Open Championship Preview
After a few weeks off, landing Rickie and coming close with Tyrell, we enter a week, very optimistic land the anticipation of the one of the best weeks of the year is very strong. Even more exciting I will be on site this week, so feel free to interact, and if you see me and you are up in Liverpool this week, give me a shout. As ever, I will try and offer in this preview something a little different to the boring numbers and plain write ups and if you don’t know by now, a long with a few different aspects, I will be trying to find the best value wherever that may be, so good luck to you all.
Royal Liverpool on the Wirral is your typical links coastal English course without the large sand dunes. It's open to all the elements, but what it lacks in undulation it provides in small greens, tight fairways and strong winds off the Irish Sea. You will know by now that Rory won here in 2014 and Tiger in 2006, but you may need to learn about the changes Martin Ebert introduced a few years ago. Holes 1-5 have been swapped around; the 17th is an entirely new hole, the smaller par 5’s are much bigger than they ever were, and the 10th is not a par 4 anymore. At just under 7,400 yards, it's not a long track, but it certainly plays long if the elements are not in your favour.
We’ll go into off the tee being paramount a bit further down, but it's been very well documented that you will be punished this week if you are not accurate off the tee boxes. The fescue is waist height in places, and it's pot luck on the chances of saving par to what could be trapping yourself in double & triple bogey territory. Out of bounds on 1, 3 and 18 are something we’ve never seen before at an open championship. You miss left even with a power fade not on target, and you are reloading from the tee box, something many of these players would have never experienced.
Along with the small bentgrass greens come two holes this week, which will be steadfast to making it tougher than anyone could have expected. I certainly believe if you are level par this week through holes 14 and 17, you will probably not be far away, both holes look like bogey territory from the minute you step on them, and that’s without the bunkers you may find. Talking of bunkers, they are specially raked this week's frontways with big crevasses, so don’t expect any Fitzpatrick mastery from 150 yards; pretty much all these fairway bunkers are an instant shot penalty.
The weather goes without saying impacts an Open Championship, so it would help everyone to offer my take. I see some strong winds on Thursday and something similar on Sunday, which will require all players to have all the shots in their repertoire. Bits of rain on Friday and plenty on Saturday brings the wind impact down only to steady gusts on those days, but it's for sure a tactical Open with yardage changes from hour to hour, not just day to day.
A winning score? Well, I reckon the leading pack will have a nice buffer behind them come Sunday, but my expectations from the weather, the course changes that the final group will be around (-11, -12) leading onto the final stretch and what happens from there I guess dictates who wins, but I don’t expect a high mid score week.
Previous Winners: 2022: Cameron Smith, 28/1; 2021: Collin Morikawa, 40/1; 2019:, Shane Lowry: 70/1; 2018: Francesco Molinari, 33/1; 2017: Jordan Spieth, 16/1; 2016: Henrik Stenson, 33/1; 2015: Zach Johnson, 110/1; 2014: Rory McIlroy, 18/1; 2013, Phil Mickelson, 20/1; 2012: Ernie Els, 45/1; 2011: Darren Clarke, 200/1; 2010: Louis Oosthuizen, 250/1.
Building my Open Championship model….
Let’s start with the obvious, getting your ball from point A to point B in the quickest way at Hoylake is what you wins you this tournament. And yes, before you scream Scottie Scheffler like I do, there is a difference to what we’ve seen maybe at the other majors this year. This course offers a truer leveller test in getting tee to green, whereas with other Open Championships being close to the green like a Rory or Cam Young will be, this week won’t necessarily be more advantageous. A Brian Harman, Adam Scott drive may be as long as a Scheffler 3 wood, so being comfortable with your yardages and your club selection in getting to the green quickest is the difference for our field on this occasion.
Off the tee doesn’t need much more introduction, if there were a stat that we could model where driving accuracy and club selection are intertwined, then we’d use it round here, 100 times out of 100, but there isn’t. So, it's clear that Strokes gained off the tee are important, and driving accuracy percentages are important and will take up a large part of the model. This week, you won’t see a Smith, Speith, or Thomas near the top.
Royal Liverpool in some ways, resembles a Players Championship. Much like Sawgrass, if we could get heat maps from these courses of where all the birdies are made from position A on the fairway, then they would all be red hot in one place. And that, for me, makes this Open very different, what we see at St Andrews, St Georges, Muirfield, where players are scoring from all kinds of places; I don’t see that happening and that levels it out for me. On top of that, greens are small, proximity to the hole will be essential, and I wouldn’t want to build my model for the week without strong iron players and strong approach play.
Along with the club selection, putting yourself in bounds and staying out of the fescue comes one of our final important factors, the most important when building the model. As we saw in Scotland last week, being in form will matter more than ever and will get you over the line, and even further than that, having some links form and experience. It would be best if you had the resilience this week; you can't turn up here and be streaky; you can’t turn up and not know all your clubs and shots down to the finest margins. You need to know where your best laying up to on the par 5’s; you need to know how the ball is going to react in bunkers, in fescue, on these fescue-type greens. All of this comes with form and experience, and it's vital more than in previous years.
This Open Championship Model;
SG : Tee to Green
SG : Approach
Approach 150 > 175
Open Champs Form
Prox. To hole
Par 5 performance
Top 25 players in the model and my thoughts on each:
1 Scottie Scheffler 8/1
If you want all your eggs in one basket, this is the basket I would put it in, maybe a cover bet, but lets hope Scottie doesn’t bring his B game.
2 Collin Morikawa 35/1
Has moved to a really nice price, but bluntly put, he can’t putt
3 Jon Rahm 11/1
Not really sure where his game is at, we know what he’s capable of
4 Patrick Cantlay 28/1
Too cold and wet for the choker
5 Rory McIlroy 7/1
Another choker, course suits though and we know what he did last week
6 Viktor Hovland 20/1
More of a chance than he’s ever had at the open, steady golf and he makes the last group
7 Xander Schauffele 25/1
Goes missing in majors too much, but has the game
8 Tony Finau 55/1
9 Adrian Meronk 200/1
Sneaky good price for a guy who drives it like Rory, not seen him deliver on this stage before
10 Jordan L Smith 275/1
11 Bryson DeChambeau 55/1
If he could put 4 rounds together could be a value bet this week, just leaves you a bit frustrated at times
12 Corey Conners 100/1
Should of won the US Open, reliable off the tee, won’t be far away
13 Alexander Bjork 225/1
14 Rickie Fowler 20/1
Game in a really good place, will be one of few really motivated by his chances on a course he’s done well at
15 Nicolai Hojgaard 150/1
Can see him being popular, but surely not good enough in this field
16 Joost Luiten 350/1
17 Tom Kim 45/1
Played well last week, finished well last year, horse for a course
18 Tyrrell Hatton 22/1
He will be plugged in a bunker or divot and will lose his head
19 Dustin Johnson 35/1
Not the same golfer as a year ago
20 Tommy Fleetwood 20/1
I worry about getting over the line, but if there is ever a place to do it, Liverpool is the place
21 Adrian Otaegui 500/1
22 Talor Gooch 80/1
Popular each way I expect, may be a streaky one
23 Max Homa 55/1
If this was March, he’d be 15/1 but has lost form, has the right shots for this
24 Antoine Rozner 500/1
25 Cameron Young 55/1
We are a hot putter away from a Major win
A week where I feel quietly confident, surprising cause I’ll be there for the first tee shot. The model is not surprising and it won’t be far off, but let’s find some value and a bit of luck.
I hope I have at least given you a few hinters again and feel free to interact and get involved with my picks and my card published this week. I will be on Chasing Pars podcast released on Tuesday and will have updates throughout on my twitter below.
As always if you want to be part of my weekly fantasy competition, look out for my updates on my twitter and my site www.drawshankgolf.com.
Please visit @GolfTipsChecker for Andy’s weekly charts and look out for my full card across my twitter @fordysgolfpicks. Good luck to you all.
Viktor Hovland – 28/1 2pt Win
It’s simple for me this one. Keep’s getting closer, 9th best off the tee, 19th best approach, put that with a new improved short game and never misses a cut
Rickie Fowler – 30/1 2pt Win
Back to the form of his life, best approach play on tour in recent weeks, just someone very comfortable with their game, that’s without mentioning his T2 here 8 years ago
Shane Lowry – 45/1 2pt Win
9th in the field for total driving, has all the experience of a past winner, plays well in the wind, gets up and down from everywhere and has all the shots to win a set up like this
Tom Kim – 45/1 2pt EW (8 Places)
Another horse for a course, suits links courses, finds more fairways than most of this field, and will suit the small green complexes
Cam Young – 60/1 1pt EW (8 Places)
It’s time for the boy to become a man. Never thought he would ever reach a price like this but it cannot be ignored. Hole a few putts and could go really close on a course he is bound to gain strokes off the tee
Corey Conners – 80/1 1pt EW (8 Places)
A man very comfortable with his game, should of won a major this year. Tee to green specialist and has good form at the Open
Ryan Fox – 110/1 1pt EW (8 Places)
Played on these types of courses a lot, like what he’s proved in majors this year