Jordan Spieth stands on the cusp of history. Can he win The Open Championship?
“Once you start feeling invincible, something bad inevitably happens. Golf is tough like that. Life is tough like that.” – Eddie Pepperell
The home of golf at St. Andrews (the Old Course) hosts the 144th Open Championship, having most recently done so back in 2010. A par 72 measuring 7,305 yards, St. Andrews is an easier test than the likes of Carnoustie, but good driving in particular is needed to take advantage of this.
With Rory McIlroy absent, the path has been somewhat cleared for the mercurial Jordan Spieth to claim the third leg of a monumental Grand Slam, having just won the John Deere Classic following a sudden-death play-off. He would become the first player since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win the first three majors of the year were he to prevail. Jet-lag and little course preparation will hurt his chances, though.
After his superb win at last week’s Scottish Open and further links preparation, Rickie Fowler has never been better placed to join the elite of the game.
The South African delegation should also be on our radar. Louis Oosthuizen won here in 2010 and had a superb weekend at Chambers Bay, as did Branden Grace.
Previous Champions and runner-ups:
2014 Rory McIlroy – Rickie Fowler, Sergio García (Royal Liverpool)
2013 Phil Mickelson – Henrik Stenson (Muirfield)
2012 Ernie Els – Adam Scott (Royal Lytham & St Annes)
2011 Darren Clarke – Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson (Royal St George’s)
2010 Louis Oosthuizen – Lee Westwood (St Andrews)
- J.B. Holmes has missed four out of six Open cuts. Others: Danny Willett (two in three), Matt Kuchar and Geoff Ogilvy (five in nine), Padraig Harrington (three in last five).
- Form in Majors: Matt Every has played only one weekend in his last seven Majors. Others: Russell Henley (six in ten), Pablo Larrazabal (missed last five cuts), Graham DeLaet (four of last five), Miguel Angel Jimenez (last five), Martin Kaymer and Gary Woodland (last three), Bubba Watson (three in five)
- Only two Americans finished in the top ten in 2010 – Sean O’ Hair and Nick Watney.
- Two out of the last eight winners were American (Cink and Mickelson).
- Adam Scott has made the top five in his last three Open appearances.
- The St. Andrews course record of 62 is shared by Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Victor Dubuisson and George Coetzee.
- Thomas Bjorn, Richie Ramsay, James Morrison, Ian Poulter and George Coetzee all finished outside the top 100 at last week’s Scottish Open.
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 13, 2015
Dustin Johnson (14/1)
Spieth’s price is much too short, so we’ll take 14/1 on the second favourite. The longest hitter in golf will relish the opportunity to atone for his US Open loss, and boasts four top eights in his last six Majors. Runner-up in the 2011 edition, Johnson has had two Open top twelves since then.
On the PGA Tour: Second in putting average, ninth in strokes gained: tee-to-green, third in scoring average.
Brandt Snedeker (50/1)
Recently eighth at Chambers Bay, the perennial contender finished third at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012. His last four tournaments have yielded some serious results – 2nd, 6th, 8th at the US Open, and 10th. Has won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this year, so represents good value overall.
Francesco Molinari (100/1)
Molinari was ninth in the 2013 Open, and has made his last seven Major cuts. Four top sixes in his last seven events illustrate his rich vein of form. A former WGC winner, the Italian has the pedigree and form to contend here.
Soren Kjeldsen (300/1)
This 300/1 shot is one of the real form players in Europe at the moment. A win at Royal County Down and a runner-up spot recently indicate that Kjeldsen is as well placed as most to sneak an each-way place. Finished 37th at St. Andrews in 2010.
Andy Sullivan (200/1)
Sixth in his last outing, Sullivan has won both the South African Open and the Joburg Open this year. The Englishman also finished sixth at the Irish Open on a great and difficult links set-up.
Ryan Palmer (150/1)
Fifth at last years PGA Championship, Palmer’s form with the long clubs interests us. He averages 304 yards in distance, is 16th in strokes gained: tee-to-green. Also 12th in total putting, Palmer has the game to upset the odds.