The Open Championship is perhaps the most difficult major to predict the winner.
It may be because it is the Open, and the field consists of players from all over the world. Or maybe because of the weather. If it rains, and the legendary wind picks up, it reduces the contenders immediately.
The R&A say the Open is designed to crown the best player in golf no matter what the World Rankings say.
Despite all the experts predictions, everyone is going on a few stats and mostly just hunch.
So we have found more stats than we can compute, but along with the “expert” hunch we have come up with our top five to win the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Garcia has 10 finishes in the top 10 at the Open; the most recent was a tie for fifth last year. He lost to Padraig Harrington in a playoff in 2007 and tied for second in 2014.
Royal Birkdale requires you stay in the fairway, and be a good ball striker. Garcia is both.
The weather will eliminate most of the field, but the worse the weather, the more likely Garcia will be your new Open Champion.
The (best to never win a major) monkey is off his back. He is in love, at peace, and the Sergio we see now is positive, calm, and not satisfied with just one major. He wants more now that he has tasted victory at Augusta. As much as he is thrilled to be the Masters Champions, his career will not be complete till he wins the Open. He wants it bad.
Spieth has already won twice this year. Before the Travelers he triumphed at Pebble Beach. He also ranks first on Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach and is sixth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green. Good ball-striking is a must at Royal Birkdale.
Spieth hasn’t finished in the top 10 in his last five majors, although he contended at Augusta in April. He is rested and skipped his favorite tournament, the John Deere Classic to come to Royal Birkdale a week early to work on his game. He is serious and wants another major. He has an excellent opportunity this week.
“The type of golf you have to play is totally different than what we see in the other three majors,” Jordan Spieth said ahead of his fifth start in the Open. “You have to have a lot of imagination and a lot of ball-flight control.”
Considered by many to be the best player in the world right now although he is ranked No. 2, Matsuyama has played all over the world and travels well with his game. He can play in good or bad weather, and he love links golf.
His game is at its peak right now, having finished second at the US Open, and has not missed a cut since February. He tied for 14th at the Irish Open.
Rickie Fowler is becoming more consistent each week. He finished T2 at the Memorial, contended at the U.S. Open and followed it up with a solo third at Quicken Loans. Fowler has all the shots, a ton of talent and one of the best putting strokes in golf. His ability to create shots will go a long way on the links layout at Royal Birkdale, plus he actually likes playing in bad weather, and loves shaping shots in the wind.
Fowler won the 2015 Scottish Open and loves links play. He is considered by many the most talented player to of never won a major. He knows that as well as anyone and this may be the week he get’s his first of many majors.
Coming off a month long vacation following his US Open win, Koepka is excited coming to Royal Birkdale. He loves links style courses. He is known as a long hitter, but he doesn’t plan on using his driver this week. Yet his length will put him many yards closer to the green than others and that is important in the expected wind. Bad weather won’t phase him. Much like his buddy Dustin Johnson he is laid back and can stay focused on winning
The last time the Open Championship was played at Royal Birkdale (2008), Harrington won it and that was the second time he won the Open Championship. He won at Carnoustie in 2007. Experience is so important at the Open Championship.
It may seem odd that the No. 1 player in the world is a sleeper pick this week. We tried to put him in the top five but not this year.
He says he is over the injury at the Masters, but something seems missing in his game. Before the Masters he played like no one could beat him. Maybe it is physical or mental, but he has lost that untouchable style of play. He is close, but not close enough to win this week. Would it surprise us if he wins? Not at all. One pick we would be glad to be wrong about!
With his recent win at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, the young Spaniard is on top of his game. His game seems to be lacking nothing and is an aggressive, no lay up type of player. However patience is not something he has shown since joining the tour. He says his attitude changed at the Irish Open, but like Garcia, and Seve, his fire and desire are ever present, and this week with the weather, that fire may get in the way of him winning.