by Jeff Skinner
There’s more to Open Championship than links golf, tall pints and bangers and mash. It’s time for our Links Life Golf predictions. After hours and hours of research we have come up with sure fire ways to lose your money.
Remember, its three winners and a long shot…no exceptions!
G. Rennie, who makes his picks from that hot bed of golf, Vietnam goes first.
Justin Rose: Rosie is arguably the most consistent golfer around these days, especially when it comes to tough courses and major tournaments. No holes in any part of his game and his US Open victory at Merion has filled him with self belief. Getting over the hump of the first major victory will be a huge boost for him as he looks for the second major trophy in his native England. His mastery of the US Open type set up at Congressional in his recent PGA Tour victory at the Quicken Loans Invitational confirms his game is major sharp and of course there is his win at Royal Aberdeen in the Scottish Open. He’s made the transition from USA type air golf to links golf in this prep for next week’s run around Royal Liverpool.
Graeme McDowell : GMac is back as his win in June at the Alstom Open de France attests. His game had faltered for quite some time with 2013 nearly a lost season but this bulldog from Northern Ireland is fiercely competitive and has been a consistent performer on both sides of the pond this year with his Euro Tour win and five top ten finishes on the PGA Tour this season.
Sergio Garcia: Sergio has endured a lot of heartbreak in major championships but none more than at the Open, most noteworthy being his playoff loss to Paddy Harrington in 2008 at Carnoustie. He made his first golfing noise as a teenager at the Open and I guess that this is the tournament that means the most to him as a European player and a follower in the Great Spanish tradition set down by Seve Ballesteros. Sergio remains one of the great ball strikers in the game and with his much improved pencil grip putting stroke he has seemingly corrected the major flaw in his game. At thirty five, the smiling, jumping kid we expected so much from has perhaps now matured into a golfer with major championship chops.
Longshot: John Senden, known as a great ball striker this Aussie’s short game is overlooked as he boasts a 70% scrambling average on the PGA Tour this season. He’s having his best year as a pro with a win, four top tens, and a boat load of dinero.
Clearly in violation of the rules, G. Rennie continues and offers a few more longshots. But the committee has ruled these picks ineligible and has determined Senden to be his entry as the longshot.
The rest is just added commentary, skilled and insightful commentary, but just that. Martin Kaymer: how can the current US Open and Player’s champ be considered an underdog? Because it’s incredibly tough and rare in the modern game for anyone save Tiger to win two majors in the same season, especially back to back majors. Paddy Harrington pulled off the back to back feat in 2008 with victories at The Open and PGA . Before that the last golfer (except Woods) to grab two majors in the same season was Mark O’Meara in ’98. But he’s got guts and game and maybe a back to back is in the offing.
Phil Mickelson: pure sentiment here, I’ll pull for Phil in every major until he gives up the game. Lefty has no form to speak of and no top tens this year to his credit. But he’s Phil and you never know what he’ll do and that’s part of his appeal.
Lil Skins who is the only man in New York State to work 80 hours per week in the golf industry and not play the game likes Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and of course the man he would gladly marry if he could, Miguel Angel Jimenez. And paying homage to the master of modern links golf, he chooses Tom Watson as his longshot.
Big Dick who spends 100 hours a week writing but could only find four words to make his picks likes Tiger, Phil, Rory and Zach. I’ll take that as Tiger Woods to finally get #15, Phil Mickelson who we all love, Rory McIlroy because he’s a stud on the rise and Zach Johnson because he’s got the tight, controlled game to win on the links.
The Greek is knee deep in major stuff but here are is updated picks: he likes Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Tiger as his longshot.
Skins: I am going hard with Adam Scott. How does the number one golfer in the world not get any respect from these LLG Mooks! Scott has some unfinished business at the Open and this is just the place for him to win his second major and move his career into overdrive.
Phil Mickelson of course! I will go to my grave picking Lefty until he wins that career Grand Slam. I know it’s not the U. S. Open Phil, but another year with the claret Jug will be something else.
I like Jordan Spieth. I like his game. I like his attitude. I like his maturity. And I like his chances here. Old Tom Morris is officially the youngest winner of the Open at 17 but since 1900 Seve Ballesteros hold the record at 22 years, 3 months. Spieth will turn 21 in ten days and rewrite history with a win here.
My longshot isn’t a name most will recognize as I am not picking a potential winner of the Open here. My pick is John Singleton the factory worker who has qualified his way in and is playing in his first Open. There is no way he will win but my hope for him is to make the cut. That’s how he wins here: make the cut, play the weekend and walk down that final hole on Sunday and he’ll be one of the best stories of the week.