The Open is set to unfold this weekend in the world of professional golf. As the fourth and final major tournament on the PGA calendar, this prestigious event promises to deliver a captivating showcase of skill, determination, and sportsmanship. In this article, we will delve into the heart of the matter, discussing the formidable course that awaits the golfers, highlighting the impressive field of players vying for glory, and providing keen insights on the best bets that could potentially shape the outcome of this exhilarating championship. So, buckle up and get ready to immerse yourself in the excitement as we prepare for an unforgettable weekend of golf!
The Course: Royal Liverpool Golf Club (Hoylake, England)
True for every Open venue, Royal Liverpool is a links style course, meaning it's along the coastline of England, Scotland, or Ireland, has sandy soil, little to no trees, pot bunkers, dune grass (fescue) roughs, high amounts of wind, and lots of undulation.
Instead of dodging and shot shaping around trees, on links courses, you must hit the ball straight and have well thought out shot selections in order to avoid the devastating roughs and the nasty deep bunkers. This is what makes the links style course notoriously the most difficult to play.
The Tee Box:
Strokes Gained off the Tee may be the most important statistic for this weekend's tournament. Because of the unforgiving roughs, the numerous fairway bunkers, and the close proximity of out-of-bounds on numerous driving holes, golfers that wish to be successful must take advantage of the tee box.
There are a couple holes that are drivable, as well as a short Par 5, but if you can't control your ball of the tee, then you are in some major trouble. If you wish to lay up and use less than driver, then you may also find yourself in problematic situations. This will make for longer approach shots where you will have to navigate the vigorous winds and the uneven greens much more.
Because most golfers will decide to layup, the strokes gained on approach will be the next biggest statistic to look at. Trying to land on elevated green, littered with bunkers, with 15mph crosswinds, sounds like absolute hell. The best approach players in the world will be quickly known and should excel.
Around the Greens:
With everything about this course sounding like a nightmare, the greens aren't that bad. They are relatively flat and have a slow pace meaning that the golfers can get more aggressive with putts. But the important part about the greens, is that the golfer must land on the green. If you find yourself in the pot bunkers, then good luck. These bunkers are look exactly what they sound like, pot holes with sand in the bottom. They can be multiple feet deep, and it is guaranteed that you'll see a golfer hack at his ball 2-3 times, maybe more, in order to get out of these hazards.
Rory McIlroy (2014) -17
Tiger Woods (2006) -18
Player Stats: (According to pgatour.com)
*NOT INCLUDING LIV PLAYERS*
The following statistical categories I believe will be the most beneficial to look at when placing your bets. Again, you must remember this does not take into account the LIV players, so please don't forget them!
Strokes Gained Off Tee:
Strokes Gained on Approach:
Strokes Gained Around the Green:
Bets and Predictions:
It's hard to not take Scottie at any event, let alone a major. Scottie ranks first in both strokes gained off tee and strokes gained on approach, and is also in the top 10 of strokes gained around green and scrambling. Scottie is a complete package, and although his putting has been horrible, I think he may get lucky this weekend with the green being relatively easy.
Give me Scottie outright (+700) & Top 10 (-135) *no dead heat*
Another golfer who has had recent success on this course as well as last weekend, is Rory McIlroy. Rory ranks second on SG off Tee and 8th on SG on approach. He also is the only golfer in the field who has won this course before. Rory's win last week in the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club, a course very similar to Royal Liverpool, is also very compelling to take him.
Which is why I will, Rory outright (+750) & top 10 (-135)
Please do not forget about the LIV players. Cam Smith is one of the hottest golfers right now in both leagues. He's just coming off a first place finish on the LIV Tour back on July 9th, and he has finished in contention for all three PGA Majors. His worst finish was at the Masters where he finished T34, but then finished T9 at the PGA and 4th and the US Open. Despite looking like a weasel, the dude can play golf!
Weasel Boy Cam Smith outright (+2200) and top 10 (+140)
You always have to have a couple sleepers in your bet slip, so of course I have sprinkled a couple more underdogs to win it outright:
Collin Morikawa (+3000)
Patrick Reed (+8000)