The fundamental question thrown up by this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge concerns just how short a price is acceptable about a thoroughly worthy favourite. Lee Westwood is currently trading around 3/1, which seems short given the fact he’s hardly been prolific in recent years, but nevertheless reflects his superiority over these 11 rivals.

Before dealing with Westwood and the other main candidates, I’m employing a process of elimination to whittle the candidates down. Miguel-Angel Jimenez’s record in this 12-man event is atrocious, finishing 11th, 12th and 12th in three tries. Anders Hansen is in form and has won the Sunshine Tour money list before, but is still rather outclassed and probably lacks the power to compete on this long course. Edoardo Molinari has gone right off the boil since the Ryder Cup, and while one can never completely write off such a class act, Padraig Harrington has never looked like winning this in five attempts.

Golf betting: Australian Open golf betting guide

Though he finished third last year, Tim Clark may still lack the firepower for a course where the par 5s are the key to scoring. Justin Rose nearly won this title in 2007 and usually thrives in the country where he grew up. However, his form going in this time is much less convincing. Retief Goosen has won this twice before, but did nothing in Dubai last week to suggest a win was imminent. Defending champ Robert Allenby warrants the utmost respect, even if he was disappointing when carrying our cash at home last month.

That leaves four to consider; the two market leaders Westwood and Ernie Els, plus my two each-way picks ROSS FISHER and LOUIS OOSTHUISEN. Ernie is a master of the Gary Player Course, thrice winning this title and finishing runner-up four times. Even with home advantage though, I can’t imagine a situation nowadays when he could be recommended for betting purposes at short odds, especially with Westwood in the field.

In all honesty, I reckon Westwood will win this easily. He’s been nothing short of magnificent all year, and despite admitting to being a bit rusty, still managed to go close in the elite Dubai World Championship. That is great form, and points to an improved effort with that competitive experience under his belt. He’s never finished worse than sixth here, and has won a pro-am on the course. If you don’t mind backing short-priced favourites, I would hate to deter you, but my personal preference is for each-way betting, especially given the relaxed nature of this invitational.

Both Fisher and Oosthuisen will appreciate the length of this course and the par 5s. Both have course form; Fisher going well on last year’s debut in third place, Oosthuisen winning the Dimension Data Pro-am here. Both were in good form last week, sharing 13th place. Fisher’s overall efforts were superior, as he was in contention going into Sunday, but Louis must equally have been delighted as that was only his second start after an injury layoff. Now he is a Major champion, Oosthuisen could dominate in his homeland, where he was already a multiple winner before this career-changing season.

Advised golfing betting:

4pts ew ROSS FISHER @ 9/1 (GENERAL)
2pts ew LOUIS OOSTHUISEN @ 14/1 (GENERAL)

2010 STATS: +113pts    

Golf betting: Australian Open golf betting guide

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