Turkish Delight for Tiger?
Tiger Woods had a bit of fun driving a golf ball from Europe into Asia over the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, but now it becomes serious for the world number one as he bids to land the near £850,000 first prize attached to the Turkish Airlines Open.
Woods hardly needs the money, of course, and anyway is receiving twice as much from the sponsors just for turning up, but backers of Coral’s 9/2 favourite can be sure that their man will, as always, be giving it his best shot out on the course.
With the rest of the top Americans staying at home for the McGladrey Classic, Adam Scott pegging it up in the Australian PGA and Rory McIlroy electing to give this tournaament a miss, this certainly looks like a great opportunity for Woods to win his sixth title of the year..
But a still classy line-up includes world numbers three and five, Henrik Stenson (16/1) and Justin Rose (9/1), along with players of the quality of Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer (both 14/1), Charl Schwarzel (18/1) and Lee Westwood (25/1), so Woods is most unlikely to have things all his own way.
Stenson, whose success on both sides of the Atlantic this year, after so long in the doldrums, has been one of the biggest and best stories of 2013, is currently top of the European Tour’s Race To Dubai money list and would surely be at shorter odds for this event were it not for a troublesome wrist injury.
A bigger danger to Woods may come from Poulter, back to his bug-eyed best when chasing home Dustin Johnson in Shanghai last week and determined to make a race of it to Dubai with Stenson, who apparently has laid his mate £1,000-100 that he catches him.
Poulter and Graeme McDowell (another absentee this week) were the only ones to put real pressure on Johnson in the final round last week, but Rose put up a decent show back in fifth place, as did Kaymer and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who tied for eighth.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat belied his big price in the CIMB Classic in Shanghai a fortnight ago – missing out on a play-off by just one shot – and the up-and-coming Thai is again worth a second look at Coral’s 80/1 (12/1 to finish in the top five).