Tales from the 19th hole – battling the odds

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup, the industry’s premier sporting event, gets under way today, with over 120 international and local players battling it out over the two-day tournament.

Day one takes place at the Montgomerie Course, followed by the climax to the tournament at the magnificent Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club on Sunday.

Defending champion is American Ryder Cup reject and George Bush lookalike Art Miller but he is expected to face intense competition from a glittering field – and even The Moodie Report’s own Martin Moodie and Christy O’Connor (Snr) lookalike Dermot Davitt.

In a world exclusive, The Moodie Blog has managed to obtain advance bookmaker’s odds on this weekend’s field. Defending champion Art Miller’s odds slipped from evens to 2/1 overnight after a lengthy night that began in the Rodeo Drive restaurant at the Al Bustan Hotel and culminated in the early hours at the nearly Dubliners bar many hours later. American rival John Kammerman meanwhile shortened to odds-on favourite after retiring to bed at 6p.m. with a copy of his favourite book “Taking Golf Seriously” by Paul Azinger.

Here is a selection of other odds:

Dan Cappell: 25 to 1: An outside bet to be near the top of the leaderboard after day one but the sociable Cappell, a former holder of the CRAP (can’t read a putt) trophy, will fall away after leading the merriment at the Irish Village celebrations on the first night.

Richard Ferne: 175 million to one. Could this be the year for the greatest upset of all as the jovial Camus giant blazes a fairway to heaven with a 40+ stableford score. No. In fact spread bets have the famed composer of ‘The Woodpecker’s song’ scoring between 0 and 3 stableford points over the two rounds. Already his pledge to “complete every hole” has spread fear through the other players in his foursome. ‘Dickie’ is expected to finish his first round at about 9p.m this evening, the same time that other famous fern, the silver variety of the All Blacks, kick off against Wales tonight. The bookmakers say the All Blacks will score around 100 points – the same as Dickie Ferne’s first nine-hole gross score.

Frank Carson: 80 to 1. The 80 year comedian will be one of the stars of the celebrations at the Irish village and his golf, like his jokes, is in the best possible taste. The octanagerian (though he’s never been to Lagos) could surprise this field – and certainly will with his trademark cry when he sinks a putt – “it’s a cracker”.

Iain-Robert Harrison: 8-1. There’s a quiet ‘buzz’ about the Nestlé man this year, primed on a hi-carb diet of a dozen Kit Kats a day to have him in optimum condition for the year’s 5th major.

John Kammerman: 7 to 1. Early to bed, early to rise. The methodical training approach of the cigarette salesman from Maryland sees him in Imperial form as the tournament approaches. The only man likely to be drinking Perrier tonight at the Irish Village, which should see him in sparkling form on day two. A clear and present danger. But he is American – so won’t win.

Ray Martin: 130 million to one. There’ll certainly be a welcome in the hillside for Wales-based Ray if he brings home the trophy but given his previous form in this tournament you’d be wiser betting on Charlotte Church and she’s not even playing.

Jonathan Holland: 33 to 1. Another possible upset victor (as he’s sure to cry if he wins). But we think that’s unlikely as the former naval officer will be all at sea with the plentiful water at the Creek. He’ll also be too busy trying to get listings for his new ultra-premium ‘Chaps’ stick’ lip gloss and trying to charm the Dubai Duty Free girls on the first tee.

Stuart McGuire: 100 to 1. Could there be a sting in the tail from the Scorpio owner? Don’t bet against a surprise day one performance but the Irish Village will find him  out and you can be certain he’ll be wearing his best-selling Police sunglasses by tee-off time on day two at the Creek.

Bruce McGuire: 7 to 1. His prospects shine even more brightly than his head after a year in which he played golf 363 days out of 365 (the other two he was flying to a tournament). Bandit Bruce as he is affectionately known, plays off a dangerous looking 18 handicap (it should be 6 but, hey, we love him) and is The Moodie Blog’s second favourite.

Nancy Miller: Evens. If the gorgeous wife of Art ‘the rat’ Miller doesn’t win the Ladies’ tournament The Moodie Report will eat a Dubai Duty Free Golf hat. Her only danger is being hit on the ladies’ tee by Richard Ferne’s fourth shot from behind.

Dermot Davitt: 30 to 1 A double D cup after too much Irish stew in training, the Galway man and Moodie Report writing ace will drain a few birdies on day one and be on the leaderboard. But we bet he’ll drain even more Guinnesses at the Irish Village tonight and won’t be a pretty sight on the tee on day two.

Mark Riches: 13 to 1. Another danger man, one of two Brit(t)s from the Riches household determined to show the strength of the UK game today. Free of duty for once the WDF boss has the steady game and calm nerve to take out the silverware today. But would he get that massive trophy through security at Heathrow? A major transit issue.

Britt Riches: 24 to 1. The lovely lady golfer will bring respectability back to the Britts this year. Could she take out the Riches? Well she has been for years.

Ian Robertshaw: 10 to 1. What is it about these Nestlè men that makes them such strong tips for this year’s tournament. A former winner of the Chinese open (where he plays as Ian Rickshaw), the popular chocolate man could be going on stage to collect the big one from Colm McLoughlin this year – especially as the prize will be given out After Eight.

John Sutcliffe: 14 to 1. “Bam…bam”. That’s the sound of those drives soaring down the fairway as the great Irish troubadour and more than useful golfer blazes his way around the Montgomerie. The popular Suttie will go close – but ultimately fall away like his beloved Irish rugby team at next year’s Rugby World Cup. And like them, it will be a case of all black for John rather than a triumph of the greens.

Brian Venables: 40 to 1: Another American and based on this year’s squad a likely candidate for next time’s Ryder Cup squad. The popular World Tour Enterprises man celebrated his birthday on the eve of the tournament, leading to a call-out from the Dubai Fire Department due to the number of candles on the cake. Those celebrations are likely to have taken their toll and his chances are about as slim as those of Craig Stadler going on the Atkins diet.

David Spillane: 2 million to one. His hopes, touchingly, burn as brightly as a flaming gingernut on a white ice lolly but frankly his chances of winning are as good as Shergar’s wining the next Kentucky Derby – and he’s just as likely to go missing after a night at the Irish Village.

Sunil Tuli: 164 million to one: One of the top golfers in the small village near Bombay where he was born, but as for his chances on the second day after the big night at the Irish village….oh dear. Better off entering the Ladies’ tournament under his alter ego Tina Suli.

Martyn Westbury: 60 to 1: Was odds-on favourite but they lengthened considerably overnight after his pairing with his golfing nemesis Patrick Dorais was revealed (Martyn’s celebrations at the news pictured above).

Patrick Dorais: 175 million to one. All the free droppings in the world can’t help the confectionery man who will be battling it out with Dickie Ferne and Sunil  Tuli for the wooden spoon.

Walsh, Webster and Maxwell: 50 to 1. The London solicitors and part-time Premiere Portfolio triplets were celebrating way too long and way too hard in the Dubliners last night to have much chance here. Kevin Walsh can be dangerous on his day – but so can Welsh rarebit if undercooked and Kevin will be. Webster is the best bet for glory out of the three but the Irish Village could also be his undoing.

Alan Edwards: 600,000 to one: Another man from the valleys – apt enough as his game has no peaks. The bouffant hair-do will be the only element of the Taffy’s game that is swept to success today.

Peter Marshall: 17 million to one. Swings a golf club like a Canadian lumberjack and hits roughly as many trees. The film making ace wouldn’t want to put that swing on video and with a company called Marshall Arts it’s not surprising that his chances are for the chop.

Martin Moodie: 100,000 to 1. Making his comeback in this tournament, could the ex Kiwi sheep farmer pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of the field with a surprise victory? Not a chance. This Martin dressed up as lamb is still suffering from the yips both on his chipping and putting and the rest of his game is pretty awful too, in fact it’s just plain baaaaaaaa…….d.

George Horan: 13 to 1. And maybe not unlucky for some…. George’s steady approach sees him as one of the likely front-runners over the next two days. But is he prepared to beat his boss….

Art Miller: 20 to 1. Last year’s makeover of the Revlon man’s game led to a stunning triumph. But cosmetic changes in the Miller swing, allied to a big, big night at the Dubliners last night has seen his odds lengthen. It’s time to hand over that Green jacket ‘Rat’.

Colm McLoughlin: 18 to 1. Can the desert master get his just desserts and win his own tournament? He’s certainly got the game for it but he’s probably too much of a gentlemen to claim the prize – and anyway, how would he shake his own hand?

Mohamed Mounib: 6 to 1. We think the face of Vespucci will take out this year’s spoils. With his new trademark fluorescent pink trousers and Johnny Depp goatie, he’ll have all those Dubai Duty Free girls swooning as he crouches over to hit his first drive. He’s used to the sand and familiar with pressure. Bet your mortgage on him.

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