Presidents Cup spots at stake in Wales
BY Bruce Young | 28 Aug 2013
The Celtic Manor Wales Open is played this week at its home since 2000, the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport in Southern Wales.
The Twenty Ten layout at Celtic Manor, the same course used for the Ryder Cup in 2010 and for this event over the past five years, will again play host and where Thongchai Jaidee will chase the defence of his 2012 title in a week that is of great importance to him.
Jaidee has slipped to 12th in the Presidents Cup standings and if he is to be a genuine chance of making the International Team for Muirfield Village in October either automatically or becoming one of Nick Price’s captain’s selections he needs to either win or play well this week.
This week represents the last event before the Presidents Cup sides are announced.
Another who could use a big week is Australian Brett Rumford who is currently in 17th position on the Presidents Cup standings and likely needs a win if he is to have any genuine chance of making the International Team. Working against Rumford is a poor record over this layout but in 2013 Rumford is having his best European Tour season including two victories and a 6th place finish last week.
Francesco Molinari starts the event as the leading world ranked player but although this venue provided one of his greatest triumphs when a member of the winning Ryder Cup side in 2010, it has not been good to him in individual events. His best in five Wales Open starts has been 46th.
Bernd Weisberger is another who many will consider a favourite this week although like Molinari his record at this venue is disappointing. He has missed the cut the last two times he has been here and 26th on debut in 2009.
Joost Luiten played beautifully earlier in the season including when winning in Austria and when runner-up at the Irish Open. Importantly for his chances this week is that he finished runner-up in this event last year.
Miguel Angel Jimenez has put together several very good finishes in fields much stronger than the one he faces this week, including when 4th two starts ago at the World Golf Championship event in Ohio. If he could reproduce that sort of form this week he could win easily. Jimenez has won this event previously although not at this venue and his form overall at Twenty Ten is average at best.
Thorbjorn Olesen played very well earlier in the season but until last week’s Johnnie Walker Championship where he finished 9th appeared to have lost his way somewhat. The Dane has made the cut on both occasions he has played this event and finished 18th last year.
Brett Rumford we have mentioned earlier but other Australasians in the field are former winner, Scott Strange, Richard Green, Andrew Dodt, Daniel Gaunt, Scott Hend and Scott Arnold along with New Zealander Michael Campbell.