The whole golfing world will be focussed on Newport, Gwent for the Ryder Cup this weekend. However this Thursday also sees the return of the PGA Tour Fall Series. The ups and downs of World golf can be seen in crystal clear clarity by looking at some of the entries for this week’s Viking Classic which is played on a Par 72, 7,200 yard Nicklaus track in Mississippi.
2 years ago, Henrik Stenson and Chad Campbell had the world media glare on them as they prepared to play in the Ryder Cup at Valhalla. Oh the pitfalls of professional golf. Turning things completely on its head, 2009’s first Fall Series event was the Turning Stone in New York State which was won by Matt Kuchar. That’s right the same guy who should have won the FedEx Cup this season and is currently in South Wales for the biggest golfing event of his career.
Fall Series events attract for a key reason. Form goes out of the window and you can strike upon players at juicy prices. Now that can’t be bad!
With Annandale, a Nicklaus Bermuda greened track, the key to selecting players is a mix of those that have had a decent season allied to those that sit in and around the Top 125 $ earners on Tour. Sit outside the Top 125 at the end of the season and you lose your playing privileges for 2011 unless you have a current medical or win exemption. Now there is simply nothing that motivates a player more than losing his ticket to PGA Tour riches.
Major Champion Micheel has had been rejuvenated in 2011 and is comfortably within the Top 125 money earners on the PGA Tour. No pressure then for Mr Micheel whose lives in next door Tennessee. He’s actually bagged 3 Top 10 finishes on Tour this season and has moved from +500 to 140 in the World Golf Rankings. Being from the Deep South which includes “Sunshine State” education, he has a serious love of Bermuda greens. Indeed he finished 4th at St Jude on his last Bermuda outing in June. It gets better……Shaun loves Annandale and was 5th here in 2005 and 2007. RESULT: T45
Regulars of my column know that I have a soft spot for the South Carolina-bred Byrd. Well it’s finally time to deliver for this 3-time PGA Tour winner. 130th on the PGA Tour money list with no exemptions will motivate Jonathan to perform after a season that has netted 2 Top 10 finishes. Interestingly one of Byrd’s regular tournament haunts is the fast Bermuda conditions of Copperhead in Tampa where he regularly contends and T10s. A recent form line of 56-34-10-21 encourages and you can guarantee that losing his playing privileges for the first time since 2002 will focus the mind at a course that yielded 5th in said year and 8th in 2004. RESULT: T5
I love the look of our Predictor Model No 1 D.J. this week especially with Paddy Power who are offering £50 of free bets via Golf betting System and are offering superb ‘Free Ryde’ Ryder Cup money back specials. Like Byrd, Trahan is a South Carolina boy whose game is based around hitting fairways and greens via superb ball striking. 4th in Greens in Regulation and 6th in Ball Striking prove the point. 2010 has yielded 4 Top 10 finishes including 10th at the recent Deutsche event in Boston. If the putter is even lukewarm expect a decent week at decent odds for Trahan who won here in 2006 & finished 7th and 8th on Bermuda earlier in the season at Bay Hill and St Jude. RESULT: T3
Time and again George McNeill saves his card in the Fall Series. The Floridian is a true October Fall Series specialist! His only PGA Tour victory was aptly in the 2007 Fall Series at the Shriners Open on Bermuda greens in Arizona. 2008 saw a 2nd at the Ginn sur Mer Classic on Bermuda in his home state of Florida. Fast forward to 2009 and guess what? McNeill enters the Fall Series outside of the Top 125 money earners then proceeds to finish 2nd in Arizona again and backs that up with 2nd at the season ending Disney tournament in Florida. Naturally both were on Bermuda! 5 Missed Cuts in a row doesn’t fill the bookmakers with enthusiasm but don’t despair as George had missed 4 in a row going into the Shriners last season... RESULT: T52
Turning full circle to where I started this column off we have Brett Wetterich. In 2006 and 2007 Wetterich was a class act, Top 40 in the World grossing over $5,000,000 over the course of those 2 seasons. Rewind again to 2006 and his first PGA Tour victory at the Byron Nelson ultimately delivered an appearance in the Ryder Cup at the K Club. Now Ohio-born Florida resident Wetterich is fighting for his PGA Tour career after a shoulder injury meant he missed the bulk of 2009 and this season through a major medical extension. This guy can play Bermuda and a form line of 34-16-21 highlights uplift in his game. Brett returning to the winners circle at the Viking Classic 4 years after reaching the pinnacle of his golfing career would make for a great movie but sometimes the Fall Series can be better than fiction. RESULT: T8
All odds and bookmaker offers correct at 08:00BST 29.9.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
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