Brendon Todd – or ‘Brendodd’ as we prefer to call him – added to the burgeoning list of first-time winners with his two-shot victory over Mike Weir at the Byron Nelson Championship. Brendon Todd is not to be confused with Brandon Todd, by the way. He’s a high-jumping athlete known for his ability to dunk a basketball, despite only being 5’5” tall. But you knew that.
This week, Fantasy Golf focuses on the European Tour (hurrah for Europe!) and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, it’s only a double-weighted game week. If points mean prizes – which they do – double points must mean… double prizes!
*Double points don’t mean double prizes. The prizes remain the same. But it’s a great chance to make up ground if your team has been struggling of late.
Ernie Els’ somewhat controversial 2010 redesigns were addressed to encourage players to be more aggressive in the closing holes, and the winning margin of 10-under last year suggests they’ve got the balance about right. That said, the par-72, 7,302-yard course won’t take any prisoners (obviously, because it’s a golf course, not a jail), and players will need to be hitting it long and straight, particularly if the forecast rain materialises.
Here’s Team TG for the week:
Luke Donald, £3m
“Since the changes here, the course seems to have really suited my game and I feel very comfortable around this place,” says Donald, who grew up “just down the road” from Wentworth. Although a player talking up his own chances wouldn’t normally see us rushing to back him, Donald can back up his claims. He won here in 2011 and 2012, finished second in 2010 and third in 2008. He missed the cut at The Masters, but finished second in The Heritage at Hilton Head, which shows he is getting used to the new swing and starting to put scores together.
Sergio Garcia, £3.5m
His trip here last year was tarnished with another Sergio vs. Tiger incident, so perhaps the absence of the latter may enable the Spaniard to better his 2013 19th-place finish. He banked a fifth in his debut here in 2000 and was runner-up in the HSBC World Match Play Championship in 2000, so boasts some course pedigree. If his beloved Real Madrid win the Champions League on Saturday night, it’ll be interesting to see whether that has a positive or negative impact on his Sunday performance…
Martin Kaymer, £2.4m
He’s made the cut here in six of his seven appearances. He’s yet to crack the top ten, but is playing the sort of golf that should make that a certainty. After his imperious Players Championship win, he played well at the Byron Nelson before falling away a touch at the weekend, so could be a genuine contender here if he’s sufficiently well rested.
Francesco Molinari, £1.8m
The course is well suited for the Italian, who boasts a strong game tee-to-green but sometimes fails to back it up with the flat stick. He’s finished in the top ten in the last two years here, and his form is good. As well as his sixth at The Players Championship at Sawgrass, he finished fourth at the China Open last month and fifth at Bay Hill in March. With plenty of ranking points on offer, a good week could see Molinari take a big step towards the Ryder Cup team for Gleneagles.
Lee Westwood, £3m
He lost a playoff here to Luke Donald in 2011 when both the tournament and world number one spot were on the line. He won the HCBS World Match Play Championship here in 2000 and has another second-place finish to his name, so he’s used to contending on this course. He’s showing great form, following his seventh at The Masters with a win at the Malaysian Open and a sixth-place finish at The Players Championship.
Alejandro Canizares, £1m
He came fourth here last year, finished seventh at the Spanish Open last week and already has a win this season, picked up in Morocco in March. All that, and he’s only £1 million! You can’t get anything for a million these days, thanks to Gordon Gecko and inflation and Phil & Kirsty. A Freddo would probably set you back five million nowadays. It’s all too much. We’re going for a lie down. Enjoy the tournament.