The Open Championship is THE Headline Event This Week
Let’s get right down to it shall we? The Open Championship is being contested this week, and when the dust settles on Sunday we’ll be crowning a new Champion Golfer of the Year. It seems like a lifetime since we crowned Shane Lowry with that distinction. Almost two years.
Unfortunately, there is a fog looming over this year’s edition of the Open Championship being held at Royal St. George’s Golf Club. A fog that is akin to the last time the English soccer team won a major trophy (too soon?) or my Toronto Maple Leafs last made it out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs let alone winning the Stanley Cup (1967). Either way, England, I can relate.
Some people over the various social media channels have made the outlandish statement that The Open Championship is THE alternate field event opposite the Barbasol Championship that’s taking place this week on the PGA TOUR in Kentucky. A field that looks like a Marriage of the PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour, and the PGA TOUR Champions.
Simply put, this sentiment is as bogus as a three dollar bill. Is there any country in the world that has one of those? The reason for this irrational thinking is because of a number of withdrawals from The 149th Open Championship. Varying reasons for the withdrawals range from Olympic preparation to the birth of a child. As a matter of fact, no less than sixteen players have withdrawn, including.
- Danny Lee – Injury
- K.H. Lee – Birth of a child
- Matthew Wolff – Unknown
- Kevin Na – Travel and COVID-19 restriction at the event
- Si Woo Kim – Olympics preparation
- Sungjae Im – Olympics preparation
- Hideki Matsuyama – Tested positive for COVID-19(self-isolating)
- Zach Johnson – Tested Positive for COVID-19
- Louis de Jager – Tested Positive for COVID-19
- Ryan Moore – Back Injury(?)
- Bubba Watson – Came into close contact with someone who has COVID-19
- Cameron Davis – Travel visa
The latter (Bubba Watson) penned a very nice and classy post over social media. Even though, he himself is not positive out of concern for everyone involved he elected to withdraw (see below). A letter and decision that I respect to the nth degree.
So yes, we’ve seen a few players withdraw including the reigning Masters Champion and World #35 Matthew Wolff. But, before you can actually say that The Open Championship has turned into an alternate field event you have to look at the field and the players that are actually playing. The list is as star-studded as it comes (save for Tiger Woods, Matsuyama, Bubba, and Wolff). Out of the Top 50 players in the OWGR, only 4 are not playing.
On the other hand, the Barbasol Championship is headlined by guys like Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Jason Dufner, John Daly, Seamus Power, and Charl Schwartzel. Long-hitting South African Wilco Nienaber is playing as is Canada’s Michael Gligic, David Hearn, Nick Taylor, and Taylor Pendrith who is no slouch in the distance category. While there is no such thing as a “weak field” on the PGA TOUR, the Barbasol Championship is diluted enough to clearly make it an Alternate Field Event. Maybe I’ve overlooked someone, but, Schwartzel is the only player ranked inside of the Top 100 in the OWGR (he sits 99th).
The Open Championship is my favourite Major followed by the U.S. Open and then The Masters. I love waking up and watching the golf from across the pond as I sip a coffee and eat my hot cereal. The 149th edition of The Open Championship will be no different. Bubba, I’m with you. I’d love to se a lot of wind and rain. Heck, I really love it when we see all four seasons in one week.
For the record, I like Jon Rahm to win this week to win back-to-back Major’s. For a darkhorse pick (odds have to be 50-1 or worse), my pick is Kevin Kisner. But, I do like Christiaan Bezuidenhout too!
Until The Next Tee!!