The last month has laid bare the one glaring weakness of the new Race to Dubai schedule. For the fourth week out of the last seven, there is no European Tour event televised on Sky, whereas previously we only ever had to go without for a couple of weeks at worst. There is an event this week; in Madeira. However, as the field is not the strongest and there is no previous course form to study, trying to pick the winner would be no more than a guessing game.
So, my attention is focussed on the States, where a stronger field line-up for the Transitions Championship. This is the latest name for the annual fixture at Copperhead, Westin Innisbrook Resort, for which the previous sponsors were PODS and Chrysler. Despite the title, Copperhead is anything but a typical resort course. The greens are smaller than average, with scrambling very tough. This was one of the highest scoring events of 2008, and all recent results pointed to a great emphasis on hitting greens in regulation. Players with Florida connections have also tended to enjoy an advantage here, probably due to their greater experience on the tricky bermuda greens.
In short, we’re looking at a tough course where driving distance is largely irrelevant compared to long game accuracy, where Florida connections and a world-class short game are a distinct advantage. That sounds just the ticket for JIM FURYK, who looked a winner in waiting at the weekend in third place behind Mickelson. Furyk really does tick all the right boxes, and would probably be trading much shorter than his 12/1 quote had he not missed the cut on his sole previous visit to Copperhead. Happily, this can be overlooked, as Jim was enduring the worst spell of his career at the time in late 2004, recovering from a troublesome wrist injury.