In the USPGA previous to this – the Bay Hill Arnold Palmer Invitational – I followed Steve Palmer on Henrik Stenson. Leading comfortably I checked my account for the each way odds and I could find no record of the bet. This is because with my normal incompetence I had the Swede as first round winner. Like the first goal scorer it’s a wager heavily weighted to the bookies. Stenson went into the last round on a two stroke lead and you might have thought you could rely on his steely temperament to win. Alas another American Matt Evry pipped him with a birdie on the last. With my meagre account cleaned out I decided not to have any more tickles by way of self-punishment especially as I took the missus to Lanzarote for a long weekend.
I was back for Steve’s Sunday column. He thought he had won 2 bags of sand (£2000) on Emiliano Grllo. There was no way of following the Puerto Rican Open other than by the PGA app which posted up his victory and then cancelled it. He had missed a 3 foot putt. As you can imagine he was equally irate about Stenson like a friend of mine who recommended Stenson to another pal without backing him. So both of us were rooting for anyone but Stenson, there is no esprit de corps amongst layers.
The Texas Open was won predictably by native Jimmy Walker who always seems to do well at the start of the year. Significantly for me Dustin Johnson finished 5th and my 33-1 each way ante post tickle is looking good for the Masters. Over in Agadir Aberdonian Richie Ramsay won la Trophee Hassann. One to watch finishing in the top five is young Irishman Kevin Phelan. Ireland has produced a crop of brilliant golfers as good as anybody’s right now. Rory Mcilroy has never won the Masters, and needs to do so to be the youngest to win 4 majors. Few would back against him.