This year’s British Open Championshipwill go to the player who can mentally withstand the rigors and punishment of a tough links style golf course and embrace the experience for what it is. History with the event is almost as important as good form, which is why guys like Tom Watson continue to contend late into their 50s and 60s. Not saying Watson is a first pager but I would not be surprised if an old timer challenges through a couple of rounds. The last time The Open was contested at Lytham and St. Annes
was in 1996 and Jack Nicklaus, at age 56, was tied for 3rd after two rounds which sent a chill up everyone’s spine. Nothing changes much in Open golf from year to year and most of the usual contenders should be right there on Sunday.
With his recent successes, Tiger Woods is the overwhelming favorite in most betting houses and warrants significant action. Tiger last played at this venue as an amateur and finished tied for 22nd. His performance in the 2012 majors has been lackluster and his missed cut at Greenbriar perplexing. Yes, with his tour leading three wins, we can say Tiger is back, but I’m not convinced. The Tiger of yesteryear didn’t miss cuts in ANY events and Greenbriar will be the second in his last six tournaments. The greatness potential and mental toughness are there, the consistency is not. The best case for Tiger is that the rest of the world’s best are playing lousy right now.
Got a sneaky good feeling about Ernie Els this week. He was in good form at the U.S. Open and finished in the top ten. He finished second at this venue in 1996 so he probably likes the course, and the style of play suits his game and personality.
I’m off the Rory McIlroy bandwagon. Show me some consistency before I’ll ride again.
Lee Westwood, clearly has inherited the title of Best Player To Have Never Won A Major. Off his game at Alstom last week with a tie for 40th but will contend this week. As usual, needs help on the greens.
Defending champion Darren Clarke had his 15 minutes of fame and will not contend.
On the rise: Dustin Johnson is making a speedy recovery from his back problems, has been in good form as of late, and finished tied for second last year. I like his chances.
How does bright orange contrasted against a bleak grey sky coming down the stretch with the lead on Sunday sound? Yes, Rickie Fowler has a good record at The Open and was hot earlier in the year. That final round 84 at The Memorial still bugs me, but I’m warming to his chances.
Mojo pick: Justin Rose. He’s finished 21st at the U.S. Open but last five European events have been top 10s. Wish he’d play a little more but I think he could be ready. Sensing a big week.
Final 2012 Open Picks:
It doesn’t take much courage to pick Tiger to win the Claret Jug but he gets it done on mental toughness and is back on the major chase.
Runner up: Lee Westwood; title retained. . . AGAIN.
Third: Ernie Els; Big Easy gets close but no cigar.