2021 Open Championship
The last of six majors on the 2021 season arrives as the Open Championship returns after a year hiatus. Links golf is also back, which brings strategy into play for each golfer. The long hitters will have to adjust knowing length may not be the key to winning. Weather also always comes into play at the Open as well. the winning score could very well be determined by the conditions that always protect the golf course. Don’t forget about the thick rough that awaits a bad drive and those famous Open Championship pot bunkers.
Royal St. George’s Golf Club Par 70 7,189 yards
1898 Open Championship
1899 Open Championship
1904 Open Championship
1911 Open Championship
1922 Open Championship
1928 Open Championship
1934 Open Championship
1949 Open Championship
1981 Open Championship
1985 Open Championship
1993 Open Championship
2003 Open Championship
2011 Open Championship
Royal St. George’s is one of the tougher and historic courses on the Open Rotation. Only once has the winning score been above -5. One thing you should know that a heavyweight does not usually win here. Ben Curtis won his only major championship in 2003 and Darren Clarke did the same in 2011. Fairways are hard to hit here the ball bounces a lot so once it lands it can go anywhere.
The Open Returns
After a cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Open returns with Shane Lowry looking to defend his title.
Withdrawals and restrictions
Because this event is in Europe there are many strict protocols in place for both fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated golfers and personnel. Golfers are required to often for COVID-19 and cannot go to restaurants, bars or grocery stores and need to stay in a “bubble”. Oh and if a golfer is determined to be a close contact to someone with COVID-19 they can be removed from the tournament. There have been multiple withdraws for different reasons including Bubba Watson, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Kevin Na were among the notable names to withdrew from the Open.
World Number One
Dustin Johnson reclaimed No. 1 in the world rankings last week but the gap is close between him and Jon Rahm but Justin Thomas also has an outside chance to take the spot as well.
Bryson and Brooks
The rivalry continues to heat up and be the talk of golf. Will there be another chapter this week potentially playing against each other?
Bryson first test
Because the Open wasn’t played last year DeChambeau’s new game never got tested against a links golf course. Links golf is supposed to neutralize big hitters and force you to rely on iron play and strategy. It will be interesting to see how DeChambeau’s name game fairs in the Open.
Who’s next to win their first major?
After Rahm’s success at the U.S. Open who’s next to claim their first major championship.
As I said above Royal St. George’s is very friendly to golfers looking to win their first-ever major championship. Westwood has had a solid year but hasn’t been in contention since the spring. His history at Royal St. George’s is tough with two missed cuts. But hey Westwood is 48 and age is just a number just ask Phil Mickelson. Westwood to win his first major in his home country would be a great story.
During this stretch of six majors in a calendar year, Casey has a T2, T4 and a T7. Really the only thing that has stopped Casey from finally breaking through has been his putting. Like Westwood, Casey doesn’t have the best history at Royal St. George’s but good play coming in and a hot putter could put Casey in the conversation.
Fleetwood has fallen to No 35 in the World Rankings and hasn’t really been a factor the past calendar year. But he finished second in 2019 behind Shane Lowry and his game fits links golf giving me confidence for Fleetwood to rebound and have a good showing this week.
This is his first appearance in the Open and playing the Scottish Open was a smart move to get used to the links golf. Despite the inexperience, the good play coming in and it factor make it where it could be a big splash for Scheffler this week.
It has not been a good season for Kuchar whatsoever but his game suits links golf if you go back and watch the 2017 Open Championship. He’s another golfer who is looking for his first-ever major championship and Royal St. George’s could reward him.
Has had a great season with multiple wins on the PGA Tour and has made eight straight cuts. He’s already won one Open Championship over Tom Watson in 2009. His game fits links golf so why not put a bet on Cink to be a factor on the weekend?
Main Sleeper: Matt Fitzpatrick
A new feature on my golf blogs. Fitzpatrick made a playoff at the Scottish Open but fell just short of winning. But either way, his play fits links golf
Honorable mention/ deep sleeper: Guido Migliozzi
Breakthrough performance at the U.S. Open and hot play to the point where he has entered the Ryder Cup conversation makes Miglizzi a deep sleeper.
Golfer I do not like this week:
Not only is this his first true test against links golf with his power and length but his spilt with former caddie Tim Tucker puts some more adversity than needed for DeChambeau. A new caddie and I also think links golf will win round one in this showdown. But last time I put DeChambeau on this list he won the 2020 U.S. Open so will see.
His first Open Championship appearance meaning Links Golf is new to him. The only issue is his putting which is very inconsistent and because of this I have my doubts over Morikawa this week.
The defending champion had a great story winning his first major championship at his home course of Royal Portrush. But his play has been subpar since and he won’t have the home crowd behind him this week on a whole different course.
Don’t get me wrong Zalatoris will win a major championship one day but he has been ice cold recently. Yes, he is a good iron player and his game fits links golf especially when the wind is a factor. But the cold play bene due to putting and lack of experience puts a stop to the Zalatoris hype train for now.
Hatton may be the No. 10 golfer in the world but four missed cuts in last six major championships makes me pass on Hatton’s chances of winning this week.
Berger name hasn’t been called much since his win back at Pebble Beach in February. He’s No. 16 in the world but two missed cuts in his last three Open appearances and subpar play coming in make me pass on Berger for this week.
The PGA Championship was fantastic but that’s not happening again this week.
Honorable Mentions/I Expect to do well this week:
Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Abraham Ancer
10 Dustin Johnson
It has not been a good couple of months for Dustin Johnson results-wise with only one top 10 in his last starts but he did take back No.1 in the world. The only benefit I’ll give him this week is he did finish T2 back in 2011 so course experience could be an advantage for him. Usually, I say putting is always the key for Johnson at a major. This time around I believe it will be off the tee that will be crucial whether he is a factor.
9 Harris English
English has won multiple times this season on the PGA Tour and is now No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings. His win at the Travelers Championship was a barn burner and his solo third at the U.S. Open was even better. He is as hot as ever and even with poor past play at the Open he’s playing the best golf of his career and is a name people need to talk about.
8 Justin Thomas
Thomas hasn’t performed in the majors since his win in 2017 it’s as simple as that. Putting has been a weakness this season that has played him out of contention at multiple tournaments. He also ejected at both the Masters and the U.S. Open. However, his iron play is enough to make the list this week and who knows maybe win his second major.
7 Victor Hovland
If I had to picture Hovland’s first major championship it is the Open. Like Hideki Matsuyama, he has the weight of a country on his shoulders that may take a while to get used to. However, he’s coming off a win at the BMW International Open outside of the WD at the U.S. Open Hovland has performed at major championships. That win could be this week.
6 Brooks Koepka
You just know as long as it’s a major championship, Brooks is going to be in contention if he’s healthy. Even though his game doesn’t suit the Open Championship as much as the other three major championships. He still has great success and it’s only a matter of time before we start talking about the career grand slam.
5 Rory Mcllroy
Mcllroy is still getting used to his new swing under the guidance of Pete Cowen. Since his win at Quail Hollow in May, it’s been up and down. At the U.S. Open on the back nine Mcllroy had another chance to once again finally break his major drought but collapsed down the stretch. That’s been a common theme the past couple of years. However, his success in the past at the Open outside of 2019 makes him a favorite this week.
4 Jordan Spieth
Hasn’t played since the U.S Open there’s been speculation why that has been the case. But Spieth’s comeback this year has been fun to watch. He enjoys links golf, however, if there is one thing I caution this week it’s how he handles the wind. In 2018 when the wind picked up Spieth collapsed on that Sunday and since then I’ve seen certain more cases of that. If he’s healthy and his hot play this year you can book Spieth as a favorite.
3 Louis Oosthuizen
I mean three top-three finishes in his last four major championships including two runner-ups where he could taste the trophy. You could always count on Oosthuizen contending in major championships with six runner-ups in his career since his 2010 Open win at St. Andrews. He’s the hottest golfer outside of John Rahm arguably and the only thing holding him back in his putting. But this could finally be the week where he gets No. 2 just like Dustin Johnson did at the Masters last year.
2 Xander Schauffele
Speaking of someone who has been close to winning major championships. Schauffele has been close so many times and is coming of T7 at the U.S. Open. Schauffele has been messing with his putting grip as of late trying to find something that clicks. But a runner-up finish in the 2018 Open plus his recent hot play makes him a favorite this week. Could this be the week?
1 Jon Rahm
World golf rankings work in mysterious ways knowing Rahm lost the top spot to Dustin Johnson. But after being robbed at the Memorial, Rahm’s breakthrough at the U.S. Open could start a win hot streak. At the Scottish Open, he opened with a 66 and 65 but faded on the weekend. I often said the only thing stopping Rahm was his own head mentally in staying locked in. But he has answered those questions and is the clear favorite this week.
Winner: Louis Oosthuizen
Winning Score: -5
Links Golf is hard to predict score wise because it all depends on the conditions and the course. But because of the past history and it being a par 70 i think the ballpark of -5 is what we will see on Sunday as conditions get tougher.
Hole to watch: 11thth hole 250-yard par 3
Monster Par 3 that par is a good score to just move on with your round.