The 2015 Open Championship is returning to the home of golf. St. Andrews will once again host this prestigious event as golfers from around the world compete for the Claret Jug.
This year, an unlikely winner will be holding the famous trophy on late Sunday afternoon. Graeme McDowell, affectionately known as G-Mac, will slay all challengers at The Open to claim his second Major Championship.
Currently ranked 20th in the world, G-Mac has experienced a slow decline from his highest ranking of 6th in 2010. His challenges on the links are not uncommon for professional golfers, but G-Mac keeps his game in form and as such, always seems to hover in the top 20 in the golfing world.
This year, his record on the PGA and European Tours show a resurging G-Mac. His three top-ten finishes in six events is a great start as he vies for the win in July. G-Mac is a bit of a streaky player and he knows how to win.
With eleven overall wins since turning pro in 2002, G-Mac does have the game to compete at the élite circles of professional golf. His performance as a member of three European Ryder Cup teams and a win at the 2010 US Open are a testament to his ability to play under the pressure.
Graeme McDowell does have a spotty record at the Majors over the past five years, however he finished ninth last year at The Open. If G-Mac’s past is any indication of his future performance, and many experts will suggest it is, he might be ready for another breakout year.
In 2011, he missed the cut in three of the four Majors. In 2012, he was in contention in all the Majors. Last year he missed the cut twice and was not in contention for one other Major. Additionally, his start this year is similar to that in 2012, thus logic suggests he is ready to win another Major. And this year, it is The Open.
Is G-Mac ready to raise the Claret Jug for the first time? Right now he is not the odds on favorite to win, (that would be Rory McIlroy) but as the season unfolds and his ball striking improves; this writer expects so will his odds of winning. If he can play more consistently, the European Player of the Year from 2010 might make an appearance.
McDowell is generally considered to be a player who is well prepared, has plenty of experience, and covets the Claret Jug. If, like all players on the professional golf tour, G-Mac gets hot at the right time, he will be hard to bead.
A fast start will help him on the way to the winners’ circle. G-Mac is a former champion and is my pick to win The Open in 2015.
The Grateful Golfer, Pundit Arena
Featured image by © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons