Take the hint and back on-song Singh
The first Champions Tour Major of the year, the Tradition, gets no TV coverage but Bernhard Langer won’t fret about that if he can make a successful defence at the same Alabama course, Greystone, where he dotted up by six last May.
Although the great German has won this campaign and been in the top-three on three other occasions, he’s under a lot more pressure this week.
Super-fit though he is, he turns 60 in August and has to concede almost a decade to classy new ‘boys’ like Steve Stricker, who was fourth to Henrik Stenson in the Open last year and 16th in this year’s Masters.
Another big danger is Vijay Singh, who played three par-busting rounds out of four for a share of 16th at Sawgrass last week. It must be pointed out he did miss seven cuts in a row before that but his Achilles heel, the putter, at last put in a positive appearance at the Players.
The languid Fijian has kept the Champions Tour very much at a distance since hitting 50 four years ago, preferring to play on the main US Tour and chase the bigger bucks.
But a rare appearance last month in a big pairs event, the Legends of Golf, saw him team up with Carlos Franco and open his account.
He is missing the Byron Nelson on a course where he is a past winner for the Tradition. The hint should be taken and 11-1 rates a knocking each-way price.
Colin Montgomerie, hampered by injury, has yet to get going and European hopes rest squarely with Langer and the steady Miguel Angel Jimenez. A win by either would come as no surprise.
The crowd favourite, as ever, will be John Daly who ended a 13-year win drought a couple of weekends ago. However, the 14 lakes that line the course may find out the Wild Thing’s weaknesses and preference is for Kenny Perry, who was close behind him last time out, David Toms, who has been quiet since qualifying for this circuit at the start of the year, and Brandt Jobe.
While he can be flaky under pressure, Jobe seems to save his best for Majors, as evidenced by top-five finishes last year, including at the Senior Open.
2pts e-w 11-1 general
3pts 4-1 BoyleSports
1pt e-w 22-1 Betfred, Sky Bet
1pt e-w 33-1 general
0.5pt e-w 55-1 bet365