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.
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!!!
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…
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!!