2022 Open Championship: Top 10 Power Rankings at St. Andrews

Collin Morikawa, 2021 Open Championship,Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
Collin Morikawa, 2021 Open Championship,Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports /
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The final men’s major championship of 2022 is upon us. The 150th playing of The Open Championship is at what other venue than the Home of Golf, the Old Course at St. Andrews Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland.

It’s a two-week showcase for the golf-rich nation. Fourteen of the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking teed it up at last week’s Genesis Scottish Open. It was a co-sanctioned PGA Tour and DP World Tour event for the first time.

The field only gets stronger and the stakes higher this week.

Despite the LIV vs. PGA Tour drama, both tours’ best players are present in the 156-player field.

They’ll be taking on a course established in 1552 and hosting The Open for the 30th time.

Modern technology has taken away some of the Old Course’s teeth, but plenty of strategy, nuance, and skill are in the mix to play well. Doubly so if wind is present as it tends to be.

Driving accuracy is one place to start when looking for a winner this week. A lack of heavy rough allows bombers to play well here, but they can’t be reckless. An array of pot bunkers can vacuum up misplaced shots in the fairways and greenside. Positioning off the tee is also important to set up proper angles to attack, rather than play defense.

Firm and fast conditions can bring shorter players into the fold by allowing drives to keep rolling and rolling until something gets in the way.

Good “feel” players play well at St. Andrews and The Open Championship.

It’s not the week-in, week-out target golf that predominates the PGA Tour and, to some extent, the DP World Tour.

A lot of short par-4s will put a lot of emphasis on wedge play. The greens are large and slow, putting an emphasis on lag putting and those testers in the five to 10-foot range.

The weather forecast looks dry, windy, and with little to no rain. Friday is the best chance for precipitation, so keep an eye on how the tee times stack up when creating a bet slip or DFS lineup.

The tee time draw is almost always a factor at The Open Championship where wind and weather are the key determinants to how low these guys go.

Without any more meandering, let’s get to this week’s top 10 picks to win at The Home of Golf.

Open Championship, St. Andrews, British Open, The Open, R&A, Rory McIlroy, Old Course
March 14: Cameron Smith holds up The Players Championship trophy at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.Syndication Florida Times Union /

With no top-10s since finishing T-3rd and playing in the final group at the Masters, Smith’s stock has dropped a little over the last few months.

Never fear, though, as there are reasons to be optimistic about the Aussie this week. The 2022 Players Champion played solidly at the PGA Championship (T-13th) and the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday (T-13th). After a disappointing missed cut at the U.S. Open, links golf got him back on track last week.

If not for a costly Friday 75, Smith would have been right in the mix with 68-68-67 otherwise. He finished T-10th at The Renaissance Club.

Smith played smart golf with no double bogeys all week and getting up and down from the only bunker he found on Thursday. He was also T-9th in the field in driving accuracy (61.54%).

Smith grew up playing firm, fast and windy golf on the sand belt. This style of golf in Scotland is up his alley. Shot-making and a crafty short game help. He has those in spades.

The 28-year-old’s record at The Open Championship is due to improve. He’s 3-for-4 making the cut but peaked at T-20th in 2019 at Royal Portrush. This will be his St. Andrews debut.

Smith’s on the short list of best players without a major.

He’s got five top-10s in 24 starts and 19 made cuts.

The mulleted man ranks fifth on the PGA Tour in strokes gained approach per round (.833). More importantly, he’s second in proximity from 50-125 yards (15’1”). Those awkward little wedge shots that give guys fits are where Smith gains ground. There are lots of those at St. Andrews, particularly with modern-day equipment.

He’s also 16th in SG putting (.521) and 32nd in SG around the green (.284).