What will it take to win the BMW PGA Championship?
Being able to play in windy conditions and having the experience of the Wentworth wind is crucial. As well as a yardage book, the players are issued with a wind map but just how much it helps I've no idea.
It can be quite baffling at times, you can be in one spot on the course and barely feel the wind but you can walk along a short while and it wll be blowing a gale!
The course plays much harder in breezy conditions and can be confusing for those with little course experience.
A straight game is definitely preferable to a long one and patience is a prerequisite too. To win here you need to bide your time, avoid trouble and make your score on the long holes.
Is there an angle in?
Course form stands up really well and it often pays to follow those who have shown a liking to the place already. The likes of Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington always seem to struggle and are simply not worth persevering with.
In contrast, plenty of players, and some of them far from fashionable, play well here year after year. You need to oppose the Wentworth wobblers and get with the Wentworth winners.
Is there an identikit winner?
British players, and English players in particular, have a great record in the event and an Englishman has won the last four renewals.
There have been some big-priced winners in the past and the unheralded Simon Khan took the title in 2010, the first year the event was played following the major course changes, but over the last two years the best have been slugging it out come Sunday.
Lee Westwood pushed Luke Donald all the way two years ago and last year it was Justin Rose. It's a sterner test than ever now, especially in the wind, and I'll be surprised if we get a shock winner this year.
The forecast suggests strong winds will be an ever-present over the first two days, before conditions improve over the weekend. It's going to be fairly cold too so don't expect low scoring. It may be the market doesn't quite recognise a good score on Thursday morning and there might be a bit of value about early on.
Ordinarily I'd expect around -6 to be leading after day one but I fancy it could be considerably higher this year.
With two par 5s to finish anything can happen and big swings can occur late on. There were only eight eagles made all week on 17 and 18 last year (four on each) but a birdie-birdie finish isn't uncommon. And nor is a bogey-bogey finish either.
Luke Donald blew a great chance here in 2010 when he double bogeyed the 17th and now there's water in front of the 18th, anything can happen there too.
Nick Faldo won this event four times, and Bernard Langer and Colin Montgomerie both did so on three occasions, so multiple wins are fairly common.
Monty won his three-in-a-row between 1998 and 2000 and Donald has an excellent chance of emulating him this time around.
Second and third favourites, McIlroy and Westwood, both have largely disappointing form around Wentworth and both are readily dismissed at the prices, and so too is Rose.
With two second-placed finishes around Wentworth, Rose has the course form in the book but he's been off the boil for a while now and his missed cut at the Players Championship hardly bodes well.
The entire winning Ryder Cup team from Medinah is present this week and I have to wonder if that's the only reason Sergio Garcia is playing. He's been quite well supported in the market but given he hasn't played in this event since 2000 I'm more than happy to pass him up.
Although I've only had a very small wager on Donald, I felt I couldn't leave him out of my calculations entirely. He isn't quite at the top of his game at present but nobody in the field plays Wentworth as well as him and I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to see him win it for a third straight year.
I've outlined the case for South African Branden Grace here and for small stakes only I've given his fellow countryman, Els, one more try at a big price.
The Big Easy used to live at Wentworth and owned the Volvo Match Play here, winning it a record seven times, but for some bizarre reason he's never won this one. He had to deflect an awful lot of flak two years ago over the course changes and last year he lost the plot over the watering of the greens. Hopefully he can have a more peaceful week this year and just concentrate on contending.
He's been putting well of late, he'll be in the minority when it comes to being able to figure out the wind over the first two days and he was far too big at 70.0.
Playing on a medical exemption 12 months ago, and following five straight missed cuts, Richard Sterne really caught the eye with his sixth-placed finish. He was also third here in 2007 and over the last six months on the European Tour he's the No.1 performer on the par fives. He's already a winner this season, having claimed the Joburg Open in February, and I can see him going really well this week.
Paul Lawrie has a great record at Wentworth and the tough conditions on Thursday and Friday may play to his strengths. He's not the fastest starter and often has too much to do over the weekend but it might be a bit of grind over the first two days this year and that should suit him.
Putting has been his weakness this year but he tweeted yesterday the “putter had been good this week”.
My final selection is Brett Rumford who I was very surprised to get 120.0 about. Rumford has won his last two stroke play events and was fourth here in 2006 so he has both current and course form. He grew up in Perth, playing the tree-lined Lake Karrinyup Country Club and contending with the notorious Fremantle Doctor. He has one of the finest short games in the world at present, it won't matter a jot how hard the wind blows and there's no way he should be trading at a tripe-figure price.
Luke Donald @ 9.6
Branden Grace @ 55.0
Ernie Els @ 70.0
Richard Sterne @ 70.0 (Fixed Odds)
Paul Lawrie @ 75.0
Brett Rumford @ 120.0