The best golfers in the world head across the pond for the third Major Championship of the season. The Open Championship heads back to Scotland and Muirfield Golf Links. Muirfield’s degree of difficulty has everything to do with the weather, but it definitely fits in the rotation with the rest of the breathtakingly beautiful links courses that typically host the British Open.
Last week turned out to be a historic one, as teenager Jordan Spieth took the John Deere Classic win becoming the first teenager to win on tour since the Herbert Hoover administration. As unprecedented as his win was, it wasn’t unexpected since last week I wrote “He has the game to win here if he can get his putter back in gear.” Well, I was wrong; all he had to do was chip in and that solved the problem too. Many of our Fantasy CPR group had Spieth on their roster as well as Zach Johnson who lost in the playoff. The win for the week went to Foot-Wedge with 208 points while Team Tiger leads the segment after finishing with 204 last week coming off a win the week before. Our overall group standings are led by Foot-Wedge who has three wins on the season and 19 top ten finishes.
This week, there are plenty of great options since all the big-names are in play. These are the picks I’m going with for the Yahoo game and in ESPN’s Best Ball Challenge.
Graeme McDowell- McDowell is my pick to win it all this week. He has won three of his last eight tournaments and finished a career-best t5 at last year’s Open. He has the Major experience and the mentality to attack this Links course and thrive on his way to what I think will be his second career Major.
Phil Mickelson- Mickelson won last week in Scotland and has had a huge season including a tough loss at the US Open. Phil bouncing back would be a great storyline and he has done well in the Open lately. He did miss the cut back in 2002, though, but I think he’ll fare much better this week.
Justin Rose- Rose will try to get back-to-back Major Championships after winning at Merion. His only start since then resulted in a t13 at the Travelers. Rose played the Open the last time it visited Muirfield finishing t22.
Ernie Els- Els is as close to a lock as their in in the Open having logged 13 top ten’s in 18 appearances and winning the event in 2002 and last year. In 2002, the event was held at this same course, so he’s extremely comfortable here. He also finished in the top five in 1992, the first time he played Muirfield. He’s been playing well lately but did miss the cut last week in the Scottish Open.
Matt Kuchar- Kuchar is the kind of consistent grinder that would seem be well-suited for the Open. He hasn’t played on Tour since a t28 at the US Open after winning at Muirfield Village (which Jack Nicklaus named after Muirfield links) in this year’s Memorial. He finished t9 last year.
Hunter Mahan- Mahan had five finishes in a row in the top 26 before missing the cut at the AT&T National. He finished t4 at the US Open this year and t19 at the British Open last year.
Rickie Fowler- Fowler has three straight top-25’s including a top 10 at the US Open in his last three events. He also had a solid year at the Masters before fading in the final round. He made the cut last season finishing t31 after a t5 in 2011 and a t14 in 2010.
Jason Day- Day was co-runner up at the US Open and is a consistent member of the leaderboard at recent Majors. He didn’t play the Open Championship last year after a t30 in 2011, a t60 in 2010, and a 34th in 2009.
ESPN Best Ball
Round 1: Graeme McDowell, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama
Further picks posted as the tournament continues.