The first two golf tournaments of 2016 are eagerly awaited, with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions set to take centre stage in Maui as the 32 different winners on the PGA Tour in 2015 do battle. There’s 14 Tournament virgins in there against 18 players who’ve done it all before, and I’ll be siding with experience over potential on this occasion.
Meanwhile, the European Tour turns up at the Glendower Golf Club for the South African Open – and I’m gambling on a proven old one and a potentially great young one to do the business.
Hyundai Champion Of Champions
Jimmy Walker 1 point each-way @ 35/1 (Bet365, Paddy Power, Stan James) ¼ odds 5 places
Walker has chalked-up at least one early win in each of the last two years and, despite a quiet end to 2015, he looks worth chancing here at generous odds. He pushed Patrick Reed all the way in last year’s event before eventually finishing second.
Brandt Snedeker 1 point each-way @ 60/1 (Sportingbet) ¼ odds 5 places
A pre-Christmas win alongside Jason Dufner in the Frank Templeton Shootout may just spark Snedeker into action for 2016, and he’s expected to have a good season if the swing changes he’s been working on with Butch Harmon have finally bedded in. He’s also currently ranked 50th in the world; and knows he’s going to have to win soon to guarantee an appearance in all the majors this season.
South African Open
Hennie Otto 1 point each-way @ 55/1 (Betfred) ¼ odds 5 places
Otto has often aired his love for this course, and it’s not surprising considering his decent form here, finishing 2nd and 13th here in the last 2 years. That’s much better form than some players who are much shorter in the betting – and the old boy looks worth chancing.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 0.5 points each-way @ 300/1 (Sportingbet) ¼ odds 5 places
Sometimes you just have to take a poke at one at ridiculously big-odds, and this may well be the last chance to get these sorts of odds about this very talented former South African number 1 amateur. Forget all about a short drug ban he had to serve for taking a prescribed drug he didn’t know he couldn’t take whilst playing professional golf, and concentrate on the fact he’s notched-up 6 wins in the last 10 months, including at Glendower when plying his trade on the Big Easy Tour.