The week in golf: Matsuyama to kick off 2015/16 with a win

The American golf scene has only just had time to digest the various recently-published 2014/15 season reviews before a new campaign winds into view.

A week after the USA claimed a slim victory over the International team at the President’s Cup and a fortnight on from Jordan Spieth’s crowning as the FedEx Cup champion, the Open kicks off the 2015/16 campaign.

Unsurprisingly, all of the big-name players from across the Atlantic are absent in California, as they take some well-earned rest following the end of a gruelling season.

Rory McIlroy, fresh from a week off during the President’s Cup, is in attendance however and takes 4/1 favouritism for the tournament with Ladbrokes.

Justin Rose at 8s follows behind his Ryder Cup teammate, before Brooks Koepka provides the first home challenge at a price of 16/1.

It is the fortunes of two entrants of East Asian descent at Silverado Country Club that appeal the most though, with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama at 16/1 and Kevin Na – born in South Korea but now representing the States – at 40s the picks.

Unlike many of the USA Team, Matsuyama has opted not to rest after his Predident’s Cup appearance, where he claimed two-and-a-half points from four games.

That closed out an impressive year for the 23-year-old, who finished inside the top 25 in all four of the FedEx Cup Playoff tournaments and had nine top 10s all told on the PGA Tour.

The seven-time pro winner finished tied for third in this tournament last year and looks a good bet to continue his strong form in the season’s curtain raiser.

Na’s highest finish in 2015/16 was his T2 in his second outing, but it wasn’t a case of early highs and little else for the Las Vegas resident.

A model of consistency, the Seoul native finished with seven top 10s in the year and 14 top 25s – three of those coming in the recent Playoff series.

On the European Tour, the Portugal Masters is the penultimate tournament before the Race to Dubai begins.

Martin Kaymer is the 10/1 favourite with Ladbrokes, but take a look at the 50/1 about Thorbjorn Olesen, who claimed the Alfred Dunhill Links title two weeks ago.

His long price is a reaction to his missed cut at the British Masters last time out, but the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course is a far better fit for his game.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.