With the Open Championship set to get underway tomorrow (very early tomorrow if you are like me on the East Coast of the US) I thought this would be a good time to take a look at the players that could hoist a Claret Jug Sunday afternoon. The contenders this week feature some of the usual suspects and some guys you may have forgotten about.
Tiger Woods. Tiger started off the year on fire. He won four times and looked to be on cruise control. But he has been less than impressive in his last two starts. And now he has to deal with a dodgy (BRITISH TERM) elbow. He hasn’t played since the US Open in June, so your guess is as good as mine as to how he plays this week. However, if reports are correct, this course is going to be hard and fast. Just the way Eldrick likes it. If you recall, Tiger won the 2006 Open at Hoylake by hitting 2-iron stingers the whole week. If the course stays firm, we could see Tiger implement a similar strategy this week which could lead to a W.
Phil Mickelson. Want to put your money on Lefty this week? Might not be a bad bet. Phil Mickelson took home the Scottish Open last week and is brimming with confidence this week. Traditionally, Phil has struggled on links style courses, but it appears he dispelled a lot of those theories last week. So could he win? Yes, for the first time I would feel confident picking Phil to win a British Open. But, we all know that Phil is Phil and is completely unpredictable, so who knows what to expect.
Graeme McDowell. Graeme has had a feast or famine couple of months. It seems that he either wins or misses the cut. I don’t think it’s going to be one or the other this week for GMac, but I predict a top 10. He is one of the best links players on the planet.
Old Guys. I know old guys may not be a politically correct term, but look at the recent history in the Open. Ernie Els and Darren Clarke took home Claret Jugs when most had written them off into the sunset. Tom Watson was one putt away from taking one home too. The fact is, links style golf brings a lot of these guys back into the mix. Guys like Fred Couples, Nick Faldo, heck, even Watson again all have a shot. Look for one of these guys to make some noise.
Young Guys. Is it just me or is the under 25 crowd just getting better and better? Rickie Fowler has a shot this week. As does Rory McIlroy. Something tells me he will show up this week. Or how about 19 year old Jordan Spieth? He won last week and promptly hopped on a plane to Scotland. Look for him to ride that momentum and keep his adrenaline flowing. He is 19 after all.
So those are my players to watch. I am going off the wall and saying someone from the “Old Guy” category wins. Why? Why not. Go Fred Couples! What do you all think?
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