With a total prize fund of €4.5 million, the BMW PGA Championship is one of the richest events on the Race to Dubai, and easily the most significant played in Europe so far. It makes sense therefore, before getting to this week’s picks, to reconsider those long-term bets already advised on the money list.
Back in November, I advised PAUL CASEY and Ross Fisher, and the former has done us proud so far. Casey sits in clear second place, €264,000 behind leader Geoff Ogilvy, but seeing as the Aussie will only play in a few more counting events, our man could be seen as the ‘real’ front-runner. A pair of titles so far in 2009; one in Abu Dhabi, the other his maiden PGA Tour victory have propelled Casey into the world’s top-10 and there’s nothing to suggest he won’t retain his current extremely consistent level of form right through until the decisive Dubai World Championship in November.
In my view, he still rates the best betting value, and is recommended both this week and over the long-term. I shall explain Casey’s Wentworth’s claims shortly, but his money list bid could thrive on some of the forthcoming courses. Not least the US Open at Bethpage Black, a brute of a course that will suit him down to the ground, and Firestone CC, home of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
In addition, I rate another of this week’s fancies, OLIVER WILSON, as decent each-way value at 33/1. Again, I’ll discuss his Wentworth claims shortly, but suffice to say a big cheque this week would improve his already promising 5th position. Remember, Wilson has earned plenty of cash so far without winning even a single title, and finished a perfectly respectable 11th on last year’s Order of Merit.
Onto Wentworth then, one of the great British courses which has been hosting this event for decades. Driving accuracy, and greens in regulation, are always pivotal stats around this narrow, tree-lined layout, but weather conditions also play a big part. When the course is dry, and playing fast, accuracy is an absolute imperative, and can lead to shock winners who managed to hit a lot of fairways and hole plenty of putts over the four days. See Andrew Oldcorn, Ignacio Garrido and Scott Drummond this century, for instance.