A glance through results over the past decade reveals an exclusive list of
top-class winners of this event, with Ross Macfarlane back in 1997 registering the last upset. Since then, Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood have five wins between them, the other winners being newly-crowned Open champ Padraig Harrington, Trevor Immelman, Niclas Fasth and Robert Karlsson. Of that bunch only Karlsson and Fasth are here this week, though the field is not lacking quality by any means. As well as leading Euro Tour lights Paul Casey, Retief Goosen and Henrik Stenson, several PGA Tour regulars have chosen to spend an extra week in Europe following the Open.

Gut Kaden, a regular European Tour venue over the past decade, usually
produces a birdie-fest. There is little to protect this course from the
long-hitters, with a generous set-up geared towards a relatively relaxing
week to follow a dramatic and draining Open Championship. Karlsson?s winning
score last year was -25, and while its unlikely the course will play quite
as easy another low total looks on the cards.

Fasth heads the market, perhaps understandably after a stellar run of recent
form. Even given his previous course winner credentials, I can?t help but
think his odds are at their absolute minimum right now though. Using the
same argument, Andres Romero is reluctantly overlooked at considerably
shorter than usual after his Open heroics. A shame as Romero boasts all the
right credentials to win this. Stenson too has the game for Gut Kaden, but
is ignored after a slight dip in form recently and nothing significant on
past visits. Retief Goosen, placed several times here in the past, makes
less appeal after several recent below-par efforts.

The best of the front-runners for me is PAUL CASEY, who looks ripe for such
an event and decent value at 16/1. We have to forgive two recent failures at
Gut Kaden, though Casey was 5th here back in 2003. He played well enough at
Carnoustie, better than usual on links courses at least, but this is far
more his type of golf course. There?s no doubt he has the powerful,
attacking game to murder this course, and is probably overdue a win in

The PGA Tour raiders are very interesting at this slightly lower level.
Stand-out value of the week lies with RORY SABBATINI at 33/1. The pick of
the South African?s 2007 form is the best in this field, winning last month
and earlier registering three consecutive top-3 finishes in world class
fields including the Masters. Sabbatini is one of those rare types of
inconsistent player whose traits can perversely work in favour of the
well-researched punter. He?s clearly a class act as his best efforts this
year demonstrate, but equally has little patience and suitability for penal
courses. It was no surprise to see him miss the cut at Carnoustie, Gut Kaden
represents a completely different test.

Another South African expected to bounce back after missing the cut at
Carnoustie is RICHARD STERNE. Ignore that Open effort, failing in Majors at
this early stage in his career is understandable. Look instead to his
phenomenal run of results this year. Since February, he has only failed to
make the frame on three occasions including last week. Its also very
encouraging that Sterne made the top-10 here in 2005, when an incomparable
player to today.

Last year?s runner-up CHARL SCHWARTZEL is the third South African in the
staking plan. He has to improve dramatically on his last few starts, but may
well return to the top form showed in Europe earlier this summer now he has
more suitable conditions. My view that Schwartzel is a star in the making
has not waned in the meantime.

Two Americans making a rare European appearance are Brett Wetterich and JB
HOLMES. Both are previous winners on the PGA Tour, an honour only a select
band of Europeans can boast. And both have games well suited to the demands
of this course, regularly amongst the driving distance stats leaders. With
both tempting at 100/1, preference is for Holmes by a wafer-thin margin. He
missed the Open completely and can be expected to be better prepared than
Wetterich who also has form questions to answer.


Dealing with the effects of playing the Open Championship could be far more
of an issue for those who have had to travel back across the Atlantic. It
would be asking a lot for Hunter Mahan, for instance, to immediately
replicate that high level of form in a different country. Many other
Americans who made the trip have to battle a combination of jetlag and
re-acclimatising to the PGA Tour after a tough week of links golf.

There?s no course form to work from, though reports suggest the North Course
at Angus Glen will have specific demands. Reshaped and narrowed by Davis
Love since its last use in tournaments, it is expected to yield decent
scores and favour the long-hitters. The rough is reportedly more penal than
usual, so accuracy from the tee will also be important in order to set up a
controlled approach shot to abnormally large greens. In my view, those with
the best long games will prosper.

This might point to the obvious winner, with most focus naturally directed
at the two elite players in the line up, Jim Furyk and VIJAY SINGH. Furyk
starts favourite as defending champion, and is a very obvious contender.
Odds of 7/1 make no appeal though as Jim simply doesn?t win often enough to
warrant such odds. The World No 2 has seven top-6 finishes in 2007 but is
yet to taste victory. Despite his age of 44, Singh is the one player who can
pretty much be guaranteed not to be jaded. This workaholic should have no
problem recovering from any exertions, and is strongly fancied to contend on
a course that should maximise his strengths.

Beneath the front two though, none of the other market principals stand out
as obvious contenders in what looks another wide-open PGA Tour event. TROY
MATTESON has some impressive greens in regulation statistics recently and
has finished third on two of his last four outings. This represents a
welcome return to somewhere near the fine form he showed at the end of 2006.
After five consecutive top-9 finishes to end the season, including one win,
Matteson looked one of the best prospects on the Tour. With proven winning
credentials on both this and the Nationwide Tour, he could well be one to
follow now back in good form.

I?ve written before about my high hopes for CAMILO VILLEGAS, and this week
looks one of his better opportunities to land that elusive first win. The
Colombian prospect finished 5th in this event last year, albeit on a
different course. This time he would appear to have all the right
credentials. He?s long off the tee, and capable of quite brilliant iron play
for his second shot. Inconsistency comes with youth, but his best form is of
such a high standard that he bound to win that first title sooner rather
than later.

Finally, as the course is expected to suit long hitters and good
ball-strikers, JASON GORE could be worth a pop at 100/1 to land a second PGA
Tour success. Gore has been hitting the ball well recently, particularly
when runner-up at Warwick Hills last month. As we saw two years ago when
Gore landed the Lumber Classic on another long course to add to a string of
victories on the Nationwide Tour, this guy knows how to win when the chance
presents itself.


I wouldn?t pretend to following the Seniors scene anywhere near as
diligently as the European or PGA Tour, but this particular event has become
a particular punting favourite of mine in recent years. The combination of
seniors playing four rounds compared to the usual three, plus the specific,
refined arts of links golf tends to produce a very obvious leaderboard every

Muirfield hosts the Seniors Open for the first time, a legendary Open venue
with a reputation for producing winners of the very highest class. Two
former Muirfield Open winners participate, 1980 winner TOM WATSON and Nick
Faldo makes his Seniors debut on the course where he won both the 1987 and
1992 Opens.

This Seniors scene is getting ever more interesting as more top-class
players reach their fifties. Faldo is the latest, with the likes of Bernhard
Langer and Nick Price surely not far behind. It should pay, however, to
stick with the tried and trusted performers in this event and the Champions
Tour. Its impossible to knock Watson, one of the all-times great links
players. As well as winning five Opens at his peak, Watson added two
Seniors? Opens to the tally in 2003 and 2005. Having made the frame in the
US equivalent on his last start, he looks bound to be in the thick of it.

EDUARDO ROMERO too has an extremely obvious chance. The powerful Argentinian
has been a force to be reckoned with at this level ever since his 50th
birthday, and is another who enjoys an advantage on links courses. Runner-up
in 2004 and 2006 with a further top-10 in between, 12/1 looks another banker
each-way bet.

Despite the short-odds, defending champion LOREN ROBERTS is too dangerous to
leave out of the staking plan. The ?Boss of the Moss? is pretty much the man
to beat on the Seniors Tour, with an outstanding consistent record. Nine of
his last thirteen Champions Tour starts have yielded top-6 finishes.

The combined odds of backing all three at around 9/4 doesn?t look massive at
first glance, but I?m very confident that at least one of the three will
either win or trade much shorter than this in-running.

Good Luck!


1pt ew JB HOLMES @ 100/1 (GENERAL)


1pt ew JASON GORE @ 100/1 (GENERAL)


6pts win LOREN ROBERTS @ 9/1 (CORALS)
3pts ew TOM WATSON @ 12/1 (GENERAL)

2006/2007 STATS: -164pts
2005/2006 STATS: +144pts



5pts HENRIK STENSON @ 10/1