It’s that time of the season the professional golfers call “The wheel borrow race”. A limited field playing for a lot of money, this year the Hero Motocorp are putting up $3.5m with the winner taking a cool $1m.
The Hero World Challenge pitches up at the Jack Nicklaus designed Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California.
Sherwood Country Club was once the location for the filming of "Robin Hood," starring Douglas Fairbanks.
The golf course opened for play in 1989 and is considered to be one of Jack Nicklaus' best-designed tracks.
The course is rated one of the best in the world and features over 1,800 mature oak trees, with lush landscaping which includes the use of waterfalls, jasmine and rose bushes.
My picks to win:
It’s hard not to go with players who have been playing over the last month and the first of those is Justin Rose 15/2 – with SportingBet – who has had two Top 5 finishes from three starts on the European Tours Final Series. This is the first time Justin has played in this event which could be the only thing that could hold him back this week.
Henrik Stenson 7/1 – with SportingBet – is another player who hasn’t played on this track before, but the Swede will come into this week in buoyant mood after winning the final event on the European Tours “Race to Dubai” at the World Tour Championship. Henrik has had a great end to the season that saw him only just miss out on taking the Volvo World Match-Play title. He had another Top 5 finish at the Turkish Airlines Open and I think we will again see him in the thick of the battle come Sunday.
Graeme McDowell 18/1 – with Coral – has won this event twice, the first time in a memorable play-off against Tiger Woods and who can forget that snaking putt he held to win it on the first extra hole. As well as the two wins McDowell had a runners-up finish the year before his first win and a sixth place last year when he wasn’t playing so well. Graeme obviously loves the course and with his recent Top 5 finish at the WGC HSBC Champions tournament I expect him to be challenging this week.
My outside tip:
Another player who seems to love this track is Zach Johnson 33/1 – with Ladbroks – who finally won the event last year in a play-off with Tiger Woods. Zach had a runners-up here the first time he played on this track back in 2007 and another runners-up in 2011. I am sure Johnson will be looking forward to defending his title and although he missed the cut at the recent The McGladrey Classic, I think he represents a good outside bet this week.
As always good luck