BMW PGA Championship: Dave Tindall rates the top 10 for current, course, English and long-term form
Dave Tindall arms you with the stats that matter for a punt on the Top 5 and Top 10 Finish markets ahead of the BMW PGA Championship...
"In the last few seasons he's made a mockery of past course form so it's far better to focus on the fact that he now sits 12th in the World Rankings and is a genuinely elite player."
Rory's "weird" relationship with Wentworth
Course form doesn't come any stranger than Rory's at Wentworth. Three missed cuts in his last four visits but the odd one out a win in 2014. No wonder he says "I've had a weird relationship with Wentworth." McIlroy missed last year with a rib injury so hasn't seen the revamped course and maybe he'll be able to put some of the poor performances behind him. A brilliant winner at Bay Hill earlier this season, he also showed up well with T5 at Augusta National even though it wasn't the result he wanted. A missed cut at the Players Championship last time adds to the feeling that we just don't know what we're going to get with the Northern Irishman this week.
Last four events: MC-16-5-36
Course form: MC-1-MC-MC-24-48-5-MC
England form: 2-4-MC-1-1-MC-60-MC-25-24
Last 50 starts - Win: 10%, Top 5: 38%, Top 10: 48%
Fleetwood relishing home game
"I feel comfortable on the course and feel like it suits me," Fleetwood said on Tuesday. "There may be the odd tee shot that doesn't quite fit my eye and it just so happens that the last couple years, I've had poor performances. One of those years, 2016 was like a bit of a write-off but last year I came in on good form and I didn't quite produce the golf that I wanted to. But I love the course and I love playing in front of the home crowd that we get here." Fleetwood's words reflect his mixed results but let's not forget the huge jump in class he's shown over the last couple of seasons. T7 at Sawgrass was the latest example of that.
Last four events: 7-MC-4-17
Course form: MC-69-6-MC-24-49
England form: 27-MC-4-69-13-6-MC-MC-24
Last 50 starts - Win: 6%, Top 5: 20%, Top 10: 42%
Noren offers mixed case for defence
"That final round must be definitely up there, probably first in my career," said Noren of last year's stunning 62 which gave him a two-shot win having started Sunday's closer a full seven shots off the pace. "It's by far the biggest tournament I've won, and it would be unreal to defend it. I think it was a shock to me to win it. I played it ten times before last year and I always thought the golf course was not up my alley. I made it, in my head, a bigger tournament than it maybe is - it's already huge and then I made it feel even bigger." Perhaps, as with Sawgrass, it's another example of a top player having a very up-and-down record at the course and never fully being able to conquer it. Noren has shown lots of great form in the US this year and there were some good signs at The Players that he's starting to peak again.
Last four events: 17-MC-MC-3
Course form: 1-43-8-WD-32-21-MC-74-21-6-MC
England form: MC-6-1-1-43-8-WD-32
Last 50 starts - Win: 10%, Top 5: 20%, Top 10: 30%
Casey back after five-year gap
Casey is a two-time winner at Wentworth - the HSBC World Match Play Championship in 2006 and this event in 2009. But he hasn't actually made the cut there since 2011 after early exits in 2012 and 2013 and then an absence from the event ever since as he focused on America. "It's a bit of a homecoming for me," said Casey, who grew up in Surrey. "Wentworth is really one of the reasons I now play golf. I used to go to watch the PGA Championship when I was a kid and watching Faldo and Seve play round that golf course was really what sparked my interest in the game. I love the course and love everything about it, and I would love to win another one." On most of his form over the last couple of years, he'd have a great chance. The fly in the ointment: Just how is this bad back which forced him to pull out of the Players Championship?
Last four events: 5-MC-15-17
Course form: MC-MC-24-17-1-10-5-12-1-11
England form: 11-9-47-MC-MC-MC-54-24-17-1
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 24%, Top 10: 38%
Grace arriving on a high
Grace celebrated his 30th birthday last Sunday by shooting a 62 to finish tied third at the AT&T Byron Nelson. That'll be the same number - the one which broke the record for lowest ever round in a major - he fired on his last trip to England when taking T6 in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Those good omens are backed up by some impressively consistent Wentworth form. His secret: "I always play this golf course a little bit aggressive. I like hitting the low stinger with a driver around a lot of those holes where some of the other guys might hit 3-woods and things like that. Just stick to the game plan, do the same and hopefully roll in some putts."
Last four events: 3-46-24-29
Course form: 9-11-61-24-5
England form: 6-9-11-36-61-24-77-5-MC-18
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 10%, Top 10: 18%
Molinari an annual contender at Wentworth
Molinari is Wentworth's Mr Consistency. Change and tweak the course as much as you like and the Italian will keep delivering the goods. His record shows five top 10s in the last six years, his closest brush coming with his second place 12 years ago when he was overtaken by Noren's incredible 62. "I just like the course obviously. I think it rewards accuracy more than others, so it suits my game. I think you need to be in control of the ball flight as much as you can all the time with the wind swirling around in the trees. I just enjoy playing around here, I always have, and hopefully I always will." In the negative ledger? A wrist injury has hampered him and he boasted a similar record of high-class consistency at Sawgrass but missed the cut at the Players Championship on his last start.
Last four events: MC-16-49-20
Course form: 2-55-5-7-9-7-50-17-35-MC-30-MC
England form: MC-2-55-38-5-13-15-7-9-39
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 12%, Top 10: 24%
Lowry looking for usual spark
Lowry has had a very modest time of it on the PGA Tour since January, managing just one top 20 finish (T14 Houston) in 11 starts. But we've been here before with the Irishman. Get him to back to Wentworth and suddenly he comes alive. Four top six finishes in his last seven starts at HQ have made him a hugely popular annual punt while he's also shown up well in recent editions of the British Masters in England (T7 last year and runner-up in 2015. "Obviously I love this place," he said after an opening 68 last year. "I love being here. I love the tournament. The crowds are great. I like the golf course. I said to my caddie walking off the last green, if we could play here every week, I would be happy enough."
Last four events: 46-34-28-14
Course form: 6-MC-6-2-12-68-4-65
England form: 7-MC-6-41-MC-2-6-9-9-2
Last 50 starts - Win: 0%, Top 5: 4%, Top 10: 12%
Fitzpatrick eyes another home win
The Sheffield golfer didn't come here as a kid but loves playing in England. "The crowds here are fantastic. The British, English crowds, they know about golf and they know what a good shot is." Fitzpatrick gained his first European Tour win on home soil when landing the British Masters at Woburn (another tree-lined track in the south of England) and he closed with a 66 at Wentworth last year to post T12. His type of player (think Luke Donald) have done well at the West Course down the years and he was fifth for greens in regulation at Sawgrass after finishing T14 in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
Last four events: 46-14-38-36
Course form: 12-47
England form: 11-44-12-49-47-1
Last 50 starts - Win: 4%, Top 5: 12%, Top 10: 20%
Hatton hoping to follow in hero's footsteps
"This is my favourite event of the year," said Hatton ahead of the 2017 event. "It's close to home. Stay at home this week. I have my family here. Because I've been coming here since I was a five-year-old, it's special to now play the tournament. My earliest memory I think is when Vijay Singh nearly hit me on 18 after blocking it right. Luckily he didn't hit me!" The Englishman has made all four cuts and had a big chance to win in 2016 after shooting a Saturday 66 but disappointed with a closing 75. He's posted three top 10s in his last five starts on home soil although recent form in American is pretty modest with no top 40s in his last four starts and a missed cut last time at Sawgrass.
Last four events: MC-42-MC-44
Course form: 30-7-46-38
England form: 8-MC-40-9-7-13-46-MC-38-22
Last 50 starts - Win: 6%, Top 5: 24%, Top 10: 38%
Dunne one of the form horses
The 54-hold leader in the 2015 Open at St. Andrews when still an amateur, Dunne secured his first European Tour title last October when shooting a stunning final-round 61 to capture the British Masters at Close House. Earlier this month we saw him return to England and land the GolfSixes alongside Irish partner Gavin Moynihan. Let's just say Dunne loves teeing it up in the UK. He also brings bags of current form to the table after a pair of top 10s on the PGA Tour in March/April, a second place in the Open de Espana and T7 in the China Open last time. Everything suggests he can kick on from his quietly promising Wentworth debut in 2017 when he closed with a 69 to finish T30.
Last four events: 7-MC-2-8
Course form: 30
England form: 1-30-25-MC
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 8%, Top 10: 20%
Tommy Fleetwood has had one good knock here (T6 in 2015) and I think it's high time he had another.
All the Englishman's recent play suggests it's coming and his T7 at Sawgrass followed a T41 there the previous year.
Fleetwood also set a PB at Augusta National earlier this year when T17 and in the last few seasons he's made a mockery of past course form so it's far better to focus on the fact that he now sits 12th in the World Rankings and is a genuinely elite player.
I'm happy to go for the bigger payout and back him at [5.3] for a top five.
Shane Lowry has cracked the top 10 in four of his last seven starts here and, on those basic numbers, is well worth a bet to do so again at [3.75].
While his American form has lacked sparkle, he's only missed one cut since February (seven starts) and will relish being back on this side of the Atlantic.
He's actually finished outside the top six here just once in the last four years and was T12 before that so he's just about as reliable as they come at Wentworth.
Dave's 2017 Top 5/10 P/L (based on £10 per selection)
Back Tommy Fleetwood for Top 5 @ [5.3]
Back Shane Lowry for Top 10 @ [3.75]