• Betting Bunker

Westy to win Rory battle

Josh Williams February 29, 2012
Lee Westwood cannot go to world No. 1 with victory - but he can stop Rory McIlroy doing so © Getty Images

Click here to bet on the Honda Classic at bet365

Luke Donald faces an anxious wait over the weekend to see whether or not Rory McIlroy can snatch the world No. 1 ranking away from him at the Honda Classic.

Donald, who is not playing at the tournament, could be unseated if McIlroy lifts the trophy on Sunday. However, unlike last week, Lee Westwood cannot leap into the top rank - and just to add to the confusion, if McIlroy wins and Westwood finishes second, Donald stays world No. 1.

So, with all that cleared up, we head towards an intriguing four days of golf at the punishing PGA National course, which features the infamous 'Bear Trap' of holes between 15 and 17 - difficult enough to prove a graveyard for anyone's round. That stretch sums up the track: full of potential pitfalls, and an enemy to the uncertain.

Will McIlroy do it? Well, to be honest it's hard to argue against his form line: in his last 11 starts worldwide, he has eight top-three finishes. But what concerns me is the weather forecast for the weekend, which carries the ominous promise of some pretty brisk winds - and we all know that McIlroy, with that eye-catching high ball-flight, doesn't always fare well in gusty conditions.

Williams' wagers

  • Lee Westwood to win - 9/1 at bet365

I'd be amazed if McIlroy wasn't up there on Sunday, but he's still not fully emerged as a great closer of tournaments, and I feel justified in turning my nose up at 8/1 odds.

The greens are going to be very hard to hit, so this is a ball-striker's course, ideally someone with a slightly lower trajectory to McIlroy. Step forward Lee Westwood, whose rivalry with the Ulsterman is really starting to catch fire (and you can read a summation of their frosty relationship here).

Westwood is going to be seriously fired up for this one given his match play defeat to McIlroy last week, and he'll know the importance of finding some momentum, with next month's Masters looming into view. I see him using his wounded pride as a spur to produce something really special in tough conditions. He's got form at the course as well, with a tie for ninth two years ago - and he might just be poised to do his countryman Donald a real favour.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk