It’s amazing how it seems to take forever for the Masters to get here in the spring. It’s equally amazing how quickly we find ourselves at British Open week in July.
Contested at one of the hardest golf courses in the world, Carnoustie, I have selected groups of players: those I see playing well, those I see struggling and one winner.
Matt Kuchar — After coming oh so close last year, I think he’ll once again be in the mix for his first major championship. With Sergio Garcia’s win at last year’s Masters, Kuchar has to be on the short list of greatest never to have won a major. Every year you’re that list, it’s harder get off it. But I think he’ll have a shot this weekend.
Sergio Garcia — Last time The Open was at Carnoustie, Sergio had an eight-footer on the final hole to win it all. It missed, and it took him 10 more years to get his major. I think the good memories from 2007 will serve him well next week.
Dustin Johnson — How can you go against DJ? He probably should have won the U.S. Open last month. He’s dominant across all facets of the game. And he’s due for another major. I think he’s in the final group Sunday.
Henrik Stenson — One of the single greatest days of golf came a few years ago when Stenson outdueled Mickelson at Muirfield to win his first major. When he’s on, he’s almost impossible to beat. And his ball striking should serve him well on the demanding Carnoustie layout.
Tiger Woods — I’m torn on this one. His ball striking has been good of late. His putting? Not so much. Garcia back in 2007 had a putt to win it all. I think the slower Open greens will help him stay aggressive on the greens. I expect him to be in contention for a major for the first time in a while.
The Not So Much
Phil Mickelson — The U.S. Open was a letdown. The lack of focus with penalties at the US Open and The Greenbriar tells me he might be deflated. I think his regular schedule during major season is taking its toll on the 48 year old. I don’t think he’ll matter on the weekend.
Young guys — Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. The young guns who looked destined to dominate have faded over the last 6-18 months. They’re still phenomenal players. But their contention and win ratios have dropped. I don’t think any of them come in hot. And I think their “hard” swings fit American golf more than the Open.
Bubba Watson — A normal Open pick in my mind because of his creativity and shot making skills, I think Carnoustie is too demanding for him next week. He’s been one of the hottest players of the year. But I’ll go against the trend here. I think he misses the cut.
Justin Rose — He burst onto the world golf scene as a 17-year-old at the 1998 Open Championship. It took him a long time to find his way from there, but he has cemented himself as one of the world’s top golfers.
A U.S. Open in 2013
An Olympic Gold Medal in 2016.
He’s be as consistently good over the last 18 months as anyone in the world. And he has the practice routine and mental toughness to win on a tough course. I hate to jinx him this week, but I’m going with “Rosey” for the win.
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a Sunday golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at email@example.com.