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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

My "5 to Watch" at the Open

I dread picking just five players this week. The Open is, in my opinion, too wide open to limit the field that much. I can easily pick 15 players who deserve to be seriously considered as favorites.

18th hole at Carnoustie

Carnoustie has never been as hard and fast as it is this week, nor has the rough been so sparse. At least, not in anybody's memory. Nor is the weather expected to be much of a factor at this point. And that means short hitters don't have to worry about hitting long approach shots, and they don't have to worry how far the big hitters hit it. It may simply become a game of "miss the bunkers and make the putts," and that could make for a very interesting competiton.

All of which means that it's very hard to figure out which five players are most likely to win this week. But I'll soldier on and we'll see how I do.
  • Perhaps the hottest player in the field this week is Francesco Molinari. In his last four worldwide starts, Francesco has two wins and two runner-up finishes. As good as Francesco is with his irons, all he needs is for his putter to stay somewhat warm. If it does, he could be lifting the Claret Jug at week's end.
  • Alex Noren is coming off a win at the French Open, as well as a runner-up and two thirds in worldwide starts this season. Alex is a streaky player, and could be in the early stages of a new streak. He's also extremely aggressive, and Carnoustie could lend itself to exactly the kind of game he likes to play.
  • Nobody is talking much about Brooks Koepka. It's worth noting that they weren't talking about him at the US Open either, and we all know what happened there. It's also worth noting that Brooks finished 6th last year and 10th two years before (he didn't play the Open in 2016), and the time he spent on the European Tour includes several rounds at Carnoustie during the Dunhill Links.
  • Since the beginning of 2017 Brooks has the best score to par in majors... and Rickie Fowler is only one stroke behind him; both are pretty far ahead of third place. Rickie has played very well in the Open -- in fact, in all of the majors over the last year or so -- and he's won the Scottish Open before, so we know he's comfortable on a links.You have to think Rickie has a good chance, especially if the wind does get up over the weekend.
  • And my flier is... Tiger Woods. I know most wouldn't consider Tiger a flier at this point, but I've written at length about my belief that Tiger's nervous system still hasn't recovered from the trauma it's experienced over the last few years. He's only had seven months of tournament play, and I just don't think that's long enough for his nervous system to completely recover yet. Because of that, his playing is still inconsistent, and there's no telling when he'll heal completely. When he does, he'll probably make a dramatic improvement -- dramatic enough to win a major. It could be this week... but I simply don't know.
These aren't the only players I think can win, obviously, but I had to pick just five. However, I feel pretty sure that Koepka should be the runaway favorite, no matter who made my list. He knows he doesn't have to play his best to win, and he has more familiarity with Carnoustie than most of the players in the field.

Rickie is my sentimental fave, but Brooks just seems to be more ready to pick up major #3 this week. Only time will tell.

2 comments:

  1. The 2018 Open Championship will be the 147th Open Championship, held 19–22 July 2018

    at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland. It will be the eighth Open Championship

    played at Carnoustie.
    The 2018 Open Championship will be the third to be televised domestically by Sky

    Sports. In the United States, it will be the third Open Championship to be televised

    by NBC (Golf Channel's parent network).


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  2. The 2018 Open Championship will be the 147th Open Championship, held 19–22 July 2018

    at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland. It will be the eighth Open Championship

    played at Carnoustie.
    The 2018 Open Championship will be the third to be televised domestically by Sky

    Sports. In the United States, it will be the third Open Championship to be televised

    by NBC (Golf Channel's parent network).


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    ReplyDelete