Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
These days the Irish Open is a big European event, and even more so with Danny Willett becoming the first Masters defending champion to play since Olazabal in 1995. It’s also run by Rory McIlroy’s foundation and he will have a close eye on proceedings. Concentration will be even harder for Rory to keep this week with the extra pressure of hosting the tournament and trying to record his first win of the season at the same time.
Plenty of history from the K Club, including the Europeans smashing the US at the Ryder Cup in the 90’s. That leads us nicely to my first pick, Lee Westwood who’s won three matches way back then and has also performed well here on many occasion. Some may say he’s past it, but the Masters showing was proof there is life in the old dog and he can use his course experience too contend on Sunday.
Ross Fisher is another with decent course form and he’s been playing consistently this season, but without getting the results. Sixth place at an extremely hard Open de Espana shows he’s in the right place and he’ll be coming here fairly fresh after managing his season well.
One of my favourite golfers who could have won a couple of weeks ago in Morocco but just missed out on the play off is Robert Rock. Runner up in 2009 and 2013 in this event he boasts great course form and this year he has only missed one cut, and that was down to an injured back in Spain. I like the way he is playing, no flare but very straight and precise with his irons which is needed at this tournament.
Finally my big outsider is Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee. He hasn’t managed to match past seasons on the European Tour, but at the same time rarely misses the cut. He’s always played good golf in Ireland and has the class to compete in this high class field. He also has the ability to play well in the wind, which is always a possibility in the Emerald Isle. Another player who has reduced his schedule but coming here fresh could be just the ticket.
Advised Bets (All 1 point Each way)