Open Prognosticating

Alright, I admit it I love The Masters. I look forward to that tournament every year. Of course, this year I received my usual “Dear John” letter stating “We regret to inform you… you’re a loser and you will not be going to the 2019 Masters” yadda yadda. So as is my usual custom I develop a faux dislike of The Masters and everything they stand for. At any rate…

The reality here is that its Open Championship week and this is my favourite week of the golf season. I look at the courses in the rota and think a few things. Golf courses the way that golf was meant to be played. Of course, there’s the obvious. The history. This year, the venue is Carnoustie Golf Links. The grand old gal was designed by Allan Robertson with an assist from Old Tom Morris and consequently opened in 1842. The venue hosted its first Open Championship in 1931 (Tommy Armour won The Claret Jug). Many duels have been won and lost at Carnoustie with one particular championship being synonymous with the course. “The Van de Velde” in 1999. Coming up the 72nd hole of the 1999 Open Championship Jean Van de Velde just needed to card a double bogey to win. He would card a triple bogey instead and would lose the championship. Paul Lawrie would eventually win in a playoff.

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Oh the humanity! (Photo Credit: Golf Digest)

So this year. The field is set and many players from the PGA Tour have been overseas for a week or two. In full preparation mode getting ready for the season’s third Major. I didn’t do any sort of predictions for the U.S. Open and quite frankly I don’t know why. But this time around I will no be denied. So in the same manner that I did for The Masters (where I boldly predicted Patrick Reed’s victory) I will handicap the odd separating my picks by using the odds. So without anything else to say here we go…

Favourites (12-1 to 20-1) – The usual suspects adorn this category. Guys like Dustin Johnson (12-1) and Tiger Woods (20-1). However, sitting at 16-1 is Justin Rose. He’s my pick in this grouping. He’s had a nice season, he’s straight and quite frankly I can see him planting a kiss on The Claret Jug come Sunday. #TeamRose

Not Quite The Favourites (25-1 to 40-1) – Jason Day leads the pack of this grouping. But I don’t like him to win The Claret Jug. I have no real basis for saying this but I do. Yes ,he’s quietly won twice on Tour this season but in this range I’m going with the most underrated golfer in men’s professional golf. Marc Leishman! He’s 40-1 and a bit of a longshot already without being a longshot. Even though Sergio Garcia, Masters Champ Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama are in this pod… Leishman sits lurking in the bushes. Like a stealthy assassin he lies in wait. You don’t even know he’s lurking but then all of a sudden.. there he is!!!

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All of a sudden.. he’s there! (Photo Credit: Golf Digest)

 The Darkhorse (50-1 to 80-1) – These are the interesting picks with some real notable names in the mix. I love Zach Johnson but not this week. Ian Poulter could be a mover and shaker and you never know what ‘The Wizard” Bryson DeChambeau has up his sleeves. However, there is one golfer that has had a great season in 2018. Sitting at 66-1 is Bubba Watson. Yes, he had a rough tourney at The Military Tribute (Greenbrier) but I simply dismiss it. He was really pressing to win at his second home and maybe just maybe he was thinking too far ahead to this week. Imagination, length and a total arsenal of crazy shots that he can. Bubba will be there Sunday… if he doesn’t wound too tightly (like at Greenbrier).

The Longshot (100-1 to 300-1) – If you’re a betting type (I’m not) then someone in this category could win you some money. These guys aren’t in the conversation during your morning coffee or round but there are a few names that would make for an intriguing pick. In this case my eyes just can turn away from Austin Cook. Admittedly, I don’t know much about him and quite frankly I know more about his caddy (Kip Henley of Big Break fame) than I do about the 250/1 man. Cook has serious game and has shown flashes of brilliance thus far in his career.He does hold a PGA Tour victory so he does know how to win. He’s ranked 24th in the FedEx Cup race and also finished Top-5 at Greenbrier.He’s pretty steady with greens and fairways hit (albeit nowhere near the top echelon) but he’s just long and accurate enough to win at Carnoustie.

The Off of the Board (500/1 to 2000/1) – So you want to hold lightning in a bottle and seriously cash in on a $20 wager. These are the guys for you. Using my highly scientific methodology I look at names like 500/1 crowd Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els. But can the old man really win this? Sure he can… anybody in the field can. Heck, even a 2000/1 guy can win this thing. I mean if you’re in the field you have a chance right? SO looking up and down I actually feel really good about a name on the list. At 1000/1 I like Sean Crocker!!! Enough to make him my overall pick? We shall see but not likely. He’s won before granted many others in this category have won. But it’s just a gut instinct and maybe worth a “penny of your thoughts”.

So, I’ve tabulated my picks over the six categories and placed them into my “Magic Eight Ball”. My fearless prediction is…

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Greenbrier was an anomaly and he has loftier goals than winning at his second home. Green Jackets are always nice but Jugs are pretty nice too!! He’ll be focused. Keep him in line Ted Scott!!

**Pulling for Rose

Until The Next Tee!!

THE OAKLEY® BUBBA WATSON CAPSULE COLLECTION, DESIGNED FOR A UNIQUE CHAMPION

It’s been a long time since I wore threads from Oakley. As a matter of fact I remember exactly when it was. i was playing in a Mini-Tour event on The Great Lakes Tour at Tarandowah Golfer’s Club outside of Woodstock, Ontario in 2011. During that event I would have significant chest pain/angina that led to me being taken away from the course by ambulance. The paramedics would cut my clothes off of me and that was the last time I wore Oakley.

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The last time I wore Oakley. (Photo Credit: The Great Lakes Tour)

Earlier this year Oakley announced the launch of the Bubba Watson Capsule Collection. With this collection inspired by the 2-time Major Champion and 3-time PGA Tour winner in 2018 Oakley simply designed and fabricated products that are meant to do one thing. Perform.

Please see the press release below as shared by Suhanna Lye Global Head of Public Relations for Oakley and Sam Nadell from PR Firm M&C Saatchi.

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Love the colour!! (Photo Credit: Oakley)

Leveraging the passion and creativity of Team Oakley golfer, Bubba Watson, Oakley has launched a limited-edition golf collection inspired by the two-time Masters champion. Created for athletes that want to be great and dare to be different, the unique collection is equipped with technical features that are built to perform.

KEY FEATURES

  • PERFORMANCE BENEFITS: Engineered construction for improved ease of movement in order to avoid friction in critical areas and increased breathability
  • LEFT SIDE: Contrast color detail, including gradient print, trim, color and graphic detail, placed on the left side to honor the lefty’s playing style
  • COLORS: The collection features neutral tones and shades of blue with pops of Bubba’s signature color, Pink

Until The Next Tee!!

Introducing…. Exclusively @9

Company awarding limited-edition Breitling Navitimer watches for hole-in-ones, attracting new players and group outings to partner courses

INDIANAPOLIS (July 2, 2018) – An Indianapolis-based company is changing expectations in the game of golf by creating truly unforgettable experiences on the course. Exclusively @9 is now offering players at select courses a daily opportunity to win a limited-edition Breitling Navitimer watch any time they score a hole-in-one on designated par-3s. The company’s first partner is The Fort Golf Resort in Indianapolis.

As the only company offering season-long, daily opportunities for golfers to win an exclusive product, @9 is helping to attract new players and more group outings to partner courses. To be eligible, players simply book their tee times through the Exclusively @9 website. No memberships, outside sponsorships, insurance or additional cost is required by individuals or participating groups when booked through @9.

“Exclusively @9 is helping to attract new players to the game of golf and increase excitement during every round that’s played,” said Eric Wynne, president and CEO of The Global Collaboration Group, parent company of Exclusively @9. “Courses have the opportunity to implement our program for the same amount of money third-party vendors charge for only booking tee times. Increased demand reduces inventory, resulting in price increases and greater price stability per round for the course.”

PGA-caliber video equipment is installed by @9 on the designated holes to record and collect data from participating players and provide complete reliability in hole-in-one verification. Using solar energy to power the cameras and recording equipment, @9 can set up multiple holes without laying wires or causing damage to the course. All equipment is installed within a week without disruption of play and eliminates the need for a course representative to be present to verify a hole-in-one.

There is no up-front cost for installation of the program or proprietary, non-intrusive video cameras. Exclusively @9 also offers seasonal courses the opportunity to pre-book rounds during the off-season.

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The Breitling Navitimer. Not exactly your watch from the “dollar store”. A prize worth winning. This does not depict the watch being awarded. Photo Credit: Breitling

As a report from the National Golf Foundation depicts a decline in on-course participation, Exclusively @9 is helping courses differentiate themselves from competitors by offering a unique player experience and opportunity to win an exclusive product for no added cost. The company plans to expand its product offerings and course partners throughout 2018.

“Exclusively @9 is bringing an exciting new element to the game of golf that the industry has never seen before,” said John Swan, PGA director of golf at The Fort Golf Resort. “There are typically about 10 hole-in-ones hit each season at The Fort, and with this one-of-a-kind opportunity from @9, we’re hoping to see even more this year.”

Exclusively @9 is founded by Eric Wynne and Michael Reid who have 50 years of combined experience working for a Fortune 500 insurance and financial services company, including as owners and operators of their own agencies. The duo, along with other business partners, first brought the Exclusively @9 experience to a Web.com Tour tournament in 2017 where a spectator sunk a putt during a putting contest to win the first @9 Breitling limited-edition watch.

The company has formed partnerships with leading organizations in their respective industries, including Breitling, a Swiss watchmaker and Reis-Nichols, a premier Indianapolis jeweler, to offer the highest-quality experiences, products and services. Since 1884, Breitling has established a global reputation for high-precision timepieces, its pioneering role in the development of the wrist chronograph, and its uncompromising commitment to design excellence. The Swiss watchmaker has agreed to manufacture 1,000 limited-edition Navitimer watches that are available through Exclusively @9.

For more information on Exclusively @9, visit www.exclusivelyat9.com. Connect with the company online via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for additional updates and announcements.