Whistling Straits awaits


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Maybe predicting Shane Lowry was a good tip to win The Open Championship at St Andrews last month was a bit premature from me. Maybe not though, I still believe he could have been up there, except for that disastrous eight he got on the infamous par-4 17th road hole. He proved that just last weekend with his first win on US soil at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title in Ohio against some top names. Well played Shane.

Rory’s back! For me this could go two ways for him after his “football” injury and recent time off. Yes he’ll get around with a good score and with no real trouble, that goes without saying these day. He will not quite have enough to challenge and pick up as many birdies as we come to expect thought and he’ll leave the tournament relatively happy to be back.

Or he comes back so relaxed, refreshed and raring to go that he smashes the field and runs away with it, personally I cannot see that happening for a while now. Not with Jordan Spieth in the form he’s currently in, challenging for every single tournament he competes in and reminding us how dominant Tiger was all those years back.

Whistling Straights is the venue again for the 97th US PGA Championship, having previously held it here twice before back in 2004 and 2010. On both those occasions the winner was decided by a play off, which says it’s very difficult for one player to break away with a huge lead.

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Bubba lost on that occasion to Martin Kaymer but a lot of the usual suspects this time around did well last time too. The likes of Zack Johnson, Jason Dufner, Jason Day, along with Mcllroy were all up there.

Maybe the American Nick Watney can go well again like last time, so he’s my outside tip and he goes out first with Brit Ian Poulter. Then two other Brits to keep an eye on, obviously Justin Rose but not forgetting Danny Willett. Good luck boys.

I love watching the major US golf tournaments, mainly time wise too for us watching in the UK. You can get your jobs done, go to work but then mid/late afternoon when you get home you know you can sit down for the rest of evening to chill out and watch some outstanding golf. The Sunday evening finale is always special too, especially when it’s a close run thing and you have the a few players just one shot behind the leader and definitely in contention.

Happy times, enjoy the next four days. First tea off is just an hour away at 12.45pm BST.

I’ll be watching but this time next week I’ll be overseas myself on my fourth golfing holiday. Myself and a few friends have done it for the last four years now and this year we’re off to the Guadalmina Club de Golf in Malaga, Spain. Can’t wait!

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St Andrews set for high winds

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All the talk should now be about what is going to happen between tomorrow and Sunday, in the 144th Open Championship from St Andrews. In recent weeks we’ve had Tiger’s “comeback”, Rory’s footballing skills and of course the recent outstanding performances of 21 year old Jordan Spieth.

There has been a lot of focus (and rightly so) on these three over the last few weeks in the build up to The Open at the home of golf. There is not much for me to add about these three great golfing talents except it’s certainly not going to be easy this weekend.

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Rory’s out injured anyway, Tiger you just never know now and who is to say Spieth cannot and will not win the third straight major this year. Well, the likes of Ricky Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Bubba may have something to say.

The current focus though is the weather, with rumours of 40mph gusts of wind tomorrow, with Friday expected to be even worse. How will the golfers handle this, and not just the conditions out on the course. Strong winds like that and there could be cause for play to be suspended, which is another obstacle for players to mentally handle.

I’m sure the guys I’ve mentioned above will be fine as they’ve previously proved over the years. Luke Donald isn’t a bad shout for a very outside bet, but again I’m sure there will be questions marks?

I believe both Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer will be ones to watch as I don’t see much focus on them, they can just quietly go about their business. I’m going to stick my neck out though and say Shane Lowry can give it a serious go and improve on last years tied ninth place.

We’ll see, first tea off tomorrow is 6.32am.

On a another note, I’ve played in Scotland myself once when I stayed at a friend’s place. We’d been to visit John o’ Groats a few years back and before I came back we had a lovely round of golf at Thurso Golf Club. What a superb, but cold afternoon of golf.