The inaugural Vivendi Cup is our final stop before the Ryder Cup - this is a new tournament for the European Tour and shouldn't be confused with Vivendi Trophy which was a matchplay tournament between GB & Ireland and Mainland Europe. The format of the Vivendi Cup is strokeplay, however the first 2 rounds are in a pro-am style over 2 courses and the final 36 is for professionals only.
Amongst the favourites we have Ryder Cup players Padraig Harrington and Peter Hanson - given that 6 of the last 8 European Tour events have been won by members of Monty's team, it's not surprising that these 2 are the favourites. My knee-jerk reaction is similar to that of last week - these guys are more likely to be treating this as a 'loosener' rather than an event they really want to compete in, so I'll be avoiding both in my selections.
The Golf de Joyenval course is Robert Trent Jones Snr design on the Western outskirts of Paris. A parkland course with a slight 'linksy' feel to it; the main protection for the course is it's large, undulating greens (quite severe in some cases). Sloping fairways make the course play a little narrower than expected, however the rough won't be penal given the pro-am format. In keeping with RTJ designs you'll also find a fair smattering of bunkers throughout, however with 4 reachable par 5s you'll need your scoring shoes on to truly compete here.
Other than the locals, there are only a handful of people with course experience, none moreso than Kennie Ferrie who won a Challenge Tour event on this course back in 2001 with a score of 20 under par. To take a look at this final leaderboard from that event click here. For me, the key will be how players perform on the greens as tee-to-green it should be pretty straightforward. The sub-plot of securing playing privileges for next season will be worth consideration, plus don't be surprised to see some of the players who performed well in the Czech Republic also performing well here. Given the unknown quantity of the course and the Ryder Cup distraction for the favourites, I'm favouring some tasty-priced outsiders this week. My 10 points for the week then:
Edberg has been playing some solid stuff this season and, if he's going to regain his card via the money list then he's going to need a few decent finishes sooner rather than later. He's right up there with the longest on Tour, averaging a touch under 302 yards, and his sometimes errant driving is less likely to be punished this week than most others. Sits in 5th spot for both putts per GIR and average putts per round - if ever there was a chance for the headband-sporting Swede to get his first win, then this is it according to the predictor and I'm inclined to agree. 11th last week was a disappointment when you consider he started 2 shots ahead of eventual winner JM Lara, however if he can put that aside he has a great chance here. RESULT: T15
It's been a poor season for the Dane by his standards, however I'm going to put some faith in his undoubted putting prowess and back him to spring back to form this week. With only 2 top 10 finishes to show for his efforts this season, it's only his efforts in the first 3 Majors - where he finished inside the top 40 each time - that have surely earned him his card for next season. At 72nd in the Race to Dubai, however, one final push could see him lining up in the lucrative end-of-season finale...RESULT: T3
The only player in the field with tangible course form is Ferrie and sitting at 113th in the Race to Dubai he knows that it's reaching that critical point in the season when needs must. His recent performances have been in and out - typically a fair performance followed by a missed cut - however on that basis this week should be positive for the Geordie. Shooting 20 under par to win here, even against lesser opposition, is no mean feat and Ferrie is a better player nearly 10 years later. RESULT: T19
We narrowly missed out on a 100/1 result with Morrison back in Seville when he lost out in a playoff to Alvaro Quiros. Some poor subsequent form has seen quotes on the man from Chertsey lengthen once again, however his 22nd in Holland was a welcome return to form and gives him a great platform to build upon this week. When he gets the putter going he can score very heavily - critical if he's to succeed this week at a very long price. RESULT: T8
The fact that Gane is 150/1 for this having finished inside the top 6 last week and 21st on this very course in 2001 is too good to miss for me. OK, he's more used to playing on the Challenge Tour, however he does have a couple of distant victories to his name in that format and stranger things have happened in golf. RESULT: T15
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 20:30BST 21.9.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
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