The chase for untold FedEx Cup riches may be dominating the golfing headlines right now, but the high-class field assembled in Germany this week shows that the rival European Tour schedule is more than holding its own. With ten weeks remaining of the inaugural ‘Race to Dubai‘, every event is significant and big names like Henrik Stenson, LEE WESTWOOD and ROSS FISHER know the importance of building a strong money list position ahead of the super-rich season finale in the Middle East. Hence their decision to ignore the FedEx Cup; which to some extent undermines the sponsors’ attempts to make it the centrepiece of the golfing season.
 
Readers who have followed this column throughout the season will understand how frustrating recent money list developments have been. Salvaging a profit from this tough season will largely depend on the fate of the long-term bets already advised, but at least until a few weeks ago there was great reason to feel confident. Paul Casey was well clear out in front before a injury struck at a particularly unfortunate time; just a few holes into his challenge for the WGC-Bridgestone, which meant he earned nothing during that pivotal fortnight that also included the USPGA.
 
Nevertheless, Casey is far from out of it if he can regain fitness soon, and his cause has been helped by a further injury development, this time to current race leader Martin Kaymer, who will miss the next month or so with a broken foot. I can’t help but feel that our best chance of success now lies with my other initial selection, Ross Fisher. Along with fellow Euro big guns Westwood and Rory McIlroy, Fisher has enough money in the bank already to make a significant move towards the lead with one tournament victory in the next few weeks.
 
The Mercedes-Benz Championship looks the perfect opportunity for both Fisher and Westwood. Gut Larchenhof has always been a course that produces top-class leaderboards; even more so since the course was toughened up ahead of the 2004 renewal. All of the four winners here since were top-class, including two Major champions and last year Robert Karlsson won this en route to the Order of Merit. The places tell an even more compelling story concerning the reliability of the formbook. Ten of the 21 players to make the top 5 since 2004 have either Ryder or Presidents Cup experience, and only three of them were 100/1+ pre-tournament.