Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 08:26 20/05/2014
It's wonderful to see the European Tour to return to Wentworth in Surrey. In the glory years of the European Tour in the 1980s and early 90's they were a whole host of top tournaments in England. As sponsorship has dissipated in modern times in the UK, and events are now held all over Europe, it's a rare treat to have a top quality field here.
The West Course has been re-designed and tweaked by Ernie Els in the last few years, and subsequently has become a fairer test of golf from the almost tricked up golf event of recent years. The 18th in particular is a shorter and now a better hole, with the players now able to reach with a shorter iron, which has taking out the element of luck of if you go into the water or not.
Accuracy has always been the byword around this course, and the management of the course is a massive factor in who will be the likely winner. A player who is patient, has the ability to plot their way around and also to cope with the wind will do well this week.
Justin Rose had an early season injury, but has recently shown real strides in finding his form. In his most recent events he has had a top 5th & 4th place and a return to home will surely motivate him to a big performance this week. He's had two runner up places here, and hopefully he can add this event to his 14 professions wins.
Francesco Molinari has played some sensational golf in the last few weeks. He went very close to winning the Players and had a solid week's work in the Spanish Open. His downfall has been a putter that will not behave, but lately he is looking much more solid in that department. He's a wonderful long iron player, and it would be no surprise to see him contend.
My final pick is Ross Fisher, who has shown glimmers of form recently. His grand American adventure appears to be over now, and a return to the European Tour might just be the tonic his game needs. He grew up here at this course, and if his game is to catch fire I believe it will be this week at a fair price.
Other notables to mention are Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald. Rory has compiled numerous top tens this year, but has struggled to put four rounds together. He is hardly waxing lyrical about how he likes the course, and at the price I am happy to overlook him. Donald has a cracking record here, and is almost double the price of last year when he was the hot favourite. His game has been very in and out, but if he gets of to a good start he may just win this again for the third time in four years.
Justin Rose 14/1 E/W SkyBet
Francesco Molinari 25/1 E/W Ladbrokes
Ross Fisher 45/1 E/W Stan James