Ross Fisher holds onto lead to win the European Open

Englishman Ross Fisher – who has led the European Open since the opening round – held on to secure the second European Tour victory of his career. A look at golf betting before the tournament wouldn’t have had Ross Fisher down as one of the favourites, but the 27-year-old finished on 20 under, a massive seven shots ahead of Sergio Garcia in second.

Ross Fisher survived a late surge from Sergio Garcia, who was in seventh position before firing an impressive 66 in the final round. He looked in fine form and has moved up to 2nd in the Ryder Cup rankings. When it comes to the Ryder Cup, he will certainly be one of Nick Faldo’s main men, of that there is no doubt.

There were some other players aiming to improve their chances of automatically qualifying for the Ryder Cup during this tournament. Graeme McDowell finished in third position and in doing so moved to 10th in the Ryder Cup standings – he is still by no means guaranteed a spot in Nick Faldo’s team.

Colin Montgomerie had a poor tournament overall, considering he was one of the favourites to win it. He hit a disappointing 77 in the final round, which left him in 24th position. Colin Montgomorie is still in 14th position in the Ryder Cup standings. The Scottish golfer may have to rely on being one of Nick Faldo’s wildcard picks if he is to represent Europe once again.

Elsewhere, Open Champion Padraig Harrington finished in 17th position and is also likely to rely on Nick Faldo’s wildcard picks for a place in the Ryder Cup. Padraig Harrington then went on to tip European Open winner Ross Fisher to win more tournaments, saying that ‘he is well capable of doing this more regularly’.

Ross Fisher’s performance has seen him rise to 11th in the Ryder Cup standings, giving himself a real chance of making his first appearance for Europe. I’d like to see the golf odds on Ross Fisher being the leading point scorer for Europe against the USA – he certainly showed he is capable of great things during his victory at the European Open.

European Tour to start drug testing

The European Tour’s new anti-doping programme to start with European Open

The London Golf Club is set to become the first golf course to hold drugs testing under the European tour’s new anti-doping programme when it hosts the European Open, which starts on 3 July.

The European Tour are eager to start the testing as soon as possible, and that means at the European Open, if not it will be the Scottish Open, the following week.

Apparently part of the motivation behind all the main governing bodies wishing to comply with a worldwide campaign is due in part to its aspirations for golf to be included as an olympic sport, possibly as early as 2016. Without a testing system in place, the International Olympic Committee would not consider the move.

Sports such as athletics and cycling, where stamina or physical strength is a main driving force, there is a history of drugs testing. But golf has only recently been brought into disrepute with suggestions and allegations of golfers taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Last year Gary Player brought the subject to athe attention of the media when he claimed two players had told him they were taking drugs. Within weeks, the European tour and the PGA announced their commitment to begin in the 2008 season.

The European Open will be the start of a concerted anti-doping programme, with North America’s PGA Tour also introducing them in July.

The PGA Championship in August will be the first of golf’s major tournaments to hold testing and it will also be introduced at the Ryder Cup in September.