The third Major Championship of the year has arrived! The 146th Open Championship Tees off tomorrow at Royal Birkdale, which plays host for the 10th time. Quite the contrast to this year’s US Open, the course is drawing rave reviews from every single player.
Open Championship Preview
Royal Birkdale is one of five courses in the Open rotation in England. According to the players, it is also the best, and the fairest of them all. In the previous two stagings of the Open at Birkdale, par has not been broken. The course is not overly long, nor overly gimmicky. It tests every facet of a players game. They are required to hit the ball high, low, left to right, and right to left. It requires imagination, patience, execution and yes, a little luck. The weather looks to be typical Open Championship weather. Winds are expected to blow between 10-20 mph and there will be several days of rain. Depending on how hard it blows, level par just may be good enough to win again. One thing is for sure, entertainment value will be high!
Open Championship Dark Horse Picks
Brian Harman has flown under the radar for his entire career, but never more than this year. Despite a win and being ranked #9 in the FedEx Cup, nobody seems to be talking about him. However, he is a great ball-striker, a phenomenal low-ball hitter, and is as competitive as anybody on tour. He will grind out pars and smile doing it. Add all that up and why can’t Harman make a run at the Claret Jug?
Hard to call such a pedigreed player a “dark horse,” but without a major to his name and at 80-1 odds, I think he qualifies. Kuchar is simply too good to not win a major one day. He is unfazed by weather (and bogeys) and is coming off a top-10 at the Scottish Open in very similar conditions. Don’t be surprised to see him near the top of the leaderboard.
Open Championship Top Contenders
This kid is just so good. His desire to win is as great as his putting. He had a close call in 2015 and adores tough conditions. He leads the tour in strokes-gained-approach-to-the-green and flushing your irons at the Open is a must. He could easily complete the third leg of the career grand slam this week.
The Spaniard finally vanquished his Major demons with a win at the Masters this year. He is playing carefree golf now, and that should be scary for the field. It doesn’t hurt that he is quite possibly the best driver of the golf ball of all time and one of the most creative iron players in the game.
Open Championship Winner Pick
This isn’t just a trendy pick, this is what Rickie has been building towards for years. He has been in contention in many majors, including a runner-up at the Open in 2014. He is incredibly creative, possesses all the shots, and grew up playing in the wind. He is one of the few Americans to truly embrace links golf. Oh, and he also leads the tour in scrambling and sand-saves this year. That is critical playing a tough links course in windy conditions. Rickie finally gets his Major this weekend.