After moving up to third place in the world rankings over the weekend, Westwood is very much the form man. I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t admit to serious concerns over Lee’s temperament under pressure, after yet another final day failure at Sawgrass. I hope he proves me wrong soon, but for now I just can’t take short odds about Westwood. He has won and been runner-up in the World Matchplay on this course before, but has a strangely disappointing record in this event, not making the top ten since 2000.
It is something of a miracle how Ernie‘s never won this event, given his seven World Matchplay titles at Wentworth and the fact his house backs onto the course. He certainly should have more knowledge about the new layout than most, and has strong form claims after third at the weekend. Having backed him so many times without success in this event previously, I am worried about missing out, even if others appeal slightly more.
Last year’s fifth place marked Rory down as a future Wentworth winner, and after that amazing victory at Quail Hollow he will certainly have his supporters. Nevertheless, this game is all about getting the right odds, and 12/1 is pretty short in this company, about a man with just two titles to his name and an inconsistent 2010 record.
Casey was nothing short of magnificent when winning this last year. At the time, he seemed set to conquer the world, but subsequent injuries ruined his money list bid and have generally set him back. If he is back to full fitness, and I have no reason to think otherwise, Casey is a massive contender.
Fisher was very reluctantly left out of the staking plan. Based at Wentworth, he knows this course better than anyone and is rated a certain winner of this title at some stage. He was extremely unlucky to finish second last year, after shooting -16. His 2010 form has been poor, but as it came largely in elite US events where he has limited experience, it will be no surprise to see him bounce back in Europe.
Harrington looks one to oppose, as he has never liked Wentworth, even opting to miss this lucrative event in some years. Sixth place in 2006 is his only top ten. Furthermore, Pod’s ongoing lack of accuracy off the tee could prove very costly.