British Open Preview
July 15, 2013
By Dan Daly
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Normally I wouldn't give the time of day to the John Deere Steve Stricker Open, especially the week of a major, but I have to acknowledge my man Jordan Spieth. How good is this guy? Became the fourth youngest PGA Tour winner ever, earned full PGA Tour membership, moved to 11th in FedEx points, qualified for the British Open this week, Augusta next year and pretty much wrapped up rookie of the year all before his 20th birthday. Oh, and won a national championship at Texas the one year he was there to boot. Yeah, I think he's going to do ok for himself.
However the biggest story in golf actually took place over the weekend amid the pine trees in East Texas during the annual North/South Cup. While a majority of you reading have never heard of this tournament before I'm pretty sure The Golf Channel is going to air a special on it after what transpired Saturday afternoon. Look, I'm not saying it was the greatest comeback in the history of team sports (I will let scholars debate that in the decades to come) but it made the Battle of Brookline in the 1999 Ryder Cup look like a cake walk. Down 10.5 to 5.5 heading into the singles matches and facing a very solid South squad, the North team mounted a comeback of epic portion to square the match before playing Captain Silas Graham birdied the first playoff hole to take the Cup back for the North. Suck on that DL III, that's what good team captain's do.
Moving on to less important tournaments…Because I live in America, I will break down the British Open.
Obviously the biggest story of the week going into the British Open involves the elbow of a past British Open Champion…and it's not Tiger Woods. Tragic news struck this week when John Daly had to withdraw from the British Open for season ending elbow surgery. Basically JD will miss the only two majors he can play in, the British Open and the PGA Championship. I think we can all agree everyone loses in this scenario. Hey, at least he has two majors.
Let's start with who isn't going to win this week
Ernie Els (25/1): Probably going to be the most popular player bet on this week. However I'm selling tickets on the Ernie Els bandwagon as fast as I can. I'm the frickin' Stubhub for Ernie Els bandwagon tickets this week. Defending champion, check. Defending champion at Muirfield, check. Won on the Euro tour recently, check. What does it all add up to? Zero chance of him winning this week. I had him winning in this space last year at 40/1 odds and hit that, so just trust me on this one.
Phil Mickelson (25/1): Although that number will come down after his win on Sunday. And by win, I mean complete meltdown on the 72nd hole followed by a win. But by all means, feel free to take him if you don't like your money. I know, I know, he has figured out links golf now; he won the Scottish Open. Great point. He was also second at the Scottish Open in 2007 and missed the cut the next week. Look, FIGJAM Mickelson and any major with the word "Open" in it just don't go well. He obviously can't win the U.S. Open and he has TWO career top 10's in the British Open. Yeah, I think I'll pass. And can we please stop already with the "Phil the Thrill" comments. How does having constant meltdowns at the end of tournaments make you "The Thrill?" They're called meltdowns…no more, no less.
Rory McIlroy (20/1): I would barely give him 20/1 odds to make the cut this week, much less win. Are you kidding me? This is the same guy that has snapped two clubs in his last two starts, correct? How's that Nike thing working out for you? I mean, besides the fact that you are stupid rich because of it.
Tiger Woods (15/2): That's right, I put him in this category; me, the biggest Tiger apologist around, but the dude simply has zero chance this week. Take your pick on why: the course, the elbow, the lack of practice…lord knows the list is long, but it just ain't happening this week. He will play the weekend…that much I'm sure of. However, short of Earl coming back and training him for a week, don't waste your money on him either.
Justin Rose (20/1): Could he win? Of course, it wouldn't shock me, but I'll bet against him winning both Open's back to back. The last to do it was Tiger Woods in 2000 and before that it was Tom Watson in 1982. Rose is good and he will contend, but he won't win.
Sergio Garcia (30/1): The real question here isn't if Sergio will win, but at what point over the weekend will he have a complete mental meltdown and cost himself the tournament? Whether it's offending an entire race, or bitch slapping a marshal, or snapping all of his clubs and playing the entire round with just a 7-iron? No one knows, not even Sergio, but that's what makes it so fun to watch.
Adam Scott (20/1): You remember him right? He lost last year's British Open because he had such an advantage with the anchor putter that he missed everything he looked at the last five holes. Besides, after he won the Masters you know he quit practicing and just spent the next two months having sex with all of the contestants in the Miss Universe pageant…because he can. And quite frankly, I think he made the right decision.
Ian Poulter (40/1): If someone would just tell him it's the Ryder Cup he would win by 15 shots. He will win a British Open sooner than later, just not this soon. One thing he will win though is the award for most outlandish outfit at least one of the four days. That I will put at even money.
Thomas Bjorn (50/1): With a seven week old baby at home, my Saturday and Sunday mornings start a whole lot earlier than they use to. I tell you this because I've learned the only thing on TV worth watching at that hour is European Golf on TGC. And since my little girl has yet to ask me to change the channel, we watch it together. The one guy I seem to see on the leaderboard every week, without fail (and without winning) is Thomas Bjorn. And don't forget, he held a 3-shot lead going into the final 4 holes of the 2003 British Open before it took him roughly 27 tries to get of a greenside bunker on 16 and lost by one stroke to Ben Curtis. Just don't be surprised when you see his name up there this weekend.
Who to take
I'm going to cheat a little bit here and pick two people, but before I do, the one bet I would highly recommend making this week is a Euro Player winning vs an American player. I don't care what the line is, just take it.
Graeme McDowell (25/1): This is my first alternate pick. He doesn't have quite as long of a line to get on his bandwagon as Ernie Els does but since his French Open win he has now won three times worldwide this year. However, he has also missed five cuts during the same stretch, including the first two majors, so it's a little more of a crap shoot with him, but don't be surprised to see him hoisting the Claret Jug Sunday night. Unless…
Lee Westwood (25/1): I said in February this was the tournament Westwood would pick up his first major and I am sticking to that…for better or for worse. I have exactly zero solid reasons to believe Westwood will actually win the British Open other than a gut feeling. The same gut feeling that I had about Ernie Els last year. In the words of Ben Crenshaw, "I'm a big believer in fate. I have a good feeling about this." After this weekend and being part of an even more famous golf comeback than the 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup team…that's good enough for me.
Enjoy the British Open.
Until Next Week,
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