Congrats to all who backed Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama, the first Japanese male to win a Major. As usual, the women got there a long time ago - Chako Higuchi won the LPGA Championship back in 1977 - but this is a big, big deal in golf-crazy Japan.
It’s Masters time, spring is in the air and punters are ready for battle in the only Major that’s fought out on the same magnificent golf course every year and considering there are only 88 runners - 11 of them, three amateurs and eight of the nine ceremonial former champions, can be discounted - generous place terms are hard to resist.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the WGC-Dell Match Play as a betting proposition and congratulations to anybody still awake after the snoozefest which saw world No.34 Billy Horschel beating No.32 Scottie Scheffler in a turgid final which did golf no good at all.
Confession time... the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship has been in existence, in different guises, since 1999 and I’ve never tipped the winner. Or even a finalist!
Following two stupendously exciting Sundays in a row at Bay Hill and Sawgrass, the final leg of the Florida Swing, the Honda Classic, is very much After the Lord Mayor’s Show with none of the top 14 on the world rankings on the tee at PGA National.
The biggest prize fund outside the obscene sums they play for at the FedEx Cup showdown in September means it must be the Players Championship, a Major in all but name with almost certainly the best field we shall see all year.
Even Homer nods and, for once, the mighty Dustin Johnson finished out with the washing as newish kids on the block Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler, all under 25, strutted their stuff in the first WGC bonanza of 2021 at The Concession.
Everybody who’s anybody, bar in-form Paul Casey and the still-resting Tiger Woods, is on parade at the first $10.5m WGC bonanza of 2021, the Workday Championship at The Concession at Bradenton in south-west Florida.
We’re off to Hollywood this week and the glamour of Riviera Country Club at Pacific Palisades, just a drive and five-iron from Sunset Boulevard and the home course of Tinseltown A-listers past and present, from Charlie Chaplin to Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin to Glen Campbell and Walt Disney to Adam Sandler.
Hot favourite Dustin Johnson’s withdrawal from the Pebble Beach Pro-Am - though not a pro-am this year because of Covid - won’t have thrilled the sponsors but comes as a relief for the rest of the field, and for punters it opens up the contest dramatically.
Top Brits Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey hoovered up the first two legs of the Gulf Swing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and so emphatic were their victories that one of them could well make it an English hat-trick in this week’s all-star Saudi International.
The Emirates course in Dubai, this week’s European Tour stop, is the granddaddy of Gulf golf having hosted all but two of the Desert Classics since its launch in 1989, long before the other Gulf States jumped on the bandwagon.
European Tour 2021 bursts into action with a smash-bang-wallop Abu Dhabi Championship featuring superstars Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy and a dazzling supporting cast headed by last year’s winner, the ageless Lee Westwood.
Getting the six highest-rated golfers in the world beat in the opening event of the year, the Tournament of Champions, meant round one goes to the bookies even though winner Harris English would have far from friendless. We punters just have to get back up on our horse and fight back!
The curtain goes up this week on the PGA Tour year with the Tournament of Champions at its regular venue, Kapalua, in America’s 50th state - and what a sensational golf-fest 2021 promises to be if Covid allows it to thrive.
European Tour 2020 reaches its climax this week with the DP World Tour Championship which is a tournament within a tournament as it also decides the winner of the year-long Race To Dubai - what we oldies used to call the Order of Merit.
There’s a bumper bundle of TV golf this week with no fewer than four tournaments live on Sky, the Golf in Dubai Championship with its Wednesday start, the South African Open, the Mayakoba Classic from Mexico and the Texas Classic on the LPGA circuit.
Great news that crowds will finally be permitted at sporting events in the UK but there’s one obvious snag for golf aficionados – there’s nothing for them to see until long into 2021.
“Intelligent” isn’t the first adjective that comes to mind when discussing Dustin Johnson but it was the big fellow’s astute golfing intelligence that got him through to a first Green Jacket after nervous early last-day mistakes threatened to make it another Major that got away.
The Masters in November! It’s hard to get one’s head around it ... an eerie Augusta with no “patrons” (as the stuffed-shirts insist we call the fans), no dazzling magnolias, pink dogwood or flowering peach, a flat atmosphere and a two-tee start to make up for the loss of daylight.
No punter ever said betting on golf was a licence to print money but the 250-1 victory of forgotten man Brian Gay in Bermuda and Callum Shinkwin’s 125-1 breakthrough in Cyprus were hard to take coming on top of a 500-1 Italian job the previous weekend.
It wasn’t a great weekend to be a golf punter with Cinderella man Ross McGowan springing a 500/1 shock in the Italian Open and 28/1 shot Patrick Cantlay‘s nine-birdie Sunday cutting down the market leaders in the ZOZO Championship in California.
It’s Sod’s Law that the one week a journeyman who has failed to score in 232 attempts manages to hold it all together for the first time is the week he consigns your 14-1 punt to second place.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Sunday’s brilliant Wentworth winner Tyrrell Hatton head a powerful European onslaught on the $9.75m CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, a half-hour drive from the Las Vegas Strip.
But it’s still a cracking 10-1 the field tournament with American raider Patrick Reed and Tommy Fleetwood sharing the call even though the Southport star alarmingly missed two tiny putts on Sunday to gift the Scottish Open to Aaron Rai after a play-off.
Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick head the betting but don’t win as often as they should and at double the odds last year’s champion Bernd Wiesberger makes more appeal.
Old Man Par had a field day at Winged Foot where the US Open claimed a wheelbarrow-full of famous victims with only one out of 144, Bryson DeChambeau, beatIng him and only one more, Matthew Wolff, managing even a score-draw on level-par 280.
Don’t expect bucketfuls of birdies when the long-delayed US Open finally reaches hallowed Winged Foot this week.
Never in a half-century of writing about golf have I tipped a 50-year-old to win on the main PGA Tour but Phil Mickelson is no ordinary senior and Phil The Thrill has an outstanding chance of adding the Safeway Open to the 44 he has already collected.
Golf doesn’t get more exciting even when thousands of fans are there to see it than the Jon Rahm v Dustin Johnson showdown for the BMW Championship and it’s a shame there had to be a loser in this Boston Tee Party, all the more so if you were on DJ!
Dustin Johnson played golf from another planet over the weekend in reclaiming top spot on the world rankings and jumping to the head of the points queue in the race for the $15m FedEx Cup bonus.
You can see better golf swings than Jim Herman’s at Richmond Park public course but handsome is as handsome does and fair play to the 42-year-old Cincinnati journeyman for knocking off the Wyndham Championship with spectacular weekend rounds of 61 and 63 in North Carolina.
One Major down, two to go, the US Open in mid-September and the Masters, would you believe, teeing off at Augusta on November 12, a far cry from its “normal” date in early April. But there’s nothing normal about 2020, an unforgettable year for all the wrong reasons. Our Open, at Royal St George’s, has...
What a difference a week makes! One moment we’re hailing Jon Rahm as new world number one after his flashy win at Memorial and saying we wouldn’t back Brooks Koepka with a dud fiver to make it a hat-trick of US PGA Championships following yet another bad week at the office. The next, Rahm’s seven-day...
The big guns are rocking and rolling for the first $10.5m World Golf Championship showpiece since the restart, the St Jude Invitational in Elvis Presley country at Southwind, Memphis. Only Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Adam Scott are missing from the elite field of 78 the week before the first Major of this bizarre year.
What a crazy game golf is! The two favourites for their respective tournaments in the USA and Europe, Bryson DeChambeau and Joost Luiten, both shot a TEN on a par five on freaky Friday as punters stared in disbelief at their laptops and TV screens.
Whenever Tiger Woods tees it up, the world wants to know. Like Muhammad Ali and the Pied Piper of Hamelin, people follow him blindly. His charismatic genius transforms golf from the pathetically small space newspapers allocate it to big-time sport.
The world number one spot has been occupied twenty-one times by six different golfers since Rory McIlroy’s reascension to the throne. In that time, not one of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose or Brooks Koepka managed to rack up more than the 95 cumulative weeks that Rory had achieved by 2015.
Despite a lack of skill, gambler extraordinaire Lewis Deyong cunningly outsmarts the local sharks. A few years ago I became interested in playing golf and took a couple of lessons from the pro of the tiny Biot Golf Club near Antibes. Unfortunately, my swing was atrocious. As a lifelong tennis player, I couldn’t prevent the...
Tournament golf has remained largely unchanged for more than 60 years and has become somewhat stale. Every week it’s the same: four rounds of accumulative strokeplay, played from a Thursday to a Sunday. The only change in that time is there is now a tournament (almost) every week bar Christmas, both in America and on...