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Open Championship Winner? Take Your Pick…We Did

by Jeff Skinneropen championsjip square

Like everyone else that loves The Open Championship we at Links Life Golf have our favorites and of course feel the need for a bit of prognostication.  So here are our very unscientific picks for winners, losers and a bit of excitement from the oldest of the majors, the 142nd Open Championship.

We name three possible winners, one definite loser and a bit of fun we hope takes place on mighty Muirfield.

G. Rennie:

The man from Down Under, with a silken swing, movie star looks and an unorthodox putting stroke will claim the title of Champion Golfer of the Year. Adam Scott had last year’s tournament at Royal Lytham all but won when his game abandoned him down the back stretch. It was torture for all to watch as he strung four ending bogey’s – we can only imagine the torture he felt then. But all ghosts and demons were vanquished at Augusta this April, no apparent scarring remains and Scott is poised to finally and fully break into the ranks of golf’s elite players.

On the odd chance that Prediction # 1 is a dud, keep your eyes on Brandt Snedeker. He was THE player of the early season, seemingly in every tourney’s top five until a debilitating rib injury pushed him to the sidelines. He has a crazy kind of alert energy, plays fast and sure, and the old fashioned ” pop” style putting stroke that’s won more Open titles than Heinz has pickles. His short game wizardry will serve him well and the firm ,fast Muirfield  track won’t require him to swing hard on any shots.

I’m betting with my heart on choice #3: Philly Mick to pull off the back to back victory march, taking the British on top of the Scottish. It seems the British have been on top of the Scottish for centuries, buggering at will but that’s another story. Phil the Thrill will be a wearing a Union Jack suit if  he pulls off this improbable double. Winning a major the week after winning the pre Iowa tournament is a rare, difficult challenge .  But it’s been done and as Phil pointed out today in his pre-tournament press conference , he was the last guy to do it. Slante!

On the down side, Rory Mc will again be befuddled and miss the cut. Hurry up and come back to prime time golf, Rory.

Martin  Laird will finish as the top Scot in the field.

And most shocking of all will be a post tournament media event where Tiger Woods speaks with candor.  Yeah, like that’s going to happen. Not in my lifetime. It’s more likely that the Queen would stand the Muirfield membership to a round of drinks at the club bar. Oh, that couldn’t happen either- no women allowed.

Lil’ Skins…(a man of few words compared to master wordsmith Rennie):

Phil, Rory, Justin as my front running winners.

Phil will shut up all the haters who say he can’t play the links, and will finally win an “Open.”

Rory will get back into the swing of things.

Justin Rose will prove that he is the real deal and backup the major victory Phil handed to him.

Ernie will miss the cut – I seem to always pick the defending champ to miss the cut.

Tidbit: ESPN will hopefully have Ian McShane saying “can you feel it in your boner!” for their over the top promos of the tournament that we are already tuned into.

Big Skins:

Out of respect for Justin Rose coming through and winning the U.S. Open as one of my picks there I have to give him my first slot as a winner.  Even though he hasn’t done well here and it seems that no one wins back to back majors lately, I still need to go with him since he came through for me.  Call it my Respect Pick.

It’s easy to go with the chalk here and pick the favorite.  Normally I am not inclined to go with the “favorite” but sooner or later he’s going to get it done.  There are plenty of reasons why Tiger Woods will win the Open: he’s the best player in the world, he has three already, he’s healthy, his driver will be staying in the bag etc, etc, etc.  There are also plenty of reasons he won’t but this week he may just do it.  For those that will whine about going with the favorite…answer this.  How can he be a favorite when he hasn’t won a major in over five years?

Sign me up for the Phil Mickelson Wins the Open Fan Club.  It may be tough going back to back but with all the confidence that is flowing out of Mickelson’s shaggy haired head he has to contend here.  It’s just as much a mental game as it is physical and Philly Mick’s head couldn’t be in a better place.  Will he play traditional links golf?  No way.  He’ll bring his own hybrid mix of flops, chips, pitches, draws, hooks, skids, spins and everything else he does to the ball.  Maybe we’ll even see that crazy backwards flop of his.  It won’t be pretty and Phil will definitely miss a three footer or two but he’ll be as entertaining as hell and be smiling that goofy smile as he drops holds the Claret Jug.

Jordan Spieth, still running on adrenaline and the energy that only a nineteen year old can muster will make the cut at his first Open Championship.  The first of many to come.

Keegan Bradley is one big name that will have the weekend off for plenty of sightseeing.

The R&A has paired, in what has to be called the “Senior Grouping” Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Fred Couples.  But Sir Nick and Boom Boom will be sent home early as Sir Tom, true golfing royalty, will not only make the cut but be near the lead and give us a chance to relive 2009 all over again.

In the long tradition of streakers at the Open (click here, you must click here) the highlight of the week may just be another fan striping down to stroll au’natural across the eighteenth green.  From Peter Jacobsen’s tackle of an oncoming streaker to Tiger smoochin with a nearly naked fan, the crazies come out at the Open.  Fed up with all the attention Tiger receives and tired of living in his shadow, Lindsey Vonn will strip down and strut that world class athletic body over Muirfield’s links.  Tiger won’t be smiling.

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