British Open - Power Rankings
July 17, 2017
By Clark Burroughs
Editor’s Note: Clark Burroughs played on the PGA Tour from 1984-1995. Burroughs won the NCAA Men’s Individual Golf Championship for the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1985. He contributes golf articles to numerous sports websites and hosts a weekly golf podcast.
BookMaker.eu Golf Rankings - The Open Championship Edition
The third major of the year is approaching, and all the elite players in the world of golf will be participating in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England. Some players are trending upward, while others are on the decline. Our rankings can be quite helpful when picking a winner off the wagering board.
Let’s take a look at the Open Championship edition of BookMaker.eu’s Golf Rankings. You will find them very different from the Official World Golf Rankings, which can be found in parenthesis to the right of each player’s name.
1. Dustin Johnson (1) - He is clearly the best player in the world at the current time, but hasn’t done much lately. We will cut him a little slack due to his injury at The Masters and the recent birth of his second child. DJ will continue to dazzle us with his length and athleticism, and it’s again time for him to step up and win a tournament, which could easily happen at the Open Championship.
2. Rickie Fowler (10) - Fowler is becoming a more consistent player this year. He finished T2 at the Memorial, contended at the U.S. Open and followed it up with a solo third at Quicken Loans. The flashy Fowler has all the shots, a ton of talent and one of the best putting strokes in the world. His creativity will go a long ways on the links style layout at the Open Championship so don’t be surprised if you see the color orange standing on the podium at Royal Birkdale.
3. Jordan Spieth (3) – It’s easy to forget that Spieth won at Pebble Beach earlier this year and followed that up with another win at The Travelers. He’s a force anytime he tees it up, and if the putter heats up, he takes it deep. The Texas native has gone cold in the majors, but with his arsenal of abilities, he can’t be overlooked.
4. Jon Rahm (8) - With his recent win at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, the young Spaniard continues to climb in the rankings. It’s just not the win, but the way he did it by a whopping six strokes. Rahm doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game - he hits the ball a mile, has great iron play and deft touch around the greens. The only thing that can stop Jon Rahm is Rahm himself.
5. Hideki Matsuyama (2) - Still only 24 years old, the Japanese sensation is one of the best players in the game today. He hit a cold spell for a few months, but has rallied with strong performances at the U.S. Open (T2) and Irish Open (T14). He likes playing links golf, and he will be in the mix at this year’s Open.
6. Sergio Garcia (5) - Garcia finally got the monkey off his back by winning his first major at the Masters Tournament, but hasn’t regained his form in recent months, perhaps still a bit of a hangover from the biggest win of his career. Garcia is still one of the best ball-strikers in the world, and still one of the elite players on the planet.
7. Brooks Koepka (11) - He went through an equipment change in the offseason and got off to a cold start, but after his breakthrough win at the U.S. Open, he deserves a top 10 ranking. His demeanor is a lot like his good buddy Dustin Johnson as he never gets rattled, rarely shows emotion and simply plays the game. I like that style!
8. Tommy Fleetwood (14) - The Englishman picked up his second win of the year at the HNA Open de France, and perhaps no one has played more consistent golf this year than Fleetwood. He finished second to Dustin Johnson at the WGC - Mexico earlier this year and added five other top 10s. He’s one of the best drivers of the golf ball, and is now starting to find out and believe how good he really is.
9. Alex Noren (9) – Most do not realize that the Swede has won five times in his last 25 starts, and he recently won the biggest event in Europe -- the BMW PGA Championship. The only thing missing is a major championship. Sooner or later his game has to shine on the biggest stage. And even though he hasn’t played well in the majors, Noren’s overall play cannot be overlooked.
10. Justin Rose (12) - The Gold Medal winner thrives in big events, and he nearly missed winning the Masters Tournament in April. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open, but should rebound nicely playing in England in front of the hometown fans. His recent form is solid with a T4 in his last start at the Irish Open. Look for Rosey to be in the mix from start to finish at the Open Championship.
Summary: World No. 4 Rory McIlroy and World No. 6 Jason Day do not make the top 10! What have you done for me lately? Nada! Both are overvalued players at the current time. Their performances over the past few months are not worthy of a top 10 ranking. Missed cuts and lackluster play don’t cut the mustard.
On the Bubble
Jason Day (6) - Missed the cut at the U.S. Open, and his past injuries are a real concern. His current world ranking of No. 6 is far too high. There are 50 guys that are playing better than the Aussie right now.
Rory McIlroy (4) - Clearly overrated and trending downward. He’s missed more cuts than he’s made over the last two months, including in his own backyard and own tournament at the Irish Open. Is he bored? Something is missing. He drives it all over the place and his putting is really bad. Plus, he’s lost his confidence.
Henrik Stenson (7) - He’s still ranked high in the OWGR, but has fallen back a few spots. He continues to struggle and quite possibly could be on his way down as his best days may be in the rearview mirror. The Swede hasn’t done much this year and doesn’t warrant a top 10 ranking, but he won last year’s Open Championship and finished T3 the last time it was held at Royal Birkdale in 2008, so he can’t be overlooked.
Summary: All three players are currently ranked in the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings, but what have they done lately? Very little at best and that’s why they don’t crack my top 10.
On the Rise
Kyle Stanley (59)- The former Clemson star has played well all year, and he recently picked up a win at the Quicken Loans to move up 33 spots in the rankings. He also contended at THE PLAYERS Championship before settling for a T4. He backed that up with another strong performance at the Memorial where he tied for sixth, his fourth top 10 of the year. He’s clearly trending upward.
Padraig Harrington (169) - Yes, that’s right, Paddy is going to move up. If you're looking for a sleeper pick for the Open Championship, Harrington is your man. The last time the Open Championship was played at Royal Birkdale (2008), Harrington won it and that was the second time he won the Open Championship. He won at Carnoustie in 2007. He is a sneaky play, watch and see!
Danny Willett (40) - Danny “One-hit Wonder” Willett continues to fall and fall hard. Since his lucky win at The Masters Tournament in 2016, the Englishman has completely lost his confidence and game. He either misses the cut or quits when the chips are down. He’s withdrawn from two of his last three starts and missed the cut in his other start. How can he be ranked No. 40 in the world? He’s more like No. 240!
Zach Johnson (74) - The two-time major champion keeps falling in the rankings. The once solid-as-a-rock player has fallen on hard times. Johnson’s offseason equipment change has created a lot of lackluster finishes and missed cuts. The once ball-striking machine is now just an average player, and I hope they paid him well at PXG because his on-course play is the worst I’ve seen it. He used to be one of the most dependable players in the game and now is a huge risk, mainly due to the new clubs in his bag. His best days are clearly behind him.
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