Niall Lyons looks further afield than hot favourite Rory McIlroy for K Club glory.
Looking back at the history of the European Open while it was held here there are plenty of things to digest. The main thing being is that this course always brought the cream of the game to the top. Langer (Masters winner), Clarke (Open winner), Michael Campbell (US Open winner) all won here at the K Club in the 90s and 00s. Taking a look at who competed throws up the same info. Constantino Rocca who played with Woods in the final group of the 97 Masters contended here almost every single year. He also has a runner up finish at the Open. Harrington (Triple major winner) has a couple of places to his name here. As does Olazabal and Goosen who are both double majors winners also. Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood (twice winner here) are no stranger to pressure in major championships either. Without doubt this course lends itself to the best in the game, and this week it may be hard to shift the main protagonists.
So let's take a look at the protagonists. McIlroy comes here badly in need of a win. It is slowly becoming an issue. Just one win in the last twelve months is not a good enough return for somebody who would consider himself the most talented golfer in the world. Question marks now surround whether he actually would be the best in the world alongside an in form Jason Day. With each on their day I'd side with Jason Day. He is a phenomenal superpower now in the world of golf and is on a winning streak akin to Tiger in his pomp. Rory has yet to show that courage or dare I say desire to go on such a run. The K Club may just be the scene where Rory can put on a special show. With plenty on his plate with the Rory foundation sponsoring events this week I feel the 4/1 on offer is a shade on the thin side. I do think this holds a better opportunity to win than recent weeks though.
Recent Masters champ Danny Willett shows up here and with little golf since his Masters win will be up against it. He may be fatigued also, although the tree lined nature of the Palmer course may just play into his hands. I see a bit more value further down the field however.
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For our main bets this week in this event I'll be looking to the classy golfers as I stated above. First up and slipping way under the radar of the bookies this week is Joost Luiten. His recent form reads 5-5-13-8-15-6-CUT-2-2-44. That means he is without doubt one of the form players teeing it up here this week. A second spot at a top venue Valderrama will give him confidence heading to another this week. If we are looking at the classy golfers who won't look out of place on the roll of honour I mentioned above then Joost is certainly high up the list. I expected 25/1 max on this lad this week so the top price of 35/1 is of high interest to me. In a Ryder Cup year where many are looking to cement their place in the team I reckon the Dutchman will be highly motivated. A value price that we must stake reasonably heavy.