The DP World Tour finally leaves the UK this week and heads to Prague for the 2022 edition of the Czech Masters, hosted by the Albatross Golf Resort. Damien Kayat previews.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
Albatross Golf Resort, Prague, Czech Republic
The Tour touches down in Prague
Doesn’t it feel like the DP World Tour was stuck in the UK for an eternity? The Tour moves from Northern Ireland to Prague for the eighth renewal of one of the more recent events on the tour: the Czech Masters.
This event was first staged in 2014 and has been hosted at Albatross Golf Resort for every single edition (barring in 2020 when the event was cancelled due to Covid).
Thomas Pieters has become something of an event specialist, winning in 2015 and 2019. He will be aiming for a threepeat this week and will feel extremely confident given his recent resurgence in form.
The event will obviously be playing second- or even third- fiddle to the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup. I killed it in my US predictions last week but could do with a little bit more fortune on this utterly unpredictable tour.
Albatross Golf Resort
Designed by Keith Pritchard and opened in 2010, the Albatross Course has hosted every edition of this event since its inception. Located on the outskirts of Prague, this course looks like an absolute beast at 7,468 yards.
That is slightly misleading as the course is situated at around 1,300 yards above sea level. Altitude aside, this is most certainly a course that has heavily favoured the bombers. As I noted earlier, the big-hitting Belgian Thomas Pieters loves it around Albatross.
This long and exposed track features bentgrass and fescue fairways and fairly brisk bentgrass greens. In many ways, this event is more akin to your typical US PGA Tour outing.
Two par 5’s around the turn measure over 600 yards! So, I would look towards bombers who tend to go low on par 5’s. There have apparently been very wet conditions in Prague of late.
That should put more of a premium on distance as the fairways will have far less runout this week.
Thomas Pieters just makes a lot of sense this week. He has played some solid golf this year and has extraordinary course form. Still, 7/1 does seem a little short for a perennial underachiever.
This year’s Dutch Open champ, Victor Perez, will be making his debut at this year’s Czech Masters. The English pair of Eddie Pepperrell and Richard Mansell both come into this year’s event with some decent form under their belt.
Ryder Cup icon Ian Poulter is probably one of the biggest draws in the field. I’m sure that the Englishman must have been paid some handsome appearance fee to rock up in this rather drab field.
2021: Johannes Veerman (-15)
2020: no event
2019: Thomas Pieters (-19)
2018: Andrea Pavan (-20)
2017: Haydn Porteous (-13)
2016: Paul Peterson (-15)
To Win Outright:
Thomas Pieters 7/1 | Victor Perez 16/1 | Eddie Pepperrell 20/1 | Richard Mansell 20/1 | Ian Poulter 22/1
Wilco Nienaber- To Win 33/1 | To Place 7/1
This is a selection based purely on distance. The 22-year-old South African is yet to win his maiden DP World Tour title. His claim to fame came with a 439-yard drive at the 2020 Joburg Open. He hasn’t probably realized the potential that everyone saw in him during that 2020 breakthrough. But he has played some decent golf this year, picking up three top 12 finishes. His last result in continental Europe was a respectable T21 at the BMW International Open. He just needs to make a few putts to be a real contender this week.
Alfredo Garcia-Heredia- To Win 90/1 | To Place 19/1
This Spaniard has been trending in the right direction and should be a pretty good fit for the Albatross. He finished T26 at the BMW International Open and T24 at the Irish Open. He also picked up a top 20 last time out at the Cazoo Open. He also had time to pop over to the US PGA Tour and pick up a top 50 finish at the Barbasol. He has strong SG: Tee to Green numbers and he looks great at 19/1 to place.
The Man to Beat- Thomas Pieters- To Win 7/1 | To Place 15/10
Sure, I’m not a huge fan of the 7/1 price. But you can’t deny Pieters in one of these current DP World Tour fields. And especially at this course. As I mentioned earlier, Pieters has two wins around this behemoth. He also has a further two top 10’s in his six starts. Pieters has looked back to his best in Europe this year, winning the Abu Dhabi Championship in January before a playoff defeat in June’s BMW International Open. He has fared far worse on the hyper-competitive US PGA Tour. Still, he played all four days at the US PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship. He should devastate the par 5’s this week and I think 7/1 is probably reasonable in this field.