It has been a good week for those who like to back the big names as Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and, most notably, Tiger Woods all won tournaments.
It's been a tremendous week for favourite backers with all three jollys obliging, but in three very different ways. Rory McIlroy eventually won a head-bobber in Hong Kong, Lee Westwood dominated proceedings in Sun City and cruised to victory at the Nedbank and Tiger Woods birdied the last two holes at the Chevron World Challenge to edge out Zach Johnson in what had developed into a titanic, high-class and highly enjoyable dog-fight.
I finished the Hong Kong Open with five of my six pre-event picks in the top-15, with Richie Ramsay, who finished tied 4th, the closest to Rory but it never really looked as though any of them would win. And one of my in-running picks, Alvaro Quiros, led with a round to go before flopping quite badly on day four, so it was a frustrating and disappointing tournament.
To add to my woes, I also backed Ian Poulter during round four at 25.0, before he too came up short.
Thankfully, I couldn't really see past Westwood at Sun City so his win more than made up for Hong Kong. After a couple of late nights and early starts I went back to bed after the Hong Kong Open yesterday morning so I layed Westwood at 1.05, just so I could sleep easy. I needn't have bothered.
In the States, my sole pre-event pick, Paul Casey, blew his chance on day one with a disastrous 79 before clawing his way back up to third place at the finish - a tad frustrating.
I hadn't really given this event much attention at all until Sunday, and even then I just played about really. Zach Johnson had been a pre-event pick for the last two years so I felt I really wanted to be with him if he was going to win this time around. I backed him and layed him a few times, and mercifully I layed back enough at 1.50, with two to play when he led by one, to ensure a small profit on the tournament.
It would have been a much better result, had Zach won, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment too much. Both men played well on the run-in and it was impossible not to enjoy watching Tiger back in form.
Players to swerve
The heading's harsh this week, but here are a few players that didn't quite fulfil their potential this weekend...
Richie Ramsay, at the right venue and at the right price, will no doubt be a pick again but I couldn't help but be bitterly disappointed by his reaction to starting out round three so close to the pace. He began the day just one off the lead but bogeyed the first three holes and was always struggling after that. And much the same can be said of David Horsey, who's beginning to make a bit of a habit of performing poorly in the mix.
Peter Hanson is another who flatters to deceive too often when the heat is on and he did so again yesterday, making a number of mistakes at key points.
What have we learnt for next year?
I have to confess, I'm starting to get a bit fed up with the Hong Kong Open. Each year seems to follow the same path. I dig out a few nicely priced selections that get right into the mix but ultimately come up short. Nevertheless, no doubt I'll have another go next time around and yet again I'll be focussing on accurate, patient types.
Alvaro Quiros was an anomaly this year and the tricky course eventually got to him. I'm very surprised how well he fared and it's put me in a quandary for next week. His game must be in great order for him to contend here and next week's venue will be far more his cup of tea but how easily will he get over Sunday's disappointing final round? Anyway, I digress, the bottom line is, stick to accurate players in Hong Kong in future.
It took me a while, but the penny has finally dropped at the Nedbank. Simply ignore the debutants. Westwood had won easily last year and after his immaculate display on Saturday, when he shot ten under par, converting was a piece of cake this time around too. And look who eventually finished runner-up - Robert 'course form' Karlsson...
The giant Swede came into the event under something of a cloud, having struggled somewhat since his 4th placed finish at the US PGA Championship, but he found a spark here and used his course knowledge to get the better of the newbies and finish second.
Westwood will in all likelihood be a short price next year and if Karlsson arrives in form he could be a generously priced feasible alternative.
Course form stands up well at Sherwood Country Club too. Tiger Woods will be an obvious pick, providing this wasn't a one-off and his game gets back into some sort of order, but I may well look to play Zach and Casey again. Obvious I know but they clearly love the place and they might be value alternatives.
I'm really looking forward to next week, mainly because it marks the end of the golfing year and I'm ready for a break! Rory's win means he can still pip Luke Donald and win the Race to Dubai so the Dubai World Championship has plenty of spice, as well as a top-class field and I'll be back on Tuesday or Wednesday with my preview.