One month ago, we crowned Germany’s Martin Kaymer as golf’s United States Open Champion. Last Sunday, Germany took home Soccer’s most prized possession, The World Cup Trophy. Now it’s on to The Open Championship, golf’s World Championship, the British.
The 143rd version will host 156 contestants at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England. Will Germany complete the triple play?
I am always so excited every year for this weekend of waking up in the wee hours of the morning, brewing a pot of coffee, and sitting on the couch for hours, alone in silence – with nothing but the winds of The British Open, Mother Nature, and wide open, raw, world class golf in the air.
We were on our couches eight years ago, performing this midsummer routine, watching Tiger Woods dominate Hoylake with irons off the tee and wispy, dry, dusty, links golf conditions providing the canvas for his 13th Major Championship. Tiger will be back this year, his first Major since recovering from back surgery.
Woods will see a Royal Liverpool approximately 64 yards longer. It’s a par 72, over 7,300-yards long, features 4-five pars, and will be a greener, softer Hoylake this time around – not so firm and fast as in 2006. There’s also more rough off the fairways.
It marks the 10th time Royal Liverpool has hosted The Open. It is not a spectacle in beauty but rather in depth and character – a wonderful test of crosswinds, and pot bunkers, perfectly suited to produce this season’s Champion Golfer of The Year.
Adam Scott (12-1): The No. 1 one golfer in the world has been a dominating model of consistency ever since he blew winning The Open at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s in 2012. He has won six times around the world since then, including The Masters and finished third at The British last year. Scott also finished eighth at Hoylake in 2006.
Justin Rose (12-1): The hottest golfer in the world currently who has won in his last two starts, The Scottish Open last week and Tiger’s Quicken Loans National Tournament prior to that at Congressional. The bad news is, Rose has just one top 10 finish at The Open and has missed the cut three of the last four years.
Rory McIlroy (14-1): McIlroy was at Hoylake last week getting in plenty of practice. He does not have tremendous history at The British Open but if he can just get past that nasty second round. He just finished 14th at The Scottish Open after firing a 78 in Round 2. He is 9 over par in the second round of events this year and a combined 90 under par in 1, 3, and 4.
Martin Kaymer (16-1): Kaymer dusted the field at Pinehurst a month ago to give him his second Major. In 12 events this season, he has two wins and three top 10 finishes.
Henrik Stenson (16-1): A real resurgence, Stenson has been outstanding in the Majors, winning The Fed Ex Cup and The Race To Dubai in the same year. The Swede has three top 5 finishes in the most recent Majors.
Phil Mickelson (20-1): The defending champion. Mickelson could never figure out links golf it seems until he put together the round of his life at Muirfield on Sunday last year. He is coming off finishing 11th at The Scottish Open but has not done much other than that this year.
Others to Watch
Sergio Garcia (25-1): Is this guy ever not a contender? El Nino was fifth in 2006, has 10 top ten finishes this year, including a second a month ago at The Travelers, and seven top 10 finishes at The Open.
Rickie Fowler (30-1): Fowler is a relative newbie to The British Open but he does have one top 10 in his four tries and he has been money under the bright lights this season. He was third at The Match Play, fifth at The Masters, and second to Kaymer at the US Open. Fowler was eighth at The Scottish Open.
Angel Cabrera (50-1): Cabrera just won two weeks ago at The Greenbrier and is indeed a big game hunter with a Masters and US Open to his credit. El Pato finished seventh at Hoylake in 2006.
Ian Poulter (40-1): Poulter has been under the radar a bit this year, but was 20th at Augusta and 17th at Pinehurst. He has two top 10’s (third, ninth) in The Open the past two years.
Ernie Els (60-1): You can never count out a two time Open Championship winner, especially with the last coming just two years ago. In 23 British Opens, The Big Easy has 13 top 10 finishes including third in 2006.
Jim Furyk (60-1): Furyk has been oh so close many times since winning the US Open in 2003. He was fourth in 2006 and has five top 10 finishes in his annual trip across the pond. Furyk has a tremendous amount of ability in what it takes to win at this venue, including driving accuracy, par 4 performance and scrambling.
Zach Johnson (50-1): A very steady, accurate driver, and good wind player, Johnson just fired a Sunday 64 at The John Deere to finish 1 shot back in second place for his sixth top 10 finish of the season. In the last three Open Championships, he has finished sixth, ninth, and 16th. After starting out 2014 on fire, I like Zach to earn his second Major title and become The Champion Golfer of The Year.
Sorry, Germany. This crown goes to an American.