The Open Championship is almost upon us and as the golfing world gears up for the game’s greatest championship, we thought we’d get in touch with our friends at Golf Magic and Golf Central Daily (@golfcentraldoc) and share a few thoughts about what to expect at Royal Liverpool this year…
Charlie Lemay – Golf Magic
I’m hardly going out on a limb here but it’s hard to look past the 25-year-old. Grew up playing links courses and in good form at the moment.
T5 and T2 in majors this year, Fowler is knocking on the door. Choosing to play in the Scottish Open this week should serve him well and a T5 in the Open in 2011 shows he can perform on our shores.
It’s a mammoth task for Tiger to compete this week as he has been out for a considerable time and showed he is very rusty last week. Short game will be vital and it looks like he is still searching for his at the moment.
Prediction for the Week
Tiger Woods to spit, swear and be picked up by the mic saying ‘Tiger you suck!’ before the turn on the first day.
Donal Hughes – Golf Central Daily
Henrik Stenson 16/1
If there was ever a time that Henrik Stenson would be primed to become The Open Champion now would be it. Having been on the podium in 2008 (T3), 2010 (T3) and 2013 (2nd) Stenson has all the experience needed to take the next step.
The Swede’s form line is excellent too since a T7 at Wentworth, a solo fifth back home in Sweden a T4 at Pinehurst and T2 in Cologne at The BMW International. I think he can win this.
Jamie Donaldson 80/1
Ever since Jamie won the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush he went into a recess of my brain marked “watch out for on links courses.” Now in the upper echelon with golf’s elite Jamie is slowly but surely coming to terms with a new schedule. I was mightily impressed by his performance at the brutally tough and newly renovated TPC Blue Monster at Doral where he finished T2 alongside Bubba and behind Patrick Reed. Returned to form after missing the cut in Pinehurst with a T5 at the BMW International in Cologne and repeated the feat at Golf National last week. Only his fourth Open start, I expect this to be his best. 6/1 to finish in the top 10.
Fans of Tiger Woods will be expecting a big performance at Hoylake given the fact he cruised to victory in 2006 and won’t need need his crooked driver on this course. However given the fact that he played just one event following back surgery, I will be mightily surprised if Woods makes the weekend. On a positive note, I have been mightily surprised by Woods many times before; he’s the greatest player of our generation.
Prediction for the Week
Aside from the winners I’m predicting this Open will throw up several surprise contenders. Anyone who has a solid straight driving week will be in touch. From 10 feet and in the greens are super true and with large flat surfaces expect a mile of bombs to be held.
Henrik Stenson was my original pick but in the interest of variety, I’m going to go with a different player to Donal in the form of Graeme McDowell.
We all know Graeme is a man for the biggest stages in golf and with a major already under the belt, he’s proved he can get the job done when it really matters.
McDowell is no stranger to links golf having grown up playing by the coast in Northern Ireland and if the going gets tough, there are few who can match G-Mac for tenacity. If the weather sets in, McDowell might just get his hands on his 2nd major championship.
The Argentine’s yearly routine seems to be…
Step 1 – Eat steak and drink fine Malbec wines back home in Argentina
Step 2 – Check bank balance to realise it’s getting a little low
Step 3 – Go win a major
Angel’s always a good outside bet at the majors, particularly the Open and The Masters and at such long odds (around 75/1) he’s worth a flutter if you’re in to that sort of thing! Angel was within touching distance of the lead until last year’s final round and with a recent win under his belt, I wouldn’t be surprised to see “El Pato” challenging come Sunday.
With all the hype surrounding Tiger Woods’ return to Hoylake, where he last won the Open Championship, it would be a crying shame for him to miss the cut. This however is a real possibility considering his well documented lack of competitive golf this season due to injury.
Tiger’s the obvious choice here but I’m also going to go with a lack of a British winner. Justin Rose will be looking to “do a Mickelson” and win the Scottish Open and Open Championship back to back but I think a 3rd straight win might be one step too far for the Englishman.
Rose doesn’t have the best of records at golf’s oldest major and with the hopes of a nation on his shoulders following his recent form; he might struggle to maintain his recent dazzling play.
Prediction for the Week
A marquee name with proven Open pedigree will walk off with the Claret Jug. This might sound like a fairly safe bet but at Hoylake’s Open history suggests an impressive Open resume is required to win in this corner of the Wirral peninsula.
When Tiger won it was his 3rd Open Championship win.
Roberto de Vicenzo won at Hoylake in 1967 and when he did he had already finished in the top 3 at no less than five previous Opens.
Royal Liverpool 1956…Peter Thomson wins his third straight Claret Jug.
Bobby Jones also won his 3rd Open at Hoylake in 1930 and with other winners at this grand old golf club including the likes of Walter Hagen and JH Taylor, it seems a proven Open record is a must at Hoylake.
In fact, five of the last eight Open champions at Royal Liverpool already had their names on the Claret Jug while those who were 1st time winners still had previous form in golf’s oldest major.