The European Tour has been all around the world but it is now back in Europe for the summer months. Specifically, the Tour is in County Kildare for the Irish Open. Some of the very best players on the European Tour are taking part at the K Club this week as they look to bag a healthy prize fund. As well as the draw of the venue and the money there’s the fact that Rory McIlroy’s foundation is hosting proceedings, so this should be a tournament we can really enjoy.
The K Club has developed a reputation as a top class golfing destination. It’s got two courses, both designed by Arnold Palmer, with the Ryder Cup course playing host to the Irish Open this week. As you might have guessed by the name, the course hosted the Ryder Cup back in 2006 when Europe won by a record scoreline. Some of the heroes of that week are in the field this week and a couple have a decent shout of winning.
The par 72 layout measures 7,350 yards from the championship tees making it a fairly long test. However, it’s not really a place where you can grip it and rip it. The trees which were planted in the early 1990s to guard the fairways are now maturing so they offer a bit of defence for the course from the biggest hitters. The course hosted the European Open for a number of years and results from that tournament suggest that it is also important to hit a high number of greens in regulation to get the win.
Rory McIlroy is the clear bookies’ favourite for this week but he has a poor record in this tournament. He’s failed to even make the cut in the last two years and his form at the moment doesn’t exactly make him look like great value at 9/2 with BetVictor. However, we get the feeling that it’s only a matter of time until his game really falls into place. You can get 11/8 with BetVictor on Rory finishing in the top five and he should be there or thereabouts come Sunday afternoon.
If Rory is an unlikely winner, who is going to carry the hopes of the Irish fans? Out of a number of top quality options, Graeme McDowell could just have the best week. He’s fighting his way back to form after slipping down the world rankings as his top 10 finish at the Players Championship shows. The weather forecast is for some pretty horrible stuff but that won’t overly worry GMac who could come up trumps at 33/1 with Ladbrokes.
For a long odds each way shot it is a surprise to see Andrew Johnston as big as 90/1 with Bet365. ‘Beef’ only picked up his first win on the European Tour a few weeks ago at the very challenging Valderrama and his accurate iron play should be well suited to another stern test this week. He’s gunning for another win as soon as possible so make sure to have him onside.
Also this week: AT&T Byron Nelson Open