TCL CLASSIC

In stark contrast to the Laguna courses used for last week?s event in
Singapore where the Asian Tour players have always held an advantage, the
TCL Classic at Yalong Bay in China has only ever been won by Europeans in
the form of Paul Casey, Colin Montgomerie and Johan Edfors. Unfortunately
there are very few competitors of that class in attendance this time around.
Even the very best AsianTour stars such as Jaidee, Randhawa and Singh are
all missing. It would surely be asking too much for Wen-Chong Liang to win
two weeks in a row, so the Asian challenge looks very moderate indeed.

Only two players from the world?s top-100 are here, LEE WESTWOOD at number
54 and PAUL MCGINLEY at 94. NICK DOUGHERTY is down in 119th position but has
more talent than that alongside recent and course form credentials. So while
I don?t expect any awards for originality, I can?t find any alternative to
the front-three in the betting and suggest backing all three each-way.

McGinley is the best bet in my view at 16/1. At face value, his recent set
of form figures don?t make particularly exciting reading, but considering he
has been playing the PGA Tour and only the very best Euro events they are
excellent. Few if any of this field could consistently make cuts and top-30s
at the highest level. He also has course form, having lost a play-off here
to Paul Casey two years ago ahead of a far stronger field.

Westwood is the one genuine class act. We have to forgive a couple of poor
efforts in Asia over the last few weeks, but generally Lee?s form in the
region is exemplary. I can?t believe Westwood would be here if he wasn?t
taking this event seriously as he bids to move back up the world rankings.

As for Dougherty, I have to pinch myself that I?m prepared to back him at
odds as short as 12/1, but he does have a very strong case. For the second
year running he blew a big winning chance in Singapore on Sunday, with two
disastrous double-bogeys in the last three holes putting paid to those
chances. He should score even better on these greens though, and provided
that hasn?t affected him adversely, everything points to another week in
contention at the lower level, especially after finishing 4th on his Yalong
Bay debut last year with four sub-70 rounds.

ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL

Moving on to the week?s main event at Bay Hill, where the strongest field
for a strokeplay event so far in 2007 assemble for the latest twist in the
new Fedex Cup schedule. Of the world?s top-10, only Harrington, Scott and an
injured Jim Furyk are missing. And just to add to the ?Major? feel
surrounding the tournament, the course at Bay Hill has been toughened up and
is reported to resemble a US Open layout. The rough is said to be penal and
longer than ever, with the greens lightning fast. The essential attributes
of this week?s winner are clear – accuracy, good ball-striking and an
artist?s touch around the greens. In other words, exactly the players we?d
expect to challenge in Major championships.

Considering the fact Tiger Woods has won his last 8 PGA Tour strokeplay
events, odds of over 5/2 on Betfair look more than reasonable. Tiger used to
appear invincible at Bay Hill, winning four years in succession from 2000 to
2003. Efforts since here have been very poor by his own extreme standards
with a best finish of 20th but it should, however, be remembered that Tiger
probably hasn?t come into this event in anything approaching his present
form since those winning days. I certainly wouldn?t want to bet against the
great man, and as usual suggest placing our bets in the without Tiger
market, but with the course playing tough I?m going to wait and see if a
better price is available in-running.

And if we are going to see US Open conditions, PHIL MICKELSON must take the
world of beating. Lefty is of course yet to win a US Open, though I?m not
quite sure how, having finished runner-up in that Major four times.
Mickelson hasn?t won here since 1997, but has finished in the top-5 on three
of his last four visits. It certainly sounds as if his legendary short-game
will offer even more advantage than usual given the current course
conditions so a very bold bid is expected. Mickelson was of course in
stunning form at Pebble Beach and Riveira on recent PGA Tour starts, even
though we have to forgive a characteristic play-off debacle to lose the
Nissan Open. All things considered though, his outright odds of 12/1 look
attractive in their own right, but its still safer to take 8/1 without
Tiger.

Below Woods and Mickelson, clearly the best two players in the world on
current and recent form, its very hard to see exactly who is next in the
pecking order. Ernie Els hints at a return to his best, but cannot be
considered fully rehabilitated after the injury lay-off until he wins again
in the States. Vijay Singh is struggling and carrying injuries. Retief
Goosen is unlikely to improve on a disappointing course record on recent
evidence. Sergio Garcia?s putting is nothing short of a tragedy.

On the most recent form, the main challenge appears to be coming from a
batch of emerging young stars – Henrik Stenson, Charles Howell, Trevor
Immelman and GEOFF OGILVY. Of the four, Ogilvy looks the pick for Bay Hill
given his penchant for playing tough golf courses well, which enabled him to
land the US Open last year following a series of fine Major performances. We
have to overlook three moderate previous efforts at Bay Hill, but to balance
that, it should be remembered the huge strides Ogilvy has made in the last
year. He is a better player now, and should also appreciate the tougher
playing conditions. If he plays as well as he did at the recent World
Matchplay, the young Australian cannot be too far away.

If Ogilvy is the most likely Australian to keep the title in his country?s
name, AARON BADDELEY must run a decent second. Badds is another rising star
as his 2nd Tour victory at Scottsdale last month confirmed. He is another
with the perfect credentials for this type of golf, as shown by his amazing
back-to-back Australian Open titles as a teenager, the first as an amateur.
And though his progress in the US has been steady and nowhere near as
dazzling, its worth noting that he has already made the top 6 here in 2003
and 2005.

BART BRYANT is another who always must come into consideration on courses
that demand accuracy. Sunday?s 12th place was his fourth consecutive stroke
play top-20. If Bryant keeps up that level of consistency then another big
payday will come soon. And finally, ZACH JOHNSON showed his first bit of
form this year at the weekend with a never-nearer 14th. I?ve long rated
Johnson as a decent prospect, and potential big-priced Major winner. His
accurate game suggests a US Open or PGA would be the most likely. And again
there is a strong case for Johnson looking at his course form. Zach finished
in the top-8 on both of his first two Bay Hill outings.

Good Luck!

ADVISED BETS

TCL CLASSIC

3pts ew NICK DOUGHERTY @ 12/1 (GENERALLY AVAILABLE)
3pts ew PAUL MCGINLEY @ 16/1 (CORALS, TOTE)
2pts ew LEE WESTWOOD @ 14/1 (GENERALLY AVAILABLE)

ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL

BETTING WITHOUT TIGER WOODS

6pts PHIL MICKELSON @ 8/1 (STAN JAMES, PADDY POWER, 9/1 EXPEKT)
2pts ew GEOFF OGILVY @ 28/1 (STAN JAMES, PADDY POWER, 40/1 EXPEKT)
1pt ew AARON BADDELEY @ 50/1 (STAN JAMES, EXPEKT)
1pt ew BART BRYANT @ 50/1 (STAN JAMES, EXPEKT)
1pt ew ZACH JOHNSON @ 60/1 (STAN JAMES)

2006/2007 STATS: +30pts
2005/2006 STATS: +144pts

ANTE-POST ALREADY ADVISED

VOLVO ORDER OF MERIT

5pts PADRAIG HARRINGTON @ 7/1
5pts HENRIK STENSON @ 10/1

3pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN GRAND SLAM IN 2007@ 40/1
10pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN 3 MAJORS IN 2007 @ 8/1

US MONEY LIST W/O TIGER WOODS

2pts ew TREVOR IMMELMAN @ 20/1