European Tour Analyst Jay Townsend is in China this week for the Volvo China Open. He was in Malaysia last week for Louis Oosthuizen’s win one week after losing The Masters in a playoff. Gary Player called it the best non-Major win of the year and there is no doubt that this is a very impressive win. Oosthuizen looked flawless and it is even more impressive when you consider the time change.
David Lipsky is an American who is a rookie on the European Tour and Jay did not know much about him until last week. He followed Lipsky a lot in Malaysia and he showed no fear coming down the stretch on his way to a tie for 3rd. Jay hopes that we will see more of him in 2012 and hopes that more young Americans will go over to the European Tour and have success.
When asked about contenders for the Volvo China Open, he felt that many contenders would come from a group of players who had already been in Asia for a week and therefore adjusted to the time zone. However, he did acknowledge that modern travel has significantly reduced the impact of jet lag and then mentioned that Paul Casey would really benefit from a win this week because he wants to be on the Ryder Cup team and has some catching up to do after starting the year with an injury.
In the past, Carl Pettersson has done what he has needed to do in a Ryder Cup year to merit consideration for a Captain’s Pick by winning but he has not been able to even get in the discussion about Captain’s Picks. Pettersson is definitely hurt by not being a member of the European Tour but if he wins some more in 2012, Jay thinks that Captain Olazabal will give Pettersson at least some consideration.
While Rory McIlroy has returned to World #1, Jay said that other players who could make a run for the top spot include Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, and Tiger Woods although Woods did not play well in The Masters. That being said, he thinks that the World #1 position will be a two-man race between McIlroy and Donald at least for the immediate future.