150th Open Championship Preview

The Old Course at St Andrews.

Proper.

150th Open Championship

The Old Course

St Andrews Links, Fife, Scotland

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The Old Course

Yards (per official scorecard):7,313
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:Fescue/Browntop Bentgrass (.138); 14 shared greens; 4 stand alone putting surfaces.
Stimpmeter:Tournament speed (based on wind).
Rough:Fescue/Browntop Bentgrass/Sweet vernal/Crested Dog’s Tail at 1.65 inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards110/1 (water in play on two holes).
Architects:Mother Nature, Others.
Course Record (last):61; Ross Fisher (2017 Dunhill Links; not entered).
Tournament Scoring Record (course):269; Tiger Woods (2000; -19).
Lowest Round – Major Championship:62; Branden Grace (2017, Royal Birkdale).
Lowest Score Open Championship264; Henrik Stenson (-20; Troon).
Oldest  Winner:Roberto DiVincenzo, 44, 1967.
Youngest Winner:Seve Ballesteros, 22, 1979.
Fact of the Week:Course has two Par-5 holes and two Par-3 holes and is Par-72
Fact of the Week II:49 of the top 50 OWGR are playing this week minus an injured Daniel Berger.
Fact of the Week III:This is the 30th playing at the Old Course. The first was 1873.
Purse:$15 million; $2.5 million and 600 FedExCup points to the winner.

Notes:

  • Full field of 156
  • Top 70 and ties play the final 36 holes.
  • 1963 was the first year for Par 3 and Par 5 holes. Previously all were Par-4.
  • 4 hole aggregate playoff if tied after 72 holes. Hole No. 18 is replayed for Sudden Death after the aggregate playoff.

Previous Winners

Italics – not entered this week

YearPlayerNotes
2021Collin Morikawa,  -15Became the first player to win The Open on debut since Ben Curtis in 2003.
2020  No event 
2019Shane Lowry, -15Won his first major at Royal Portrush by six shots.
2018Francesco Molinari, -8Became the first Italian player to win a major championship at Carnoustie.
2017Jordan Spieth, -12Completed the third leg of the career grand slam winning by three.
2016Henrik Stenson,     -20Became the first Swede to win a major championship (men’s) as he set the major championship scoring record at Troon.
2015Zach Johnson, -15Won a three man playoff at St Andrews as he defeated Louis Oosthuizen and Mark Leishman over four holes.

OAD

Spotter’s Game 2022

2022 EventsGolferPlaceTotal $$
    
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsMarc LeishmanT10188,000
Sony Open in HawaiiKeith MitchellT7227,812
The American ExpressSeamus PowerT14119,700
Farmers Insurance OpenJon RahmT3445,200
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmMaverick McNealyT3343,548
WM Phoenix OpenHideki MatsuyamaT8248,050
The Genesis InvitationalPatrick CantlayT3364,000
The Honda ClassicSungjae ImMC0
Arnold Palmer InvitationalRory McIlroyT13228,000
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipDaniel BergerT13327,222
Valspar ChampionshipKeegan BradleyMC0
WGC – Dell Match PlayPaul CaseyT6041,000
Corales PuntacanaEmiliano GrilloMC0
Valero Texas OpenCorey ConnersT3541,925
Masters TournamentJordan SpiethMC0
RBC HeritageMatt FitzpatrickMC0
Zurich Classic of New OrleansIan Poulter13th69,803
Mexico Open at VidantaDavis Riley5th299,300
Wells Fargo ChampionshipTony FinauT4133,750
AT&T Byron NelsonWill ZalatorisMC0
PGA ChampionshipScottie SchefflerMC0
Charles Schwab ChallengeMax HomaT2377,700
Memorial TournamentCollin MorikawaMC0
RBC Canadian OpenJhonattan VegasT5320,387
US OpenXander SchauffeleT14241,302
Travelers ChampionshipDenny McCarthyMC0
John Deere ClassicNick HardyT3039,082
Barbasol ChampionshipChesson HadleyT687,548
Scottish OpenTommy FleetwoodT4362,000
    
Total Events: 29Top 10: 6MC: 9      $3,125,329
    

This Week – 150th Open

The Home of Golf.

The pot bunkers. The fast fairways. The double greens.

And the list of winners here.

Oh, and the weather.

I have three friends on property this week. Not bad for our little town! The pictures being sent are fantastic. The golds, greens and tans of summer > lush greens of spring. Firm and fast from tee to the green complexes and then the brakes go on. Can’t have fast greens and wind, folks.

Patience and experience will be the first orders of business this week.

Take your medicine and make a birdie on the next hole. There will be bogeys as long as there are bunkers. There will also be birdies as the firm surfaces will shrink the layout. There will be three putting as the massive greens seem to never end.

Everyone is going to hit GIR this week but not everyone is going to do so in regulation or two putt each of them. A bit of nous and accuracy with the tee ball isn’t going to hurt. Lag putting will be required.

There aren’t any ghosts or tricks to deal with this week but there is the massive pressure of history.

Knowing a victory here immortalizes adds a layer between the ears that isn’t for everyone. And doesn’t always make the takeaway any easier. Or the 3 footer on Sunday.

I’d expect some scoring this week and some blown tires, as is always the case in major championship golf. Unlike most tracks, the bounces and breaks will be a factor this week and that’s just how it’s going to be. Some will be defeated before they tee off. Others will relish the challenge to add their name to the history of all history in this game.

John Daly went four years between majors as he won 1991 PGA Championship and then 1995 St Andrews. Zach Johnson went eight years between the 2007 Masters and 2015 Open. Tiger and Jack don’t need any introductions. Neither do Seve Ballesteros or Nick Faldo. I’m still amazed Louis Oosthuizen blew away the field by seven shots in 2010 for his only major championship although he’s finished second plenty of times.

Not much room to fake it here so load up on proper players.

Good luck.

In other news, I’ll select Mark Hubbard for the Reno Tahoe deal.

THE CHOICE: Shane Lowry (+2200)

The Irishman has already proven his worth in this event with a dominating win in 2019. Solid off the tee and proficient on the greens, I’ll hopefully be in contention come Sunday morning here in the States. His only Kryptonite in 2022 was the US Open at The Country Club (MC) but he rebounded nicely for T9 at the Irish Open two weeks later. T35 or better in 13 of his 14 starts in 2022 isn’t begging to find form. He’s handled the pressure before and I’m hoping he’ll do so again.

Warm Blankets: The guys who should. Safe selections that will help maintain leads. Opinions on why or why not for this event or save for later.

Rory McIlroy (+1000): Thankfully OAD doesn’t care about the odds and neither should you. If this is your plan, press SEND, and sit back and relax. The lack of elements favors McIlroy as well as he’s professed his disdain for windy/cool conditions. All falling into place.

Xander Schauffele (+1400): Since using him at the US Open, as I planned, for T14, he’s gone WIN-WIN-WIN. Your witness.

Jon Rahm (+1800): We all know it’s going to turn back around. We’re just not sure when. You know how good he is when we’re questioning his form when he won just five events ago. T55-T12-T10-T48 are his last four including a pair of majors.

Jordan Spieth (+1800): Can he make enough putts? Imagine typing that five years ago! Of the top four he provides the most value for my money. Creative, crafty and comfortable in his game at the moment.

Justin Thomas (+2000): Best finish is T11 Royal Portrush in 2019 but never factored.  T40 at Royal St George’s last year in benign conditions doesn’t inspire. T37 at the US Open was met with a pre-tourney WD at Travelers followed by MC at Scottish. I’ll save him for Memphis.

Matt Fitzpatrick (+2000): Run back his interviews this week and you won’t find many that mention his love for this track. I’ll let him bask in the US Open glory and enjoy his walk this week.

Scottie Scheffler (+2000): Like Morikawa played his first of these last year and cashed T8. World No. 1 doesn’t feel like it as the talk this week has focused more on golf’s past than its future. Understandable.  MC Scottish Open won’t help either as he doesn’t have a ton of reps on these surfaces.

Cameron Smith (+2500): Navigating the 110 plus bunkers from the tee box will be job No. 1. No worries on or around the greens. Not many win their first major championship on this track but that doesn’t mean he can’t be in the mix. Interesting but maybe too many bunkers.

Patrick Cantlay (+2500): It’s Lucy and the Football at this event annually. Just his fourth visit he’s broken 70 once in 10 rounds on three different tracks. T4 last week in North Berwick will help his confidence as he closed 69-67.  Time to stand up and be counted.

Spicy: This might be a week for sending out an “unknown” and saving a start. You just might get lucky. Or MC.

Joaquin Niemann (+5000)

Tiger Woods (+6600)

Tony Finau (+4000)

Justin Rose (+6600)

Seamus Power (+8000)

3 AM at the Blackjack Table: Caution is thrown to the wind. Maybe not the best for this format but what the hell, right? Might throw these in if you’re in need of a miracle.

Billy Horschel (+10000)

Marc Leishman (+8000)

Aaron Wise (+12500)

Tom Kim (+15000)

Funny Money Long Shots:

Sahith Theegala (+15000)

Harris English (+20000)

Jason Scrivener (+30000)

Keita Nakajima (+50000)

Last Time – Scottish Open

THE CHOICE: Tommy Fleetwood – T4

NICE to be back in the top 10 again!

Sad!

I was never touching Kitayama or Kim for this format. I already burned Schauffele so I consider this a win.

About 4 months too late but whatever.

Warm Blankets: The guys who should. Safe selections that will help maintain leads. Opinions on why or why not for this event or save for later.

Jon Rahm (+1200): He’ll always be up here as long as he’s No. 1 SG: Off the Tee and No. 2 GIR. Imagine if he could chip a little? Haha. Solo seventh on debut last year. T55. Vomit.

Justin Thomas (+1400): Back to back top 10 finishes the last two summers here suggests and third should be on the way. Only set back is hitting fairways consistently but that should change this week with big targets. Attacking with wedges is his specialty. MC but he got to leave early and go play St Andrews with Tiger.

Scottie Scheffler (+1400): Last year he posted 63 in his second round here so he’s a quick study. He’s also never had a problem going low. Nobody hits more GIR. Solo 12th here last year. MC as he didn’t break par this time around.

Xander Schauffele (+1800): And then he got hot. Win at Zurich started a streak of T5-T13-T18-T14-WIN-WIN. Not bad. T10 on debut here last year. Add another WIN.

Matt Fitzpatrick (+2000): His worst finish worldwide in 2022 in STROKE PLAY is T14 at the Masters. Sure he’s MC three times but the point stands. How many guys win the next full field event after a major? Big ask. He’s never MC from three here with P2 last year and T14 in 2019. Add T6 to his reign of terror at Renaissance Club.

Patrick Cantlay (+2500): Sat just behind Schauffele heading into the final round at Travelers before he blew a tire (76) on Sunday. T13 was his NINTH Top 15 in 2022.  Sits fourth in Birdie Average. T4 makes it 10 top 15 paydays in 2022.

Will Zalatoris (+2500): Like Fleetwood, he hasn’t won in the States so maybe the change of scenery will change his luck. There’s nothing lucky about the way he pummels the golf ball tee to green though. He’s first SG: Approach and second TTG. MC.

Spicy: This might be a week for sending out an “unknown” and saving a start. You just might get lucky. Or MC.

Cameron Smith (+2800): No top 10 since the Masters but he’s first in Birdie Average and second SG: Approach. Nice combo this week if the wind isn’t a factor. He’s another who will enjoy generous fairways this week. We have another top 10! T10.

Collin Morikawa (+2800): There’s a faction of you out there who swear anytime he’s better than 20-1 that you’re going in. Anybody who posts 66 TWICE at The Country Club (T5) should garner that attention.  Time to load up. MC; yikes.

Sam Burns (+2800): T18 on debut here last year but rolls in T27-MC in his last two on TOUR. I’m splitting hairs with a field this deep. You do you. T66

Hideki Matsuyama (+3000): Anytime putting doesn’t take center stage I’ll turn to a guy who hits all of the GIR. Sits third in SG: Approach and rolls in after solo fourth at US Open. One of many top players to crash and burn. MC.

Ryan Fox (+4000): Can he win in a field this deep? That would take some doing. Can he pull off a top 10? Look at this run of form: 2nd-3rd-MC-2nd-54-T2-T8-T9-T15-WIN. That was exhausting to type! Now, the caveat: MC = US Open and 54 = PGA Championship. T47 and the mystery continues.

Sungjae Im (+4000): No value here but I like a guy who pounds it this week and can make a ton of birdies. Wiesberger needed 30 to get in a playoff in 2019 and Min Woo Lee circled 26 last year to also get extra holes. MC as the game isn’t played on paper.

Lucas Herbert (+5000): T4 and T4 in his only two visits. The ol’ 69-75 MC.

Aaron Rai (+6600): Just extremely solid on TOUR and returns to the scene of his 2020 victory. Not close, MC.

Robert MacIntyre (+8000): Next week too. MC hopefully doesn’t follow.

3 AM at the Blackjack Table: Caution is thrown to the wind. Maybe not the best for this format but what the hell, right? Might throw these in if you’re in need of a miracle.

Maverick McNealy (+10000): Grew up in the cool on the links. Top 10 last week shouldn’t hurt his confidence. T16

Haotong Li (+12500): Trending nicely and rolls in off a win in Munich. T55.

Matthew NeSmith (+15000): Seven straight on TOUR. Hit it closer than the rest, fam. MC

Padraig Harrington (+20000): Player consultant to Tom Doak, links expert and just won the US Senior Open. His putter will need a week though! MC.

Funny Money Long Shots:


Callum Tarren (+250000): Hope he’s not distracted being close to home. MC by a shot.

Joohyung Kim (+250000): 23rd at the US Open, not bad. SOLO THIRD BETTER.

Grant Forrest (+400000): Top 30. MC

Masahiro Kawamura (+400000): Make the cut. MC

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