Others have never really got along with Quail Hollow. Masters play-off loser Chad Campbell has never made the top-20 in five tries, while runaway Heritage winner Brian Gay’s best is just 44th. At his best Retief Goosen would be a big threat, but he was very disappointing at Augusta. I’m not convinced that rising stars Nick Watney or Hunter Mahan have the short game skills to win here.
BEN CURTIS often saves his very best for the toughest courses, and last year’s runner-up is no forlorn hope to go one better. Consider his best five results of 2008; 2nd here and the PGA at Oakland Hills, 4th at Westchester, 5th at East Lake and 7th in the Open. His 2009 form is only moderate so far, with only one missed cut but no top-20s. Not winning form on the face of it, but we must remember that Curtis has rarely prospered at any of the venues concerned.
My final selection came from a short-list of three outsiders. At well over 300/1 on Betfair, Ken Duke and Nick O’Hern might be worth a small trade, but preference is for MATTHEW GOGGIN at 125/1 with place terms. Like the other Aussies, Goggin is well versed in playing tough, fast golf courses in his homeland, and tends to be seen at his best in such conditions. I feel he’s improved quite significantly in the last 12 months, and won’t be at all surprised if he breaks his PGA Tour duck soon. Goggin’s previous course form is fair, finishing 34th and 17th in the last two years, so if I’m right about his improvement then at least a top-10 looks very plausible.