The Johnnie Walker Championship marks the return of sole sanctioned European Tour action after a 3 week hiatus. Considered one of the premier European Tour events for many years, the event has struggled to attract the biggest names in European golf who play both tours in recent years due to running parallel to The Barclays in America.
There will still be plenty of talent on show and there will be plenty of attention on the action as it is the last renewal of the event before Gleneagles hosts the Ryder Cup next year. Realistically, there are only a handful of players who would have genuine ambitions of making the Ryder Cup twelve for Europe. It is an event that has tended to go the way of players who have already won on tour before in recent years. Nothing particularly stands out from looking at the statistics from past winners, though it is worth noting that, in the mean, winners have been proficient in hitting greens in regulation more than putting the lights of greens. With that in mind, here are my selections for this week:
For me, Bernd is one of the handful of players who will fancy their chances of pushing into Ryder Cup contention over the next twelve months. I think a win in this event will set up him very nicely in that bid and he has course form to do so after finishing second here in 2011. On paper his figures of 31-64-MC in his last three starts look like he is struggling for form but the last two starts have been in majors and prior to that he went 13-4-14-3-12 in his previous five starts. He has made steady progression throughout the season and I expect him to flourish this week.
I really like the look of Dyson this week, whether he will be able to force his way into consideration for a Ryder Cup place is debatable but he will fail he can, such is his self-belief. His season has really started to show signs of catching fire in his last three starts after a difficult start to 2013, he has finished 5-12-9 in his last three starts. His ball striking was superb in his last tournament and he perhaps didn’t capitalise on that as much as he should have but it will serve him well at Gleneagles. He finished sixth here in 2010 and relishes playing in the UK, a big week is expected.
I would say that Gallacher is Scotland’s best chance in the home tournament this week. While many will look at Marc Warren’s fine finish at Oak Hill, Gallacher performed with credit at Muirfield finishing tied twenty first despite two rounds of 76. He in the midst of his best season on tour, winning in Dubai as well as top ten finishes in Korea and France. He looks set to break though the one mllion euro barrier for the season for the second time in his career, with a home Ryder Cup in his mind, Gallacher will be highly motivated at an event he has six top ten finishes.
- Johnnie Walker Championship: 20 Scots gunning for home glory at Gleneagles (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Tom Watson tries to spy on Ryder Cup course in Scotland (cbssports.com)
- ‘I thought heading out alongside Lee Westwood at Wentworth couldn’t get any better, now it’s Tiger at Muirfield’ (walesonline.co.uk)