Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour’s Scandanavian Mixed event taking place at Halmstad Golf Club in Sweden.
2021/2022 DP World Tour- Ladies European Tour
Halmstad Golf Club, Sweden
LIV Golf International series threat looms large over DP World Tour
Golf is in something of an existential funk right now. The new Saudi-based LIV Golf Invitational series begins this week and it could possibly destroy the game as we know it.
The US PGA Tour is considering sanctioning Sergio Garcia after he became the latest to take the money and run. I was flabbergasted to learn that Phil Mickelson is receiving approximately 200 million dollars to join this venture.
Greg Norman and his posse of charlatans are threatening the fabric of the game that they claim to love (and that’s without getting into the nitty-gritty of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record).
If the seemingly monolithic US PGA Tour is shaking: what does this mean for the already struggling DP World Tour? It just feels depressing.
My spidey-sense is telling me that this could be the nail in the coffin for the already desperate spectacle that is European golf. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
Unique format sure to get plenty of attention this week
Last week’s KLM Open highlighted the fickle nature of European golf, with Kalle Samooja coming from absolutely nowhere to claim the title. The tour will now play host to the 2nd staging of the Scandinavian Mixed.
This unique event debuted last year and it proved a hit for fans and players alike. Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam will once again play hosts this week (which is co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and Ladies European Tour).
Each tour will supply 78 players who will play 72 holes of traditional stroke-play. They will be playing for one trophy and one prize fund (the only difference being the tees that are used).
The North Couse at Halstead Golf Couse will host this year’s event. With extremely generous fairways and gently sloping putting surfaces, this looks an extremely gettable course.
The numerous dog-legs will make precision from the tee essential this year. I think the nature of this course will actually make it a far more competitive affair between the male and female competitors.
I’m not going to sit here and proclaim an in-depth understanding of the Ladies European Tour. But I will offer a potential female contender in my subsequent picks.
Former Ryder Cupper Alex Noren makes a very understandable favourite this week (he is the only male player in the field ranked inside the world’s top 100).
Edoardo Molinari- another former Ryder Cupper- is experiencing something of a career resurgence of late. Elsewhere, the American duo of John Catlin and Johannes Veerman jump off the page.
Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam will also tee it up in conjunction with their hosting obligations.
2021: Jonathan Caldwell (-17)
To Win Outright:
Alex Noren 10/1 | Maja Stark 18/1 | Edoardo Molinari 20/1 | Linn Grant 22/1 | Alexander Bjork 22/1
Maja Stark- To Win 18/1 | To Place 39/10
This is a completely worthwhile bet this week. As I said earlier, I don’t feel 100% comfortable predicting the ladies because I’m so unfamiliar with that tour. But a simple glance at Stark’s bio is enough to convince anyone that she’s something special. The 22-year-old only made her debut last year. But she has already won three titles on the Ladies European Tour (one of which came a month ago at the Women’s NSW Open). Not only that, she was highly competitive in consecutive US Opens as an amateur. She could very well have a run at becoming the first female winner of this event.
Marcus Kinhult- To Win 55/1 | To Place 12/1
You may be wondering: what happened to Marcus Kinhult over the last few years? The Swede was something of a prodigy, reaching as high as number two in the world amateur rankings. He also led the Nordea Masters at the halfway stage at the age of 18! But the Swede has had to battle his way through epilepsy over the past few seasons and he finally seems to be back to his best this year. He won a Nordic Golf League event earlier this year and he also finished third at the Qatar Masters. I expect him to thrive at home on a course that should suit his accuracy-based game.
The Man to Beat- John Catlin- To Win 33/1 | To Place 7/1
John Catlin has plateaued somewhat since his sparkling end to the 2020 campaign. The unassuming American picked up victories at Valderrama and Galgorm Castle during that amazing purple patch. He won again in Austria last year but his level has dropped significantly since then. But he has shown improvement of late, picking up two top 25’s in his last three starts. Catlin is a shorter hitter who relies on precision (ala Kevin Na and Kevin Kisner). This course should suit him down to the bone.