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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My 5 to Watch at the Open Championship

Last week it was the girls; this week it's the boys. Time to pick my "5 to Watch" at the Open!

Mickelson with the Jug

Hoylake is a different sort of beast this year than it was back in 2006. Back then it was brown and hard; this year it's green and... let's just call it "receptive." The rough is tall and thick. Players won't be able to bunt hybrids down the fairway and get 50 yards of run, especially with more rain in the forecast. It looks like our boys will have to put it in the short grass this year if they have any hope of victory.

And that's why my choices may look a bit strange. The US and European Opens have undergone something of a personality change this year, so my choices need to have shown some promise in both styles of play. Some players who have been on a hot streak, such as Martin Kaymer, don't have a particularly good EO record and thus don't get a nod. And the two most speculative golfers -- Tiger and Phil -- don't seem to be in particularly good form right now. (And yes, I hope I'm wrong and they both get into the mix.)

So let me make my least predictable choices of the year so far.
  • Justin Rose has drawn mixed reviews from the analysts. Can he possibly win three tournaments in a row? Can he do the back-to-back links wins like Phil last year? This is what I know: While his record in the Open isn't that great -- he's missed the cut the last two years -- he just won the Scottish Open and, as I recall, he's been pretty good at US Opens.
  • Rickie Fowler has a decent record at both Opens. Now that his swing changes seem to be taking hold, and given how much he loves the links, I'm looking for him to do well... especially if the weather turns bad.
  • Henrik Stenson was runner-up to Phil in both links events last year and has played well in his last 5 or 6 events this year. Perhaps this is his time...
  • Sergio Garcia simply won't get out of my mind. He hasn't played particularly well leading into this event, but I can't ignore that short game of his. He's simply due, and I see no reason that he couldn't shock the world this week.
  • Jim Furyk is my flier this year. Since Hoylake will likely play more like a US Open, the need for accuracy suits his game. And let's face it -- life being such as it is, the Open Championship seems the least likely major for him to win. Ergo, he should be the favorite.
I debated Adam Scott. Oh my, how I debated Adam Scott! He nearly won this event the last two years, holding the lead on the back 9 both times. And he's playing well in the lead-up to the event this year. But he's the obvious choice while Sergio is not... I simply can't make myself go chalk.

Will Adam Scott do it anyway and restore order in a season of constant surprises... or will another Mo Martin step up and snatch the Jug? We'll know in just a few days!


  1. Instead of senior women's major, we get this

  2. I'd rather see another version of this