Can he Ror to victory?
There is a strong line-up at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club for the '3 Irish Open' in County Kerry this week. It has not attracted the big-hitters from America in Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler but there is a fantastic three million euro purse on offer.
The problem is that although the Scandinavian Masters offered a much smaller purse, it was the week after the British Open, so certain US performers felt compelled to stay-on in Europe and try to win on the European Tour in a weaker event.
Fortunately for the organisers of the Irish Open, there are so many talented players in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland that the event should coax some of Europe's best players into playing in this event for many years to come.
One of the players that will be attracting large crowds is Rory Mcllroy (13/2). He was immense at St Andrews apart from his eighty in the second round and if the media had not solely focussed on Louis Oosthuizen post tournament, he would have surely earned far more plaudits for some great play. He was just exceptionally unlucky that he had the worst of the weather in that second round and lost his head.
Another player that will be looking to impress is Padraig Harrington (16/1). He is not yet certain of a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team and with Monty and Clarke watching, he will be keen to impress and finish well. He won this event in 2007 and is known to enjoy the course!
The 2010 US Open Champion McDowell (14/1) will be desperate to show the home crowd, that he is now the best player in the world and he will fancy his chances after some solid performances this year.
Water will be a major factor in determining player performance because the course revolves around a lake and water hazards will really come into play during the week. The course has long, fast undulating greens and tree-lined fairways, so accuracy is essential.
Last year the title was won by Shane Lowry (33/1), he was an amateur, this year he competes in the Irish Open as a professional.
I have tipped Nick Dougherty (60/1) before in my articles and he has so far failed to impress but he has a few European Tour wins to his name and he managed to tie for nineteenth in the Scandinavian Masters last week and he is due a strong performance. Last year he won the BMW International Open in June and he just needs to find more consistency when playing in major tournaments.
What is most encouraging about Dougherty's performance in Sweden is that he was impressive in very harsh conditions. In Ireland, he has two top-four finishes from his last four outings at the event. He clearly enjoys playing there and without the pressure of playing for a Ryder Cup spot, it could be his weekend.
Darren Clarke (33/1) looks like he has started to find some form and the Ulsterman is in buoyant mood after being named as one of Monty's Vice-Captains for the Ryder Cup. He looks very relaxed and seems to be enjoying his golf again, he managed to secure a runners-up place at Loch Lomond in the Scottish Open a few weeks ago and should be thereabouts at the end of the week.