Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia are adopting an unorthodox preparation for the US Open by playing in the Nordea Masters this week.
Instead of practising putting on marble floors and sharpening their short games for the ultra-difficult Olympic Club test, the duo are extending what will be an already long flight to San Francisco by starting off in Stockholm.
Their decision to play in the Swedish stop on the European Tour is made all the harder to understand by the fact Westwood won this week’s PGA Tour event in Memphis two years ago, while Garcia is known to prefer playing in the US over Europe every day of the week – unless it’s in his beloved Spain.
But they are first and joint second in the betting at 6/1 and 14/1 respectively, although it’s easier to see why the other man at the latter price, Peter Hanson, is playing because he is a Swede.
At least they all have the advantage of this tournament – which has been brought forward six weeks from its usual mid-to-late July slot – starting and finishing a day earlier than usual to help with the travelling across the Atlantic.
Westwood explained his decision by saying anything is worth a shot in his bid to finally land that elusive first Major title.
“I haven't found the right way yet so I might as well keep trying different ones,” said Westwood, who at Wentworth a fortnight ago confessed to feeling tired after three stints in America and trips to Asia and the Middle East already this year.
“It's difficult to prepare for a west coast Major because nowhere is near.
“If you play in Memphis it's still a four to five-hour flight to California, so it's a tussle whether you play in all that heat or you go to Sweden, where there will be steady conditions and it finishes on Saturday.”
What this tournament - played at the picturesque Bro Hof Slott course north west of Stockholm – has gained in being brought forward with the appearances of Westwood and Garcia, it has lost with the absence of any big-name Americans.
Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson played last year – the latter was in the final group on Sunday with winner Alex Noren – but all the Americans are now either preparing for the US Open or had to qualify for it this week.
That could leave the way clear for an outsider or two to sneak into the frame and one such possibility is Carlos Del Moral, a 100/1 chance with Paddy Power
The Spaniard is nowhere near as familiar a name as his compatriot Garcia but has been playing well recently, finishing 21st in the Spanish Open, fourth in Madeira and 11th in the Wales Open during his last four outings.
In last year’s Nordea the 26-year-old had top-five possibilities after three rounds but then fell away with a closing 82 when he failed to handle the strong winds that blew on Sunday.
Still, Del Moral had done enough to show the course suits him and if conditions are benign he could prove to be well worth an each-way tickle.