In five jaunts here he has been in the top ten four times and notched one victory.
After mulling this one over for a shade longer than I should I have finally come to my conclusion. It has been a difficult one to weigh up and a tough one to eliminate many runners.
The Sheshan course in Shanghai plays host once again and it certainly is an interesting track. It has told us down the years that the bombers have enjoyed this test immensely however it is worth noting that many of the more accurate types have made the frame. Tim Clark was on the verge of winning last year before Bubba holed a miraculous bunker shot from greenside on 18. With the rolecall if winners consisting of Kaymer, Bubba, Dustin and Phil the thrill there is no doubting that hitting it long off the tee gives you a distinct advantage around here. I always find it interesting to look at the long hitting winners of events, even if the more accurate golfers are up there also. We can almost always conclude from this that on Sundays when the pressure is on, the stress of hitting longer iron shots into greens is telling. It may work up until crunch time, but on courses like these the bombers have that little advantage when it comes to getting across the line.
McIlroy goes down to the stalls at a top price of 6/1. Even though last weeks price of 9/2 was way off line and should have been bigger, I was expecting a shade bigger than 6/1 this week. On Monday I had decided to weigh in if we could get 8/1. He has every chance of winning and I can't find any chink in his armour this week but if the price isn't right we can't take part. A bout of food poisoning won't help his cause mind you as he may not be 100% on the tee on Thursday, however this could also spur him on as he loves a story. Spieth, Bubba and Dusty line up next. Spieth I expect to go a bit better than people might suggest as putting should be an important facet of the winners game this week. The price is thin also though. Bubba and Dusty are fair enough prices but I'll be looking elsewhere as other tempt me more.
First up is the German machine Martin Kaymer
. He broke our hearts a number of weeks ago with a lacklustre display while streets clear in Italy on day four. There have been numerous occasions when Martin has wilted with a big lead so it's not ideal when supporting him. However he has won the best tournaments in the world and with one of these already under his belt I feel he is primed to make a serious challenge here this week. In five jaunts here he has been in the top ten four times and notched one victory. The 40/1 on offer has disappeared apart from the win only firms but quotes of 35/1 are more than tempting enough for us to have a serious wager. He was expected to do better by most at the Alfred Dunhill and in Portugal but these are the events where I look for a better performance from the lad. He certainly gets more motivated for these bigger events and with an excellent record in the Far East we'll make Kaymer our top bet this week.
Martin Kaymer - 1.75pts e/w @ 35/1Lost 3.5pts
Our next selection is South African Louis Oosthuizen
. With a win and four second placed finishes in the Far East he certainly doesn't mind travelling here. His name would not look out of place on a rolecall of winners in a WGC so I'm going to take the chance that he can contend this week at tasty odds. He has one top ten and two top15 finishes here so course form is solid if not spectacular. What is worth noticing is his performance in the big events this term. Amongst others he finished tied 2nd in both the US and British Open championships. Those performances took him to East Lake where he had to withdraw after a painful cyst had been removed from his wrist. He lands here under the radar after a spectacular (yet winless) year and I expect him to give this his full attention. He hits the ball a mile and is streaky with his putter. That's the key to him winning and just contending. If he wants to win he will need the putter to behave over the weekend. Plenty of times it hasn't however I think he'll be quietly confident heading into this week.
Louis Oostuihzen - 1pt e/w @ 40/1Lost 2pts
has enjoyed a stellar year in the States without quite landing the win but arrives here in good shape and at fair odds we'll have a bet. He has finished in the top ten twice here in two outings and he is another who has been overlooked despite having a consistent year. Only three missed cuts this term and with right top ten finishes is one of the form men on the yank tour. It will never be plain sailing with Casey even if he does win so expect a rollercoaster should he contend. He does hit the ball far out there so certainly enters the bracket of players we're looking at to win. The putter is once again the key club. He is nothing short of atrocious at times for a professional golfer. Fingers crossed he gets some feel this week around a place he has played well on before.
Paul Casey - 1pt e/w @ 33/1Lost 2pts
Finally we'll have a small wager on Daniel Berger
. On his first full season he has impressed dramatically with six top 10s and two second place finishes. What makes him an interesting runner this week is the course itself. His two seconds came at the BMW Playoff event and the Honda. Both those courses have similar attributes to these with a mix of resort and tree lined golf. A 12th place finish at the season ending Tour Championship is no let down either for the lad who has made a big impact since joining the tour this year. Just how he will mature and progress is anyone's guess but on paper everything says he could shoot a good score around here so we'll certainly play at a price of 125/1.
Daniel Berger - 0.75pts e/w @ 125/1Lost 1.5pts