Paul Williams' tips for the 2010 BMW PGA Championship:
The West Course at Wentworth has undergone some quite dramatic changes in the last 12 months, some I'm sure that the original designer Harry Colt would agree with; some perhaps not so. Ernie Els has been the chief instigator of the new layout where updates have been made to all 18 holes, predominantly around the greens and bunkering. That said, many of the holes will still resemble that of previous years however they've simply been updated to cater for the type of kit carried by the modern-day professional golfer.
So what do we know? The course will now play as a par 71 over 7,261 yards with the 12th reverting to a long par 4, however we'll still retain the unique double par 5 finish - albeit the 18 will now present a new challenge with a water feature running in front of the green. The greens have been re-laid with Bent Grass which will be much more at home to those playing on the PGA Tour (think Augusta, Colonial, Muirfield etc) and the bunkers have been toughened to give a tougher feel overall. Typically a score of 15-under par will get you in contention around here, however I'd suggest shaving 5 shots off that with the changes - even with forecast good weather. The parallels with Augusta may even be more striking when we finally get chance to see it on Thursday - as such I've included the results from this year's Masters in the predictor for good measure.
In terms of the predictor, I have given less credence to previous results around here due to the changes; good form, solid bunker play, accuracy and general quality of player are likely to be key factors. Here's my picks:
Lee Westwood 3pts win 12/1 Bet Fred. RESULT: T10
Let's get Westwood out of the way early doors - plus, if the Post tip him tomorrow, then expect 12/1 to be long gone so dive in quickly. The World number 3 has the opportunity now to get back to winning ways in this flagship event and send a signal out to his peers that he can close down a tournament. Whilst you can't discard Els and McIlroy as the other 2 players vying for favouritism, to me Westwood has the best credentials.
His putting has been very strong this year and his form is solid - 4th at The Players was his last start. Long and accurate as always, it is however his 2nd at the Masters that really sets him up for this event. Indifferent form in this event by his high standards with 2 top 10s in 9 starts, however I think the new greens will be to his liking this week and I'm expecting him to make a serious breakthrough to get his season really motoring.
Padraig Harrington 1.5pts EW 25/1 Paddy Power. RESULT: T6
Whilst Harrington's quality is undoubted, his form has been indifferent in recent times meaning he's now at a price very well worth backing, particularly with Paddy Power offering 6 places Each Way. A 4th place in Dubai, 3rd at Doral and a 7th at Quail Hollow all point towards a positive movement in form if you can ignore the missed cut at Sawgrass.
What convinces me here is his reaction to the new West Course when he played a few weeks ago - historically Harrington hasn't been a fan of Wentworth, however he's now singing its praises - read this article here. I think you'll find Paddy in the hunt this week, and the other Paddy - Mr Power - could be in line for a monster payout....
Alejandro Canizares 2pts Top 10 13/2 Extrabet. RESULT: T48
Yawn....another week, another tip by Williams on Canizares. Well, don't ignore it - get on it! Extrabet pay out in full for ties on the top 10 market of course making this a real value bet, plus they're best priced at the time of writing - some firms are as short as 4/1 on a man whose last 3 starts read 3/10/2 and is on the top of his form.
James Morrison 1pt Top 10 16/1 Totesport. RESULT: Missed Cut
James Morrison 0.5pts EW 1st round leader 125/1 Sky Bet RESULT: T44
Morrison is also in cracking form and can't be ignored. 2 missed cuts in his last 6 starts have been interspersed with finishes of 4/6/1/2 - in fact taking a breather last weekend is a positive move in my view. He's very capable of throwing in a very low round at any time - a few quid on this being round 1 is my preference also.
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