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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

British Open Preview

Editor's Note: Be sure to follow @_DanDaly on Twitter this golf season for his off-the-cuff remarks and entertaining commentary!

The year’s final major, the British Open, will take place in Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush.  Unlike most traditional British Open tracks, Royal Portrush is not in the rotation. It hasn’t hosted a British Open since some guy named Max Faulkner won there in 1951 basically making any previous results at this course nonexistent.  It did host the Irish Open in 2012 but the field that year has little to no impact at all on this week as well.  So who’s going to win the British Open on a course that hasn’t hosted a Major Championship in 68 years?  We will do our best to figure that out. 
 
But before we get to the people that have a chance to win, let’s all have a moment of silence for the 1995 British Open champion, the one and only, Mr. John Patrick Daly.  The truth of the matter is no matter who wins this week it will simply feel incomplete with JD sidelined.   
 
(As always, odds are at the time this was written and will probably change throughout the week)  

Let’s start with the guys that are absolutely wasting their time and money to fly all the way to Northern Ireland for no real reason at all:

Bubba Watson (150/1) – Seriously though, why does he even make the trip over for this tournament every year?  The only tournament this guy plays worse than the US Open is the British Open…and that’s saying something.  He has five missed cuts in 10 starts with one top-25.  Throw in the fact that it’s supposed to rain this week and I would take any person in the entire field in a match up against Bubba this week. 

Graeme McDowell (50/1) – McDowell was born in Portrush and calls Royal Portrush his home club.  You will hear that story no less than 50 times this week.  Despite my wife’s fairytale wishes that her favorite player will return home and win on his track for some Walt Disney ending, this will end more like the Titanic for my man Graeme.  
 
Phil Mickelson (80/1) – While his twitter game of late is in peak form with “Philside Chats” and “dropping bombs”, his golf game is absolutely abysmal.  Just making the cut this week for Phil is a coin flip at best. 

Sergio Garcia (60/1) – The guy missed SEVEN major cuts in a row prior to a solid 52nd place showing at the US Open last month.  60/1…600/1…doesn’t matter, even if he makes the weekend he will be done Sunday before your first cup of coffee. 

Bryson DeChambeau (30/1) – E = m c squared.  The important part of that equation for Bryson this week is the MC part.  There is no math equation on the planet that can calculate the winds and rains of Northern Ireland correctly.  Dude is just going to have to rely on old school golf this week and I don’t see that going well for the young man. 

Tommy Fleetwood (25/1) – The 2018 version of Fleetwood > The 2019 version of Fleetwood.  By a lot actually.  His best finish in a major thus far in 2019 was a T-36 at the Masters.  Throw in the fact that he has three MC’s in five tries at the British Open with no top 10’s and I see another middle of the pack finish at best for my man Tommy. 
 
Jason Day (40/1) – He can have Steve Williams or Seve Ballesteros on his bag this week, it won’t matter.  Sure he will be around for the weekend but it won’t be much better than that.  He has three top-25’s in eight British Open starts with only one top-10.  I don’t see either of those improving this weekend.
 
Rickie Fowler (25/1) – I like Rickie Fowler a lot, not this week, just as a person.  I want him to finally win a Major sooner than later.  Unfortunately they say nice guys finish last.  While I don’t think it will go quite that bad for Fowler this week I don’t see it ending very well either.  The driver is not quite Mickelson bad right now but it’s bad enough that it will lead to some big numbers this week.  Guys that make big numbers don’t tend to finish well in Majors. 
 
Guys that should at least cash a top-20 this week:

Justin Rose (16/1) – His T-3 at the US Open was complete smoke and mirrors.  From tee to green he was pretty average at best.  The fact that he got a top-10 out of that week, much less a top-5 was quite frankly a miracle.  He can’t hit it like that again and expect the same results this week. 
 
Dustin Johnson (12/1) - I always worry about picking DJ at the British Open because I feel like he has so many other distractions while he is there.  I envision simple things tripping him up, like, what side of the road to drive on, or what the local time is compared to his Casio Calculator watch that is set on Florida time.  It’s the only explanation I can come up with for why this is consistently his worst Major.   He has one top-10 in his last six starts across the pond.  His talent alone should net him a top-20 but I think that’s about all we can expect again this week. 
 
Francesco Molinari (20/1) – Sometimes in life a single moment can change everything.  For our defending champion that moment came on the 69th hole at Augusta National this year when his third shot struck a pine cone knocking into the pond in front of the 15th green washing away his chance at winning back to back Majors.  Molinari had played the first 68 holes brilliantly, just as he did for 72 holes at the British Open last year, but as soon as he hit that pine cone his golf game has yet to recover.  
 
Patrick Cantlay (25/1) – We rode Cantlay to top-10 winners at the Masters and the PGA this year.  He was in position to go three for three at the US Open before a late stumble.  The guy is playing too well to not be a factor this week, I just think his lack of links golf (only one previous start last year) will ultimately leave him just outside the top 10 for the second year in a row. 
 
Tiger Woods (14/1) – One the one hand I think the British Open will always be Tiger’s best chance at winning a major every year going forward with wider fairways and slower greens.  See 2018.  Throw in some rain this week and I like his chances even more.  However I just can’t get over the fact that he hasn’t hit a competitive shot in a golf tournament since the US Open last month.  He basically did this after the Masters as well and went MC Hammer at the PGA.  I don’t think he will suffer the same fate this week but I do think he gets off to a slow start and puts himself too far behind to catch up.  He makes a run over the weekend but it will be just enough to post a respectable finish. 
 
Justin Thomas (30/1) – He just missed my top-10 this week.  He seems to have clearly healed from his injury by now with a solid T-9 at the Scottish Open.  So it’s simply a question of talent, and this man has plenty of that.  My only hesitation for JT this week is a horrible track record at the British Open.  He has back to back missed cuts on the heels of 53rd place finish.  I think the top-10 at the Scottish Open shows he is capable of playing well across the pond but I need to see it in a British Open at least once before I am a true believer. 
 
Top 10:
 
Hideki Matsuyama (40/1) – This is my gut feeling pick of the week.  His record at the British Open is pretty terrible and there is no sign of a good showing this week, I just think he plays really well this week and sneaks in a top-10. 
 
Jordan Spieth (30/1) – The guy loves the British Open, he has three top-10 finishes in the last four years including a win two years ago.  He was tied for the 54-hole lead going into the final round last year as well before the recent trend of final round meltdowns got the best of him.  I think he putts well on slow, wet greens this week and makes a run but ultimately fades again on Sunday. 
 
Jon Rahm (14/1) – I literally don’t know what to do with Rahm.  The guy is total feast or famine in Majors.  In his last seven Major starts he has four top-10s and three missed cuts….nothing in-between.  Based on recent play, this course and the “expected” conditions I’m going with top-10 this week. 
 
Adam Scott (30/1) – The guy loves the British Open.  He had four consecutive top-10s at the Open from 2012-2015. Throw in the fact that he has three top-10’s in his last four Major starts and I think he goes four for his last five.  The one thing that has changed?  His putter.  Believe it or not he has actually been putting well lately and with these slower greens I think he has another solid week with the putter.  Since we know the swing is never the problem, I love his chances this week to solidify another top-10. 
 
Xander Schauffele (25/1) – This one is simply a math equation.  The guy finished in the top 10 in half of his 10 career major starts, including three top-three finishes in his past five Majors. That includes a runner-up at last year's British Open and a T-3 at this year's U.S. Open.  I’m not sure another runner-up is in the cards but I think our man cashes us his third top-10 in the Majors this year. 
 
Top 5:

Matt Kuchar (40/1) – His worst finish in a Major this year is T-16 at the US Open.  He has back-to-back top-10’s at the British Open.  He is coming off a solid performance at the Scottish Open.  The guy is about as solid as you can be this year with eight top-10 finishes in 17 starts on the PGA tour.  Is a top 5 this week a bit of a stretch?  Perhaps, but he is a lock for a top-10 this week and finishing in the top-5 wouldn’t surprise me in the least. 
 
Rory McIlroy (8/1) – Another story you will hear 50 times this week…Rory is from Northern Ireland and holds the course-record (61) at Royal Portrush….that he set when he was 16.  So yes, he too knows the course well.  But that’s also why I think Rory ultimately misses out this week.  Rory has openly admitted to sometimes putting too much pressure on himself (see Augusta National) and I think the “home game” pressure is too much for him to overcome this week.  Much like these situations in the past, look for him to play poorly out of the gate only to rally over the weekend with a huge charge that ultimately ends up just short of a win but a nice back door top-5.  
 
Henrik Stenson (50/1) – Stenson is coming off a top-5 at the Scottish Open on the heels of a top-10 at the US Open.  I love everything about Stenson heading into this week.  He has a win, a second and a two third place finishes at the British Open.  He likes this type of golf, he is playing well and he should contend for a third tournament in a row. 
 
Rafa Cabrera-Bello (80/1) – My dark horse pick to win this week.  The guy has been a fixture on European leaderboards in his last three starts with a T-3, T-4, and T-9.  He also did finish second at Royal Portrush here in the 2012 Irish Open which doesn’t mean a ton but does mean he’s comfortable on the course.  I think Rafa makes a deep run again this week and it wouldn’t totally shock me if he found a way to win.  You will get good odds on top-10, top-5 and favorable match-ups.  Take them all and ride Rafa hard this week. 
 
Brooks Koepka (8/1) – I tried, I honestly tried as hard as I possibly could to come up with a reason not to pick Koepka this week, literally ANY reason.  Would his girlfriend’s “nip slip” at the ESPY’S rattle him?  Would he see how horrible his haircut was and panic?  I mean I got so desperate I told my dog to go lay down if he thought Koepka wasn’t going to win this week and he stood and stared at me for over 2 minutes. I said after the Masters that Koepka was going to win the British Open in July.  Literally nothing has changed that would make me pick against him.  The guy’s frickin caddie is from Portrush and has played the course his entire life.  As if the guy that has won four of the past nine majors (with two runner-ups) needed any more advantages over the field?!  I hate picking the favorite, and I hate picking Koepka for that matter, but at the end of the day winning eight times your money is never a bad investment.  Accept the fact that he is going to win and take Brooks every way you can this week and at least make some money on a foregone conclusion.  
 

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