The vast majority of professional golf tournaments are in the form of 72 holes of stroke play over four days. There is an odd matchplay event and even a Stableford type tournament on the US PGA Tour but generally the winner is the player that takes the fewest shots over four rounds. The ISPS Handa World Super Six is the Twenty20 version of golf. There is so little form in the format to consider that finding the winner is tough. Bookmakers go 25/1 the field which shows even they are confused. The Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour is also a bit different.
The Super Six concept was introduced to the European Tour last year. The event was played on the Lake Karryinyup course in Perth, Australia course that is again being used this week. The winner was Brett Rumford which means he has the best form in the event and is Australian so in theory is playing at home. Golfers by nature are conservative and like routine and discipline so those that can adapt are leading contenders. Lee Westwood is as easy-going as they come and his attitude will be invaluable this week.
Westwood is a former world number one, is a regular in the Ryder Cup and the only player to finish in the top three of all four majors without winning one. He is the joint favourite with players who are not good enough to clean his golf shoes but needs must. Westwood would beat this field with his eyes shut and one hand tied behind his back in his pomp. It’s a long journey to Australia from his home in the UK and the prize money is not brilliant this week.
Westwood is playing for the 25th season on the European tour and is a 23-time winner. He has won the Order of Merit twice and represented Europe in seven Ryder Cups. Westwood is the same price in the betting as Jason Srivener, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Ryan Fox. Honest solid pros no doubt but not in the same parish as Westwood in terms of class and achievements. The format could be a leveller but if the cream rises to the top Westwood wins.
There are 54 holes of stroke play followed by two rounds of matchplay over six holes for the leading 24 players. There will be a sudden-death playoff to reduce the qualifiers for the knockout stages to 24. Over six holes it’s about playing aggressively from the start as there are no bedding in holes. You don’t want to be two down after two holes as that could be insurmountable over the remaining four holes. Westwood is proven in both forms of the game and is tipped this week.
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am combines professional players with amateurs. Rounds can take up to six hours and weather is often a factor. The event is being played over three courses on the Pacific Ocean coast in California. One of the first three rounds and the final round are played on the Pebble Beach Links which has hosted US Opens. The courses are not set up so that the amateurs can cope so this is still a genuine tournament that awards playing privileges to the winner. Phil Mickelson could win his fifth Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
A rare pro-am format calls for a relaxed temperament possessed by Mickelson. Some of the amateurs will be hacking around the course and may not be totally up to speed with tournament etiquette. Westwood and Mickelson have been around for ages and experience can be a big factor this week in which the veterans can double up on the European and PGA tours and that bet comes in at 699/1.