Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson are the respective favourites for this week’s tournaments on the two regular Tours. Both look worth taking on and the OnParProfits service managed through Winning Information Network has suggested some viable alternatives to the market leaders. The double header of events should provide plenty of betting opportunities and viewing this week and we have highlighted some possible contenders through this new golf service.
The Abu Dhabi Championship on the European Tour marks the beginning of the lucrative Middle East Swing and the money put up by the sponsors from the same country as Manchester City’s backers has attracted a strong field. The entry looks even stronger than for the Humana Challenge in the States and includes Phil Mickelson.
The Open champion rarely played outside America except for that major championship but venturing worldwide may be a new policy in view of how he won the Open last year. He had never won a tournament in Britain or on a links course before the start of last July. He won the Scottish Open and then duly followed up by winning the Claret Jug and his fifth major in total.
Mickelson will be a great attraction in Abu Dhabi and could well be playing soon being one of just six players who have achieved a career Grand Slam. After winning the Open last summer Lefty now just needs the US Open to complete the set. He has finished second six times in the national championship of his country and it would be a fitting achievement if he won that elusive title in June.
In the context of the Abu Dhabi Championship Mickelson has played on the course in the United Arab Emirates just once in the last six years. He finished well down the field, 19 shots behind the winner who in that year was Martin Kaymer. The Abu Dhabi Golf Club course puts a premium on finding the greens in the correct number of shots, an area in which Mickelson does not excel.
If there is such a thing as a standing dish in a golf tournament that would be Kaymer. Over the four year spell between 2008 and 2011 he won three times and finished just a shot behind Paul Casey in the other year. Even during a relatively poor run of form Kaymer contended last year when he ended the week five shots behind the champion, Jamie Donaldson.
Henrik Stenson is another big attraction this week as he embarks on a new season in which he will be defending his FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai titles. He is the only player to have won each of the Tour post-season money lists in the same year. Stenson has a solid record in this part of the world and his greens in regulation stats on the US Tour last year indicate a player suited to the course.
This will be a big season for McIlroy after his annus horribilis last year. Legal disputes with suppliers, playing with new clubs, walking of the course mid-round and reportedly splitting from his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and than getting engaged to her all contributed to create a scrambled mind. He seems happier with his swing now and given a clear head McIlroy can get back to his status as the second best golfer in the world, behind Tiger of course.
The current world number one has not been seen playing competitively on the course this year. He will no doubt be preparing for his annual trip to Dubai in a fortnight and in his absence the shortest priced player for the Humana Challenge is Johnson at12-1. That player won the season opening Tournament of Champions and was on the periphery of the leadeboard at the Sony Open in Hawaii last week. A busy schedule with plenty of travelling makes Johnson a weak favourite in the California desert at La Quinta.
The Humana Challenge used to be called the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and was played over five rounds. It is now a regular 72 hole event but maintains its pro-am features and rounds can take up to six hours. Three courses in La Quinta are played in rotation and due to the different degrees of difficulty of the courses the stagger will only unwind after play on Saturday. Due to the nature of the pro-am format players must show the patience not to get frustrated by the pace of play.
The host courses are based in a resort and are prepared to give the amateurs a chance of playing to their handicap. That makes the layouts relatively easy for the professionals and those that hole the most puts will contend. In recent years there is some evidence to indicate that long driving will also be a key skill. The fairways are generous so provide some latitude from the tee. However, birdie conversion will be the most important attribute at La Quinta.
Bill Haas has the best recent course form in the field. He is a two times winner and made the cut in each year from 2008 to 2012. Has is not quite at the level that saw him win the FedEx Cup in 2011 which boosted his bank account by over 11 million dollars. Maybe the hunger has gone as there has been a dip in form but if former glories are to be recaptured soon it will be in California this week.
Harris English competes again after a great tournament in Hawaii last week. He did nothing wrong over the weekend but just found Jimmy Walker too good down the stretch. A bogey free round of 63 clinched the deal for Walker but English looks like adding to his tally of two wins on the main Tour this year. Billy Horschel is another young player who won his first PGA Tour event last season and could contend.
However, Rory McIlroy will be the main golfing story this week as he looks to win his sixth European Tour event and the first prize of over 300,000 euro which should help to fund a nice honeymoon with Ms. Wozniacki.
Visit OnParProfits – CLICK HERE