Golf: Altitude fan Joey looks ready to be a punters' pal; US SENIOR OPEN SKY SPORTS 1 11pm.
THE US Senior Open at The Broadmoor, 6,000 feet up at Colorado Springs, is the Champions Tour's premier event and the course will be set up to mini-US Open standards with severe rough and fast greens.
When it was built, the East course at The Broadmoor was the highest in the USA, so don't expect the guys to struggle with it now being the longest in Senior Open history.
Although 7,254 yards long, it will play at less than 6,700 given the concession for the rarefied atmosphere.
As winners of the now-scrapped International at Castle Rock in the late 1980s, Joey Sindelar and John Cook know how to win at altitude and in Colorado, but I can't have Cookie after he choked at Troon, dropping four shots on the back nine and losing out in a play-off to the unconsidered Bruce Vaughan, who does not play this week.
That will have a lot out of Cook, who did not win a Major on the main tour and was desperate to gain a consolation prize, so Sindelar, who had a quieter week in 21st place, can reverse positions and may be good enough at 33-1 to walk away with the title, even against a superior field to last week's.
Jay Haas and Loren Roberts, the two mainstays of the over-50s circuit who swerved the Scottish trip, are now back in action against Birkdale hero Greg Norman, new senior No. 1 Bernhard Langer, 1988 USPGA champion Jeff Sluman and perennial challenger whenever there are Majors about, Tom Watson.
New Yorker Sindelar, three times a top-15 finisher in US Opens, played excellent golf to be third in the Senior PGA Championship - the May Major that went to Haas - and has since picked up a pair of fourth prizes at the Principal Classic and Dick's Sporting Goods Open.
As a seven-time winner on the main tour, the last time as recently as the 2004 Wachovia, rookie Joey has age and strength on his side and should give us a good run.
Norman staged a terrific comeback at Troon after a bad first day to get into the place money, but this is his third Major in three weeks and he has been at the forefront of publicity for the last two, which is always exhausting. But confident as he is, and pushed on by ultra-competitive Chrissie Evert, expect another good account from the Shark.
Langer's bogey-bogey finish on Sunday when two pars would have got him into a play-off did not win him any Brownie points. He has won twice on the Champions Tour this year but should be doing even better.
Roberts, almost a US Open champion in 1995 when losing out to Ernie Els in a 1994 play-off, boasts a win and two seconds from his six latest starts and looks highly likely to go close at 11-1, while Haas has pulled out in the last two weeks and may not be 100 per cent.
One who is definitely the worse for wear is RW Eaks, despite his recent success in the 3M Championship when he beat Langer into a remote second.
Eaks has great local connections because he used to work on the Broadmoor ground staff, but the old knees have been giving him gyp and need replacing.
As it is a Major, he will not be allowed to use medical grounds to get a buggy, so will be playing with braces on his legs.
It's a pity that Mark Wiebe's form has dipped recently but as a Denver resident, he is in his home state and has paid a few trips to scout out the course that he had last played as an an amateur in the 1960s.
Only a senior since last autumn, Wiebe has won twice and could still represent fair eachway value at 60-1, despite one one top-ten finish from his seven latest starts.
The course has not been used for an important event since the 1995 USWomen's Open, so form students have next to nothing to go on.
It's 26 years since Watson won his only US Open title at Pebble Beach but his record, although less remarkable than in our Open, still shows him to be a bigoccasion specialist as he was also twice runner-up and 11 times a top-ten performer.
Like Norman, the 58-year-old is playing his third Major on the bounce but at least Watson missed the cut at Birkdale, so will be less weary, and you have to admire a swing that never seems to change. At 14-1, he may regain last week's losses after sharing fifth with Norman in Scotland.
1.5pts each-way 33-1 Skybet
1.5pts 11-1 Coral
1pt each-way 14-1 general
0.75pt each-way 60-1 Betdirect, S James
US Senior Open
Prize money EUR3m (EUR500,000 to winner) Field 156
The course The Broadmoor Resort (East), Colorado Springs
Length 7,254 yards Par 70
The longest course in Senior Open history doesn't play it because, being 6,000ft up, the ball travels around eight per cent further. A traditional layout from the great Donald Ross in 1918 and updated by Robert Trent Jones Jr in 1965. Fairways have been narrowed and new tees and bunkers added. It hosted the 1959 US amateur, won by Jack Nicklaus, and US Women's Open of 1995 when Annika Sorenstam won, plus the 1962 Curtis Cup
When to bet By 2.15pm today
Where to watch Sky Sports all four days, starting at 11pm tonight
Weather forecast Mostly sunny, temperatures up to 98F, but with a ten per cent chance of thunderstorms on first two days. Rain may also be in the air at the weekend. Mainly cloudy on Sunday
Time difference Colorado is seven hours behind UK
Last week British Open - 1st B Vaughan (150-1), 2nd J Cook (33-1), 3rd E Romero (16-1), 4th B Langer (7-1), T5th T Watson (9-1), G Norman (7-1), G Jones (66-1)
There could be more smiles to come from Joey Sindelar at Colorado Springs this week
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 31, 2008|
|Previous Article:||Rallying: Hirvonen deserving of lakeland favouritism; By Adam Scriven.|
|Next Article:||Golf: Wayward Hjorth may find narrow Sunningdale tough so get with Diaz; WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN BBC TWO 1pm.|