20/121.00 Cameron backed to claim first title at Hero
Steve backs Morikawa for Hero redemption
Ferguson backed by two of our experts in SA
Steve Rawlings: "Viktor Hovland heads the market as he attempts the hat-trick, but he looks short enough at around 9/2.
He putted brilliantly last year, taking 23 on Saturday and 24 on Sunday. But the putter was cold on the last occasion we saw him, at the DP World Tour Championship two weeks ago, where he missed three from six feet on Sunday before finishing tied for second behind Nicolai Hojgaard.
We haven't seen Scottie Scheffler since the Ryder Cup so it's impossible to know how he's playing and there's a chance he might be a bit rusty.
"Collin Morikawa has some scar tissue to deal with after his horrendous collapse here two years ago but his victory in the ZOZO Championship last time out may be a huge turning point in his career.
"He looked imperious until his defeat in this event in 2021 and he also lost a big lead at the Sentry Tournament of Champions (six strokes) in January, so he'd gone almost two years without a win until his victory in Japan last month.
"For a player of Morikawa's ability, that was a long drought, but now he's won again the floodgates could open. He's a class act and the course suits him perfectly so I was happy to chance him at 9.4."
Dave Tindall: "This could be a great chance for Cameron Young to put a trophy in the cabinet. With finishes of eighth (Hoylake) and second (St Andrews) in the last two Open Championships, he's clearly one to look at in elite fields by the coast.
"I also like the fact that he'll be sharper than some following a couple of recent runs, also next to the sea.
"A 54th in the World Wide Technology Championship followed by 38th at the RSM Classic doesn't look much on first glance but his round scores give those bare numbers greater appeal.
"The American opened with a 65 and closed with a 64 in Mexico while he fired 64, 68, 68, 68 at the RSM. Then, of course, there's the little matter of his third place finish here on debut 12 months ago when a pair of 68s on the weekend helped put him on the podium."
Andy Swales: "One of the main complaints levelled at the defeated United States team at this year's Ryder Cup, was that they lacked a competitive edge going into the match - and subsequently only won one of the opening 12 ties.
"The same opinion can be applied to a number of players taking part this week, including Scottie Scheffler whose most recent 72-hole tournament was the Tour Championship in August.
"It may be best to plump for a pro who has teed-up more recently. Two players who fit this bill are Max Homa 13/2 and Justin Thomas 16/1.
"Homa has competed twice since the Tour Championship, finishing tied-seventh at the Fortinet Championship and winning at Sun City in South Africa. He was also America's most successful performer at the Ryder Cup."
South African Open Tips and Predictions
Steve Rawlings: "This is a tournament that has changed quite significantly in recent years. It used to be a highly valued prize for the home contingent and between 2002 and 2011, 10 of the 11 winners were experienced South Africans.
"Trevor Immelman, Tim Clark and Retief Goosen have all won the tournament twice recently and Ernie Els has taken the title five times in total. But it's lost some of its gravitas over the last decade or so.
"The last five winners have all been well-fancied South Africans but five of the six winners before Louis Oosthuizen in 2019 were from overseas.
"For what it's worth, the first three home at both this event last year and the Blair Atholl Championship in 2021 were never more than four strokes off the lead after any round and Lawrence won this event wire-to-wire.
"Since missing the cut at Wentworth, Ferguson has been very consistent, producing form figures reading 10-54-9-13-16-20-9 and he's highly likely to contend again here.
"He's playing the venue for the first time. He's better known for his accurate tee game than his power but he's a class act who won twice on the DP World Tour last year."
Matt Cooper: "Scott Jamieson's only win on the DP World Tour came in the 2012 Nelson Mandela Championship, albeit an event with many an asterisk next to it.
"It was played inside a race track, completed on a course with a reduced par of 65, over 36 holes, and the trophy was utterly bizarre. Since then poor Jamieson has had no less than five pre-final round leads in South Africa and is yet to add to his winning tally.
"But if it's going to happen why not on a Player layout? Jamieson has four top-six finishes at Leopard Creek and was T11th last year, he's been second at Gary Player CC and was T15th last year, he's been third on the Player Course at DLF and he was T15th on debut at Blair Atholl last year when tied fourth after 18 holes."
Dave Tindall: "Gavin Green is a player first-round leader punters always have in mind when the circumstances looks right. The Malaysian cemented his reputation as a fast starter last year when ending day one inside the top seven no less than five times in eight events.
"He also hit the ground running in this part of the world back in the Spring when opening with 66s at the Kenya Open and the Jonsson Workwear Open, good enough for fifth and seventh respectively after 18 holes.
"Since then he's been FRL at the European Masters high up in mountains of Crans which bodes well given that we're at altitude in Joburg again this week. Talking of Joburg, he finished like a train last week, closing out with a 64 to bank seventh spot."
Steve Rawlings: "The hugely talented Italian Renato Paratore has already won twice on the DP World Tour. Paratore missed the cut at the Joburg Open last week but, as highlighted in the preview, all of the contenders last year had either not played in the Joburg, or underperformed there so that doesn't unduly worry me. He's already shown an aptitude for this venue having finished 15th last year.
"He is not a spectacularly good price at 100.0 but he knows how to get the job done if he starts nicely, so I was prepared to take the chance."
Andy Swales: "This spacious course is laid out across the estate's rolling countryside, with a number of changes in elevation. Fairways are generous, while water comes into play on 10 holes, with pros needing to avoid Crocodile River which zig-zags across the venue.
"South Africans tend to dominate these co-sanctioned events on home soil, especially if the field is low on quality. Although he is not one of South Africa's top stars, world No 148 Zander Lombard 25/1 has played reasonably well of late and is certainly no slouch off the tee.
"He tied fourth in Johannesburg at the weekend, having last month finished runner-up in the Spanish Open."
Australian Open Tips and Predictions
Andy Swales: "Water comes into play on seven holes at The Australian, which also features plenty of sand and will demand accuracy from the tee, along with good course management.
"No player, during the last decade, has a course history at The Australian as good as Matt Jones 33/1. The 43-year-old from Sydney has twice won the national open at this venue, and has also finished second here.
"However, Jones, who is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, has not enjoyed the best of seasons on the Saudi-backed LIV Tour."
Read Steve Rawlings' in-play blog across the weekend for the latest updates from this week's tournaments