After my brilliant Phil Mickelson pick to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst a month ago, I figured I would take this opportunity to “totally redeem myself” by sharing my thoughts on next week’s British Open.
Now let me be clear once again; these are my personal opinions based on nothing but internal reasoning that probably only makes sense in my own mind.
I did not research stats online. And I did not look up predictions of others. This is all me, so please, do not base any of your own decisions (legal or otherwise) on the information below.
With that said, here’s what I’ve done. Rather than totally jinx one single player in a full column highlighting the obvious reasons why he will win, I figured I’d touch on a number of players. And instead of “handicapping” the field like a “Lefty” Rosenthal wanna-be, I came up with a system of my own.
For each player, I’ve assigned my own “over/under” finishing position and then shared whether I think that player will do better or worse than that assigned position.
Example: Rickie Fowler – Over/Under ninth place. Rickie finished T2 at Pinehurst. And has a number of top-10s in majors over the last two years. I think he’ll be a contender this week. If he wins, he should have to wear a “Thank You Butch” sign for the next year. My Pick: Beats the finish.
OK with the formula:
Lee Westwood – Over/Under 10th place. I think Westwood has more major top 3s without a victory than anyone in the history of the game. He’s been solid this summer overseas and I don’t think he has a lot of “good chances” left. He’s due. My Pick: Beats the finish.
Dustin Johnson – Over/Under 10th place. Johnson has the second longest active streak of “at least one victory per year.” I don’t think he’s won yet in 2014. I don’t think he starts this week. My Pick: Does NOT beat the finish.
Phil Mickelson – Over/Under 20th place. The defending champ has struggled with his putting all year. But majors pump him up, and the good “mojo” that comes with being defending champ will help him a lot. I don’t think he’s a serious contender on Sunday, but I think he cracks the top 20. My pick: Beats the finish.
Tiger Woods – Over/Under 30th place. Tiger won here in 2006 without hitting a single driver all week (I think). He was coming back from an injury. And he was working on his swing. De ja vu in 2014? Not so fast my friends. I think there’s more “wrong” this time than in 2006. And I think he knows it. My pick: Does NOT beat the finish. BONUS PICK: Misses the cut.
Henrik Stenson – Over/Under 15th place. Last years’ dual Fedex Cup and Race to Dubai champion hasn’t had the same form in 2014. But on a hunch, I think he’ll find some form this week. My pick: Beats the finish. BONUS PICK: He might just win.
Jordan Spieth – Over/Under 15th place. The young gun Spieth has bested every possible expectation anyone could have of a 20-year-old. According to his peers, he has every shot. And like the greats before him, he’s not afraid to hit them. He’s confident and he expects success. He’ll find some this week. My pick: Beats the finish.
Steve Stricker — Over/Under 20th place: The semi-retired Stricker keeps going more than the Energizer Bunny. He’ll play well in this week’s John Deere. And he’ll play well next week. My pick: Beats the finish.
Angel Cabrera — Over/Under 15th place: The winner at last week’s Greenbrier Classic has two of the four majors. He’ll come close to a third this week when he continues his fine form. My pick: Beats the finish.
Ben Curtis — Over/Under 60th place: My old friend Ben hasn’t been on a ton of leaderboards this year. But he played well at a sentimental Memorial this June. And beat expectations at a sentimental British Open. My pick: Beats the finish.
Ernie Els – Over under 30th place. One of my favorite swings ever and one of the Tour’s truly “good guys.” He had his late career major victory a few years ago at Adam Scott’s expense. Unfortunately, I don’t think he contends this year. My pick: Does NOT beat the pick.
Adam Scott – Over/Under fifth place. The world’s best player with probably the world’s best swing. He almost won The Open a few years ago. He’s gotten the “major monkey” off his back. And he’s got a caddie (Steve Williams) who carried the winner’s bag last time the tournament was here in 2006.
Rory McIlroy – Over/Under fifth place. Previous No. 1 in the world already has two majors. He’s starting to play well and he wants to win The Open. I’m pretty sure Vegas likes him to win. I only like him for a top-10. My pick: Does NOT beat the finish.
So there you have it — my insight on some of the biggest names in this week’s British Open. I’ve got Adam Scott to win. And Fowler, Stenson, Westwood, McIlroy, Speith, and Cabrera close behind.
Chances are good I’ve just jinxed them all.
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance for The Karzmer Insurance Agency and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at email@example.com.