History is everything as we head to St. Andrews for the 2010 Open Championship. While this is a homecoming for Tiger Woods, there is a lot more going on this week. The odds-makers have Woods, McIlroy, Mickelson, Els, Westwood and Harrington as the favourites, but you can decide how accurate that is. I will highlight some trends and players in my preview for the 3rd major of the season and the 150th playing of the Open.
This is the British Open to North America and with all of their talent they should be all over the leaderboard come Sunday. There’s something to note that draws parallels to the US Open; Just as the US Open at Pebble Beach as the Annual Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the European Tour holds the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. However, the last Brit to win The Open was Nick Faldo in ’92 (along with ’90 at St. Andrews) and he’s in the field this week! But here’s some other tea-drinkers who I think can win this week.
He should probably be even with Els and Woods for the favourite to win this week. While Westwood didn’t do well here i n’05 and ’00, he has finished in the Top 5 in 3 of the last 4 majors and he won the Dunhill Links Championship in 2003. He’s always a contender and can definitely win.
While LD’s record at the Open isn’t great (aside from his T5 last year) he’s been playing some great golf as of late. His last 4 tournaments in Europe have resulted in a T11, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes and he will contend this week.
This will only be Fisher’s 4th Open, but his last two he’s finished T39 and T13 and he’s been playing well as of late. Coming off of a T8 at the Scottish Open, 2nd at the BMW International and 10th at the BMW PGA, he’s got the game and had Top 20’s in 3 of last year’s majors. He’s kind of a sleeper, but he wouldn’t surprise me with a win.
I think he’s the dark-horse pick this week and his finishes lately have only helped that title. IJP hasn’t shown great form since his T10 at The Masters, but a T18 at The French Open and a T11 at St. Andrews in 2005 shows signs of hope and I think he can pull it off.
One of the hottest golfers on the planet right now (alongside Graeme MacDowell), didn’t even play in the first two majors this year, but has three straight made cuts in The Open with finishes of (T12, T70 and T13). I still think he’s a huge longshot thought.
In my mind, not many of these guys are sleepers. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see any of these guys win. There could be more, such as Watson, Jiminez and Faldo, but I’ll keep it to the ones that are less obvious.
I know he’s a bit of a stretch as a sleeper, but I don’t think anyone expects him to win, so I think that makes him a sleeper. Paddy has been playing good golf as of late with a T22 at the US Open and a T6 at the BMW PGA Championship. He also picked up a Top 20 in 2000 St. Andrews. I just think he loves this place after winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2006 and 2002. But can a guy who won this thing in 2007 and 2008 really be a sleeper?
Kaymer was the next big thing after his back to back wins last year on the European Tour, but he’s finally coming back to form. With a T6 at the French Open and a T8 at the US Open, Kaymer is game and he’s built for European courses. He was also the runner up in 2008 at the Dunhill Links Championship. His record at The Open has been improving with made cuts in his only appearances (T80 and T34). I am expecting a lot from him.
Goosen shouldn’t be a sleeper, but I think he gets overshadowed by Els. In the past 12 years he’s only missed the cut once and has 7 Top 10’s. He also had a T5 at St. Andrews in 2005 along with winning the Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1997 and 1998. Goosen should be a favourite in the eyes of a lot of people, but I needed to show him some love for his impeccable record.
Sergio has shown flashes of brilliance this year with his T22 at The US Open and 4th at Match Play, but Sergio plays well in Majors. In his past 10 starts at The Open, he has 1 missed cut and 6 Top 10’s. Put that on top of making the cut at the Masters and US Open this year AND winning the Alfred Dunhill Cup AND a T5 in 2005 at St. Andrews and I think we might be onto something. This could be Sergio’s week.
John Daly could be the story this week. Aside from winning here in 1995, Daly finished T27 last year at the Open and T15 at St. Andrews in 2005. He also played great at The Scottish Open this past week, he was in the Top 5 for most of the week until a final round 77 dropped him to 26th place, but he’s so close. He also shouldn’t feel any pressure this week and I think he’ll come through. He’s the ultimate sleeper.
The Nike golfers have some good history heading into this week and yes, there’s more than just Tiger. I fully believe Tiger will win this week. He needs to win this week, but here are five otherNike golfers to watch this week.
Dyson is to the Open Championship what Dustin Johnson was to the US Open; the winner of the annual tour event at the same venue. Dyson has a very weak record in majors, but is familiar enough with the course as he also picked up a T34 in 2005. He’s a very big sleeper, but he loves the course and can finally break through with a good finish at a major.
Duval is close to getting it together. Duval had a great opening round last week the John Deere Classic and also has some history on his side. At St. Andrew’s he’s had a T20 and a T11 at Opens here and made the cut at the US Open this year. I really hope he can pull it together and make some magic happen.
Cink is getting mad love this week and I think he’ll need it. He really did come out of nowhere to win last year and I fully expect him to back it up with a good performance this year. I think he enjoys being in the spotlight and he won’t want to let anyone down, so I would expect him to come through.
His brother may be in the spotlight right now, but they both have major game. Francesco had a T13 at last year’s Open and is coming off back-to-back Top 5’s (T4 at The Scottish Open and T2 at The French Open).
Casey has been a little off as of late, but he plays well at Dunhill Links tournament with a T8 in ’08 and T10 in ’07. He’s definitely due for a win this year and it’s really just a matter of time. He also has 4 straight made cuts at The Open, with a Top 10 in ’08.
Well, that’s it. There are so many golfer this week that anyone could win. To be honest, I would put the house on Tiger and his Method putter. Three majors for the Method and three wins for Tiger at St. Andrews. I think it’s a match made in heaven.