Who Will Win The Open…

Who Will Win The Open…

(...& Why)

Precision-Golf_Open Championship Lytham St AnnesWell it’s that time of year again. The games oldest and greatest championship is upon us, on one of golf’s sternest tests, Royal Lytham & St Annes. I’m going to try to dissect the field and pick a couple of names to look out for.

Firstly, I am going to give a list of the 14 players I feel have a realistic chance of winning. I have to include the current world’s Top-10 in this list, they are there for a reason:

Current World Top-10 (as of 15/07/2012):

  1. Luke Donald
  2. Rory McIlroy
  3. Lee Westwood
  4. Tiger Woods
  5. Webb Simpson
  6. Bubba Watson
  7. Jason Dufner
  8. Matt Kuchar
  9. Justin Rose
  10. Hunter Mahan

I’m going to pick 4 other names I feel should be thrown into the mix based on current/past form:

  • Jim Furyk
  • Paul Lawrie
  • Ian Poulter
  • Thomas Bjorn

Of course, the winner could come from outside this group of 15 players, however, I feel it’s going to come from one of these.

Open Champ Comp - Blog ImageI think there are three key factors to success at Lytham – They are:

  • Having a ‘go-to’ shot off the tee
  • Being able to keep the ball down
  • Being good from 3-8 feet

I’m going to discount players from the list based on their abilities in these three areas:

‘Go-To’ Shot off the Tee:

I’m throwing out Luke Donald I’m afraid. People talk about his consistency; he’s actually a fairly inaccurate driver of the ball. Being shorter as well, he doesn’t have the luxury, like Tiger, of going down to a 2-iron of knock down 3-woods on these long par 4s.

Sorry to be unpatriotic, but Poulter has to go too. This season he has struggled and his driving accuracy stats are lower than they have been for a long time.

Being able to play in a strong wind:

Rory is next for the chopping board. For all his gifts, he doesn’t have the ball flight control he needs to tackle the winds – extraordinary considering where he grew up – but he hits his 6-iron an average of 38m high, a full 10% higher than tour average. He has a chance if it remains calm…but it won’t.

I have to throw Dufner and Kuchar out as well, both high ball hitters, without a great deal of experience on these shores.

Holing Out:

Westwood is going to come up short I’m afraid, it will be the same story, ball strike everyone off the park and miss too many putts. You can’t win majors without holing out well and I don’t think he has the formula for 4 straight rounds.

Thomas Bjorn is looking too shaky for me also, changing constantly from a belly to conventional putter, he is averaging 30 putts a round this season – too many at this level.

Where I don’t think Mahan has a problem with holing out, he does have a problem hitting chips/pitches close to the hole. Everyone will miss greens, and he will face more 7 footers than the other contenders – it will take it’s toll.

Bubba is currently ranked 184th on the PGA Tour from 5-15 feet. He is going to struggle.

So that gets rid of a good number of our potential winners, but I’m going to have to take one more person out: Webb Simpson. He will still be hungover from the US Open, the media storm will get to him, he is a great player, but not strictly a ‘2 majors in a row’ great player.

That leaves us with my prediction coming from this final four:

  • Tiger Woods
  • Justin Rose
  • Paul Lawrie
  • Jim Furyk

Want me to pick one…? I’ll leave that to you!

———————————–

For a chance to win a complete set of PG Headcovers and Ball Markers then just email who you think will win the 2012 Open Championship, and what their winning score will be as a tie-breaker, to info@precisiongolf.co.uk. Find out more information here.