AS FAR as warm-ups for this month’s Open Championship go, they don’t come much better or more appropriate than the Alstom Open de France, which starts tomorrow.
Le Golf National is a beautiful course and, crucially, its tight fairways are not dissimilar to those that players will encounter at Muirfield in the year’s third Major.
A high-class field includes the likes of former champion Martin Kaymer, world No5 Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell – twice a winner this year – and Lee Westwood.
My pick would be Luke Donald, however, as the conditions should suit the Englishman’s game, and in particular his reliable accuracy.
I was glad to see another Englishman, and former Ryder Cup team-mate of Donald’s, Paul Casey enjoy a long-awaited return to title winning ways last week.
The Irish Open was Casey’s first triumph since January 2011 and he clinched it in fine style, with an eagle at the 18th. It didn’t earn him a place at the Open, which is every top player’s focus now, but next week’s Scottish Open offers another chance.
Finally, Colin Montgomerie made his seniors’ debut last week at the Constellation Senior Players Championship in America, where he finished tied for ninth.
The scores might have come as a shock to him, with Kenny Perry winning on 19 under par, but Monty finished strongly with a 65 and should be pleased with his debut.
Sam Torrance OBE is a Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam