Masters 2014 Tips

Another year comes and goes and again we find ourselves with the Masters just around the corner. So, here are my tips for this year.

Adam Scott – It’s hard to look past him. He has played quite well this year with 3rd in his last competition, the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He will be full of confidence from last year and his prestigious length suits Augusta. Even if he doesn’t win I think he should at least place.

Jason Day – Been so close over the last three years, so therefore will also be full of confidence coming into this years competition, especially after his win in the World Matchplay.

Matt Kuchar – Another player who has played well at the Masters in the last few years and seems to be in good form after playing very well last week; nearly winning if it wasn’t for Matt Jones holing from across the green on the last.

Jordan Spieth – He has had many good weeks recently and he knows how to win. Also, he is probably the best putter in the world, which is clearly going to help him considerably in the next week. Also, his all round solid game means I think he could easily go low.

Jamie Donaldson – Another great putter and he also has been playing well recently. If he putts to his potential he could certainly feature. At 125/1 he is a really good bet.

Fred Couples – He just seems to love Augusta. In the last 4 years he has come 13th, 12th, 15th and 6th, and on more than one of those occasions he has been in contention for the vast majority of the tournament. So, at 175/1 I think an each way bet could certainly work out well.

John Senden – A player who seems to be there or there a bouts , with a solid all round game. In the past he has never quite been able to get over the line, but earlier this year he got over that barrier by winning the Valspar Championship. Therefore, I think at 240/1 he is a very good bet. An each way bet would be best, as even a place will give you odds of 60/1.

 

Ashes Proposed Team (3rd Test Perth 2013)

Alaistair Cook – It would do much more harm than good to drop the captain; especially as the team have already lost Trott. The team would be even more unsettled if Cook was dropped, which would have even more embarrassing results. Also, Cook is now an experienced and classy batsmen who you feel is never far away from being in-form.

Michael Carberry – He is one of the only English batsmen to look relatively comfortable in Australia this time out and England haven’t got any sensible replacement, so he must play.

Joe Root – Root proved in the 2nd Innings of the last Test that he could bat at number three, as he scored a quality 87. His calm temperament is what England need in the ‘anchorman’ position. Also, he can bowl a few very useful overs, as I propose England don’t play an out and out spinner. Perth is always a fast and hard pitch where the quicks thrive and Swann hasn’t been damaging enough to deserve a place anyway. Although Panesar looked slightly better than Swann in the last test he also certainly didn’t do enough to take a fast bowler’s position in Perth.

Kevin Pietersen – Scored a half-century in England’s last innings. Also, he has the most ability of any player in the Ashes and is never far away from a match winning innings and he can bowl a few overs.

Bell – Has been in form recently. England’s best player at the moment. Can’t be dropped.

Stokes – Showed promise in England’s last innings and looked up for the fight. Can bowl as well which will be needed with a lack of a spinner. If Stokes didn’t bowl I would go for Balance, as the Australians would not have seen much of him.

Proir – Scored half-century in England’s last innings. Too good a player to stay out of form for much longer and, as the keeper, he is at the heart of the successful England team of recent years.

Broad – Can get useful runs at the end of the innings even though he doesn’t seem to fancy much of Mitchell Johnson. On top of this, he has the ability to suddenly get a bunch of wickets. A match winner.

Anderson – Has been the leader of the attack in recent years and I feel the other bowlers would feel lost without him. Moreover, he is simply too skillful to be left out.

Rankin – He is 6ft 8in, 2.04m, and bowls in the high 80’s, maybe occasionally hitting 90. The pace and bounce of Perth, The Waca, will suit him down to the ground. Furthermore the Australians will not have seen much of him before. We seem to have forgotten in this Johnson mayhem that many of the Australians don’t like quick, short bowling. Lets fight the Johnson factor with the Rankin factor. You may say that Rankin will not be as successful because Johnson is quicker, but don’t forget that Rankin is much taller. Just remember the success Tremlet, 2.01m, had in the last series in Australia when he was bowling in the high 80’s. Lastly the England boys need to wind Rankin up before he goes out to bowl. We need Rankin to go out there wanting to try to hurt the Australian batsmen.

Finn/Bresnan –  If England think it will reverse swing they should go for Bresnan as he is a master of this craft and he bowls a heavy ball which should be good at Perth. However, if England think reverse swing will not play a part they should get Finn in the nets a few days before the game and ask him to just bowl fast and not worry about anything else. If he bowls 90+ consistently and isn’t completely wayward then England should pick him and not worry if he goes for too many boundaries. Then before the game wind him up like Rankin. Then just before the match just tell him to focus on one thing, knocking the Australian batsmen over. Them and their stumps! England need to emphasize to him that kicking the stumps, the length of his run up and his economy doesn’t matter, so he doesn’t worry about those instead of thinking about bowling fast and getting wickets. Finn is also very tall at 6ft 7in, 2.01m. As well as this he has the ability to be up and around the pace of Johnson, who is only 6ft 2in, 1.89m, and bowls with a slightly round arm action, which takes further height of where the delivery is released from. Therefore I feel Finn, on Perth’s fast and bouncy pitch, could be a bigger asset for England than Johnson is for Australia! The thought of facing Finn at one end and Rankin in the other would certainly put fear and doubt into the Australian batsmen’s minds. And if it didn’t to start with it certainly would after a few overs! Having said all this, if Finn can’t seem to hit these high speeds anymore in the nets or is completely wayward I think Bresnan is the better choice as he will provide better consistency and therefore create more pressure, which is important.

England have obviously really struggled in the first 2 tests, but one spell of really hostile bowling could turn this series on its head. Another point I have to make is that people in the media need to stop making ridiculous comments, like England are doomed, they are going to loose 5 – 0. They certainly will if everyone keeps saying so!Michael Clarke

Overall, England need to go to Perth, the Australian’s real backyard, and put it up ’em with Rankin and hopefully Finn. Lets see how they cope. I don’t rate the backbone of this Australian team; they may seem confident at the moment but I doubt how deeply rooted that confidence is. It will not take much to turn this series in our favor.

US Master 2013

Here comes the first major of the year; at last. I have a few predictions for this years competition, but last year Bubba Watson would have been by absolute last bet, so no guarantees.

Here we go:

  1. Keegan Bradley-Augusta suites the long hitter and Keegan certainly can give it a whack. Also Keegan is one of the best putters on tour and your putting game has to be fantastic to win the masters. On top of this, Keegan is very strong mentally to cope with leading and winning a major championship and he has already shown us he is capable of winning, even on the biggest stage, as he won the US PGA Championship. Finally, Keegan has had good year so far with many Top 10s, so a good each way bet at 26/1.
  2. Matt Kuchar-is a very consistent player and has had a good, consistent year. Furthermore, Kuch was in contention last year, so obviously likes Augusta. Another good each way bet at 43/1.
  3. Lee Westwood- Maybe a surprising choice due to his infamous putting, but this year he has moved to the US to get more use to the greens and he has removed the pause in his stroke and is putting much better. He is also long and straight off the tee, which is very useful at Augusta especially. To finish, Westwood led last year and was one of the lead on the last day, so is clearly getting more used to Augusta. Remember though this was when Westwood was putting ‘terribly’ and he still nearly won. A good bet at 31/1, but I wouldn’t bet each way because if he puts badly Westwood will not feature at all.
  4. John Huh-My outsider bet. He is a solid all round player that has had a good year on the PGA Tour. When he has a good week he can be right in contention. Brilliant odds at 630/1 and I would go each way.

So, those are my four picks. Have fun watching the masters!

Manchester United vs Real Madrid

Firstly, GREAT GAME! YES, the referee has made a bad decision. However, we shouldn’t forget that Real Madrid had a goal disallowed.  What for? It was a fair goal! On top of this, Rafael’s hands were up when Ramos’s header hit them on the line. A probable sending off and penalty. This means Man U would’ve been with 10 men and 2-1 down before the puzzling Nani decision. So, all I’m saying is that the referee has ruined the game for Man U, but don’t just forget the things that went United’s way and could have easily not.

To vastly reduce the number of bad decisions there should be a challenge system in these big matches. Each manager could get an unsuccessful challenge a game, which would mean these great spectacles aren’t ruined by one man trying to gain all the attention. A panel of 5 other referees could decide whether the right decision was made or not. It would take 1 minute and the number of games ruined because the referee wants to be the main man will be reduced.

However, everyone keeps saying this Man U side doesn’t look particularly good. I think they looked very good today. Giggs provides experience, wonderful crossing and tonight some very important tackling. Carrick seems to be high quality, in front of the back four, often covering them. Vidic is also back now, providing solid defending and a real threat from set pieces. Nothing really needs to be said about RVP. Wellbeck is a big game player. He scored in the first leg and looked very threatening today; causing the Ramos own goal. Finally, although Rafael is still quite rash, he has improved dramatically. Defensively he no longer looks a weak link and going forward he’s a real threat, running at the defense and providing width for United.

Overall, although United haven’t got a win tonight, I have a bad feeling they could dominate the Premier League for the next few seasons and could easily win a Champions League or two. The players they have seem to be improving, Kagawa, Rafael and Wellbeck for example, and they are already pretty good!

Should Darts Be A Sport?

darts1Darts does have many things that make a sport a sport. Pressure, accuracy and head to head competition. However, many argue it shouldn’t be a sport, as it doesn’t require any physical fitness,  until recently they used to drink on the oche! This lack of physical activity implies that if darts is a sport some of our other pastimes or games should be sports. For example, console gaming; it requires accuracy, you are involved in head to head competition and it can be pretty pressurised, even more so if there were thousands of people spectating. It sounds stupid, people going to see XBOX on a massive screen in the middle of the stadium, but if you think about it it isn’t that odd at all. Physical activity is not a major contributor to making a sport a sport. The mental side of sport is what makes it so spectacular, especially the sense of competition. If you think about a sport just physically it doesn’t seem very appealing. How fun would it be to go and watch sweaty men kick a round ball about randomly?

xbox-360-controllerSO, if darts is a sport, console gaming should be a sport. Most would say that’s ridiculous, so if darts isn’t a sport then how can archery be a sport, and an Olympic sport at that. It’s just giant darts. If Jenga isn’t a sport you can’t say giant Jenga is!!!

Reading???

Reading-FC-LogoReading fans want McDermott out, McAnuff out and new strikers in the transfer window. WHAT!!!

It is quite clear where Reading’s problem lies. The amount of goals they average a game is 1.19, a respectable 13th in the Premier League. Compared this to the goals conceded a game, 1.94, only Southampton have a worse record. Adam Federici has had a shocker of a season and the defenders in front of him haven’t helped him out, especially away from home.

However, apart from these defensive problems Reading have been playing impressive football and with a couple of transfers in January I think they will stay up comfortably. First of all, I’m sure that they could attract Brad Friedal, who isn’t getting a game at Tottenham and is a first class keeper. Another signing from Tottenham could be Michael Dawson, an outstanding defender and England international who also isn’t playing at all at Spurs.

Dawson and Freidal will shore up the back and obviously reduce the amount of goals conceded. Also though a stronger back line will give the other players a lot more confidence, therefore all round performance from Reading will improve dramatically. On top of this, both these players come from the same club, so their chemistry will already be good and Dawson has been Tottenham captain, therefore in the future could be Reading’s, as Jobi McAnuff is simply not good enough to play in the Premier League. Although these signings may cost a few million Zingarevich has to make these sacrifices to survive in the Premier League.

COME ON Zingarevich get your wallet out, Reading seriously need you to.

Monty Panesar

Parmesan Tony!!!

He can’t bat. He can’t field, but WOW he can bowl; an out and out spinner.monty-panesar

Monty is a strike bowler that actually strikes. He brings excitement to the cricket pitch, not only in his bowling, but also in his personality. Recently Panesar’s performances for England have been outstanding, as he has racked up 27 wickets, an 11 wicket match and 4 five wicket hauls in his last 8 test match innings!

Although his economy may not be quite as good as Swann’s it is still very impressive. However, economy isn’t as important in tests and Monty’s record against right handers is outstanding, better than Swann’s. There are more right handed batsmen in the game at the moment , so Monty is more useful than Swann in a wicket taking sense I feel, especially as Panesar has performed so well recently and Swann isn’t at the level he used to be; teams seemed to have worked him out a bit better. Evidence that this is the case is that Swann has only got 18 wickets and 1 five wicket haul in his last 8 test match innings.

Overall, if England think the pitch is going to provide ANYTHING for the spinners Monty should play instead of Swann, as he provides much more in a wicket taking sense. If there is going to be absolutely nothing in the pitch, Swann is the best option, as he can hold up an end better than Panesar. However, England have access to 2 world class spinners who should be playing in the majority of the games. England it isn’t illegal to play 2 spinners, just look at India in Mumbai, they played 3 out and out spinners. In the sub continent Panesar should play every game, his position should be as solid as Cook’s.