Steve takes his customary look back at last week's golf action as he recounts all the market moves and asks an uncomfortable question about a once nerveless German...
“I’m not for one moment suggesting that at just 30 years of age this multiple major champion and Ryder Cup star is now a gibbering wreck to be opposed at every opportunity but it’s worth just applying a bit of caution and it may well be worth taking him on at long odds-on the next time he has the jam-stick in his sights.”
Last week's two tournaments were like chalk and cheese. Jason Day powered his way to the top of the world rankings with a facile six-stroke victory at the BMW Championship, an event that couldn't be described as thrilling, whereas the Open D'Italia was an absolute cracker.
At one point yesterday, nine men were tied for the lead and plenty of players looked like winning at one time or another. Danny Willett and David Lipsky were both matched at just 6.05/1, Fabrizio Zanotti, Bernd Wiesberger and Lucas Bjerregaard hit a low of 5.04/1, Romain Wattel and Jens Fahrbring were both matched at just 3.55/2 and Martin Kaymer, who had led by three strokes at the turn, was matched at a low of 1.211/5.
Kaymer lost his way after the turn, bogeying three holes in five and he needed a birdie at the 16th to draw back alongside eventual winner, Rikard Karlberg, who was brilliantly tipped up by Mike Norman at 66/1 on the each-way column, which is now in profit to the tune of £824.70!
Having not really looked like placing on the front nine, Karlberg came through with a wet sail to win his first European Tour title with birdies at 10, 14, 16 and 17 to post 19-under-par and he was matched in-running at a high of 190.0189/1.
It's been quite a year for the Swede, who's also a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, as he got married earlier in the year and his wife is expecting twins in December.
Having had what amounted to little more than a saver on Jason Day at the start of the week, I've managed to scrape a tiny profit. With hindsight, the Open D'Italia would have been a great event to trade but I've been a bit lazy and baring a few small in-running bets that came to nothing, it was an event I didn't get stuck in to.
FedEx Form the Strongest Pointer Yet Again
I backed Day and Rickie Fowler almost entirely because they'd each won one of the first two FedEx Cup playoff events and I shall probably do so again later today in the series deciding Tour Championship. With Day doubling up with wins in The Barclays three weeks ago and now the BMW, we've now seen seven players win two of the four events in just nine years and it's happened in each of the last four seasons.
Molly's Worth Taking on At Home
Year after year, Francesco Molinari begins the week as favourite for the Open D'Italia but year after year the pressure takes its toll. He was the youngest ever winner of the event back in 2006 but I suspect he may not ever double his tally. He started well this year and was matched at 4.77/2 as early as Thursday but he was never in the hunt after a disappointing second round and layers in the win and place markets never had a moments worry as he limped home in a tie for 20th. No doubt, he'll be well-fancied again in 12 months time but I suspect history will repeat itself and the pressure of winning his national title will yet again prove too much to bear for fragile Franny.
Has Kaymer Lost His Nerve?
For anyone that witnessed his nerveless defeat of Bubba Watson in extra time at Whistling Straits at the 2010 USPGA Championship, his brilliant putt to win the Ryder Cup three years ago (see below) or his demolition job at Pinehurst last year to win the US Open, that may seem a ridiculous question but it's one that's worth posing...
I was onboard Kaymer at the HSBC Champions event in November when he was uncharacteristically shaky at the finish and he's fared a lot worse in-contention since. He was fully ten clear at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January when over £50k was matched at 1.011/100 before he lost out there to Gary Stal and yesterday's performance has to be described as a bit iffy at best. I fully expected him to convert from three clear in that company and I'm not in the least bit surprised that he was matched at just 1.171/6 but I have to wonder if that incredible collapse in Abu Dhabi has left a scar?
I'm not for one moment suggesting that at just 30 years of age this multiple major champion and Ryder Cup star is now a gibbering wreck to be opposed at every opportunity but it's worth just applying a bit of caution and it may well be worth taking him on at long odds-on the next time he has the jam-stick in his sights. Somewhat strangely, that won't be this week though.
I thoroughly expected him to line-up up in his homeland on Thursday as the European Open makes a comeback at the Bernard Langer-designed Bad Griesbach Golf Resort but there's still going to be a decent field assembling so I'll preview that one tomorrow and I'll be back later today with a look at the FedEx Cup decider at East Lake, where five of the world's top six players have their destiny in their own hands. Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, and Henrik Stenson can all still win the FedEx Cup, if they can win the Tour Championship.
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