Karlsson’s victory came after a brilliant, but luckless summer, and exactly the same could be said this time about both Fisher and Westwood. It seems absolutely ridiculous that Fisher has not won for 15 months, and Westwood for two years. Admittedly in the latter’s case, much has been self-inflicted, most recently a water visit during a playoff for the French Open and that three-putt on the 72nd hole at Turnberry.
But with Fisher, I can’t pinpoint a particular recent instance where he’s ‘bottled’ a winning chance. That quadruple bogey in the final round of the Open has to be put down to a mixture of inexperience and bad luck. In fact, his nerveless final round when touched off by Casey at Wentworth was one of the best of the season.
Of course, an argument could certainly be made that the repeated failure of this pair to close the deal means they represent poor value at 12/1 apiece, and in pure statistical terms that’s hard to dispute. Equally though, it must be said that when a player repeatedly gives himself chances for victory, eventually it will happen. It may also be significant that Fisher finished third in this event last year, with Westwood back in sixth. I feel almost certain that at least one will be in the shake-up on Sunday, and that’s all we can ask for. After that, we must just hope that one of them at last gets the job done.
Both look more reliable than the third co-favourite Stenson. The Swede has his own course form credentials, finishing second on his last visit in 2004, but has proved less than reliable outside the very biggest events of late. It’s hard not to be impressed with Stenson’s form in elite events over the last year or so; winning at Sawgrass and making the top 10 in four of the last six Majors; but he hasn’t made the top 30 in any of his last five ‘normal’ European Tour events. There may be a comparison to be drawn with Padraig Harrington, whose standard form tailed off badly once he decided to shape his season around the Majors.
It was extremely frustrating watching MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ last weekend, particularly that four-putt from 20 feet on the final day that ended his challenge. That summed up his week really, as his long game was peerless over the four days at Crans and even a lukewarm putter would have surely produced victory. It’s tempting to ignore him on that basis, but over the years Jimenez has regularly shown that he is capable of holding his best form for a few weeks, and he has a fine record at this venue. The Spaniard has seven top 25s to his name on this course, including three top 6s and third last year. Another strong challenge looks highly likely.