This week’s golf in Memphis and Austria has a real pre-Major feel about it, with all eyes looking ahead to the impending US Open at Pinehurst.
Dustin Johnson is 16/1 market leader for the St Jude Classic after the late withdrawl of Matt Kuchar and he has an obvious chance but has been playing a lot of golf recently without a break.
Lee Westwood meanwhile, won here in 2010 and is playing well at present so he has to be one of Europe’s major contenders.
The US Open means so much to Phil Mickleson and after last year’s Open Championship triumph at Muirfield it is the only one he is missing. ‘Lefty’ won the Scottish Open in the week before landing the Open so victory at the St Jude Classic, at 18/1, could be an omen.
Elsewhere, this is an ideal course for David Toms who looks value at 50/1 in an event where experience has often proved crucial and I was delighted for Paul Casey who played really well at Muirfield Village last week before earning a place in the US Open in Monday’s qualifying competition. I rate him as a great each-way shout at 40/1 to continue his fine form in Memphis.
It is easy to see why Joost Luiten is market leader for the Lyoness Open but even in a poor field I was hoping for better odds than Ladbrokes’s top price of 6/1 for him to retain his title in Austria.
Belgium are lively outsiders for the upcoming football World Cup while the Belgians also have a dark house in young golfer Thomas Pieters too look out for here. He lost in a play-off to Miguel Angel Jimenez in the recent Spanish Open at Girona and has a sporting each-way chance at 50/1 this time around.
Robert Rock, at 80/1 also looks over the odds while 40/1 shot David Horsey will fancy his chances in one of the weaker fields on the European Tour so far this season.
The same, of course, cannot be said about the field for next week’s US Open, which is shaping up to be a real thriller.