Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #86

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Rory McIlroy is the favorite to win the British Open which is being contested this week at St. Andrews Scotland at 9-1. Xander Schauffele comes in at 14-1 along with Jon Rahm. Schauffele is coming off a win at the Scottish Open last weekend. Tiger Woods will be in the field at the last Major of the season and is a 60-1 long shot to win. I think he can compete, but to win the open outright? I’m surprised his chances are that good.

According to the oddsmakers he has a better chance than Bryson DeChambeau, Gary Woodland, Adam Scott or Patrick Reed. Sergio Garcia and Keegan Bradley are 100-1 shots. Phil Mickelson’s chances are 200-1 and John Daly is listed as 1,000-1.

The old course at St. Andrews is relatively short compared to modern standards. It’s only playing 100 yards longer than it did when it hosted the open in 1995. The severity of the winds will be a determining factor as to how low the platers will go in this championship. It the wind blows naturally the shot-makers and best putters will have the best chance to win because the greens will become firmer and even with a short iron will be tough to hold eliminating the chance at birdie. 156 players will compete in the 150th Open Championship.

This will mark the 29th time St. Andrews has been the venue for the British Open. It was originally 22 holes with shared fairways on the outward and inward holes. When it was changed to 18 holes it became a model for golf courses around the world. The fairways are wide. The widest in professional golf.

Some of the green complexes are two greens in one presenting some chances for interesting shot-making like chipping off one of the double greens or having to negotiate putts in excess of 100 feet. The old course measures 7,305 yards, par 72, but it features just two par fives and two par threes. With the firm fairways the course will play shorter than its posted yardage.

Steep pot bunkers are one of the defenses of the course. They usually require a player to hit a lateral punch out and dopped shot. Seven of the par 4’s measure less than 400 yards so many of them could be reachable depending on the wind. The back nine typically plays more difficult since the prevailing breeze would be in the player’s face.

The cut line is usually between 1 and 3 over par. So how do I think some of the players will do this week? I predict Tiger Woods, after skipping the US Open, will make the cut and finish in the middle of the pack. Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele will finish in the top 5 and Rory McIlory will not be the model of consistency but will win the Claret Jug with rounds ranging from 66 to 74.

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