class player and major winner who admittedly shot a terrible 36-hole score at Wentworth last week. However, he has never previously shown any aptitude for that course, and Memorial is a different matter. His form figures have steadily improved with each appearance 62/27/22/19/8, and this may be his year.
Another player that looks overpriced is Russell Henley. The 24-year old won on his PGA Tour debut in 2013, after which he showed on the leaderboard on only a couple of occasions; one of which was when 13th in the Honda Classic (won this year) and when 6th in this event. 80/1 looks great value for a bold bid from the young talent.
For those of you who love a three-figure price, Mike Weir stands out as a 250/1 shot with a great chance. The 44-year-old is going through somewhat of a comeback after injury and a loss of form, but the bookies seem to have forgotten that the motivated Canadian finished runner-up just two weeks ago, and finished in the top-3 here in 2004 and 2008.
Matt Kuchar each-way 16/1
Charl Schwartzel each-way 50/1
Russell Henley each-way 80/1
Mike Weir each-way 250/1
Golf – European Tour – Nordea Masters (Thursday – Sunday)
The Lake Course at PGA Sweden National hosts the Nordea Masters for the first time, and punters are left stabbing in the dark as to who might perform well at this circa 7,400 yard track. The course has four par-5s, three of which look in range even for average hitters, and it may be that the par-3s (three of which are 200 yards +) sort the men from the boys, whilst the greens are small and some holes feature water-hazards.
Home boys Henrik Stenson and Jonas Blixt would dearly love to win, but may find press demands taking up too much of their time, especially favourite Stenson. However, the course was officially opened by another Swede Peter Hanson in 2010, and he may just slip under the press’s radar this week with his more high-profile compatriots taking the lion’s share of the limelight. 40/1 looks fair.
One player who looks massively over-priced is Victor Dubuisson (50/1) and, despite not playing much recently, the young Frenchman will looking to get back into the groove before the US Open. The staking plan is completed by two players who the bookmakers seemed to have underestimated, Alexander Levy (66/1) and Andy Sullivan (80/1).
Peter Hanson each-way 40/1
Victor Dubuisson each-way 50/1
Alexander Levy each-way 66/1
Andy Sullivan each-way 80/1
Horse Racing – Sandown – Thursday
Sandown stages two interesting races with some classy horses using the 2-mile Henry II stakes and the Brigadier Gerard Stakes as interesting warm-ups for Royal Ascot.
Challengers for the Henry II include Brown Panther who won Chester’s Ormonde Stakes three weeks ago, and hopefully he will be too good for the likes of El Salvador, Girolamo, Menorah, Tiger Cliff, Whilplash Willie and High Jinx. The forecast 4/1 would be a tasty each-way price.
Thirty-five minutes later, Hillstar the horse who Brown Panther beat into second place in the Ormonde stakes drops down to 10-fulongs, but may struggle to see off the likes of Remote and Top Notch Tonto on soft ground. The latter loves the ground and the forecast 5/1 looks big in what is potentially a 5-runner field.