2022 Open Championship Preview
The Course: The Old Course, Saint Andrews, Scotland, Par 72, 7297 Yards
Major Events Hosted
2015 Open Championship
2010 Open Championship
2005 Open Championship
2000 Open Championship
1995 Open Championship etc.
The Open championships returns to the “home of golf” for its 150th edition. The course needs no introduction with some of the most famous holes golf has to offer. But, the most important thing to note its links golf at his height with strategic golf with large fast fairways, firm greens, and pot bunkers mixed with heavy rough and potentially some wind. While the Old Course might be the easiest course of the Open rotation it will bring the best out of the golfers’ game.
Originally suppose to be held in 2020 but was moved due to the COVID-19 pandemic the R&A decided to have the 150th edition of the Open Championship at the Old Course and the excitement is in the air with many storylines playing out this week at the years final major championship.
LIV Gold remains the talk of the golf world and Snce the U.S. Open more golfers joined LIV Golf with a second event in Portland occurring. Now you add an investigation by the Department of Justice on antitrust violations by the PGA Tour, LIV Golf’s application to official World Golf Rankings and 21 LIV Golfers competing this week.
The Old Course vs. the Modern Game:
With modern equipment and players length expanding since 2015 how the Old Course holds up this week will be interesting. Links golf brings out strategy and some guys will try to overpower Saint Andrews while other will use stringers and irons. But, with six holes under 400 yards low scores and hitting the ball far could happen depending on the conditions.
The Rory McIlroy Tease:
McIlroy has teased the golf world with good play this year but has no majors to show for it. This week offers another great chance for McIlroy to break his long major drought that’s approaching
eight years now. But, in order to do that he will need four consistent rounds rather than one or two.
First Time Major Winner:
A first time major championship winner has happened twice this year with Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick. This week gives guys like Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns and Will Zalatoris a chance to finally breakthrough.
An Historic Event:
It’s the 150th Open Championship at the “home of golf” what more can you ask for?
Back to Back:
Collin Morikawa despite little to no links golf experience won last year at Royal St George’s and will look to add a prestigious win to his resume at the Old Course.
An under the radar name Willet finished T6 in 2015 and won the DP World Tour event Alfred Dunhill Links that Saint Andrews help host. Despite his bad play recently course experience matters.
Hatton hasn’t had a good year and has even complained about major championship course setups but he has won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. So, the experience is there and if he keeps his temper under control he could lurk on the Sunday leaderboard.
The Open Championship best fits Kisner’s game where length is not required to contend. Expect Kisner’s putting to shine this week and lurk around the leaderboard.
His time to win another major may be out but Oosthuizen broke out with his win in 2010 at the Old course and may have one last performance in him this week.
Mitchell is playing well coming into this week and he has history with Saint Andrews with his dad being a member of the R&A. Another reason to have him as a sleeper is being fifth in strokes gained tee to green.
Woodland has played well recently after a long slump from his 2019 U.S. Open win and a tournament that requires good iron play could mean another good week from Woodland.
Power has shown out in major championships with a T-9 at the PGA Championship and a T-12 at the U.S. Open. It’s his first Open Championship but the good play should continue.
Despite his No. 17 in the world rankings he is a name very few talk about that could win a major soon. Niemann has a good short game to go with his iron play and could contend this week and even win despite his lackluster two appearances at the Open Championship previously.
Golfers I don’t like
Koepka now with LIV Golf has not played well in 2022 especially in the major championships. The Open Championship is statistically his worst major which doesn’t say much as he had a T-4 at Royal Portrush. But, that major championship success hasn’t been there this year and this weekend could be the same trend.
Max Homa and Matt Fitzpatrick
Despite good play by both including the U.S. Open win by Fitzpatrick playing with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds could be his undoing. Also, a major hangover could be in store for Fitzpatrick.
Take away a magical round at the PGA Championship and Thomas has struggled in 2022. The Open Championship is also another event he’s struggled at not recording a top-10 in five appearances.
Subpar play in 2022 means Johnson once again lands on this list but he does have decent results at Saint Andrews but he is lackluster at links golf in general.
Hovland’s short game has kept him out of contention at tournaments lately and expect that trend to continue at the Old Course.
Cantlay has had a quiet season but the majors have been a disappointment especially. His Iron play remains the weakness of his game and it is hard to win a major or contend without that being sharpe.
13 Tony Finau
Finau has had past success at the Open Championship with a best finish of third place in 2019 and has his name high on the leaderboard such as his T15 finish last year. Saint Andrews fits his game well to add onto that so contention again seems likely.
12 Patrick Reed
The only LIV Golfer to make the list and for a very good reason his short game. Reed despite joining LIV Golf still has one of the best short games in the world. He has already a win at Augusta National and will look to join an exclusive list of winning at both Augusta and Saint Andrews.
11 Cameron Smith
Everything about his game screams major championship at an event like the Open Championship. But it all depends on if he hits fairways to match his elite short game and putting this week.
10 Hideki Matsuyama
The ball striking remains elite enough to contend this week despite some lackluster play and injury concerns.
9 Sam Burns
Burns has three wins on the year but hasn’t contended just yet at a major championship and doesn’t have much experience at links golf. But, still the iron play can get hot to get continue his good season.
8 Collin Morikawa
The defending champ has been inconsistent all year with his putter. If it is hot he is almost unbeatable, being one of the best iron players in the world with last year being a perfect example. Morikawa also continues to experiment and add new layers to his game. But there isn’t nothing to worry about in terms of experience on links course after last years performance.
7 Scottie Scheffler
After his hot starts to start the year Scheffler hasn’t won but remains consistent in contending. He’s also from Texas just like Jordan Spieth so there is a some what comfort level with links golf showing that last year with a T-8 finish.
6 Jon Rahm
Rahm has been quiet this year despite his win at the Mexican Open but one of the best ball strikers in the world can be on the hunt this week. If that is to happen Rahm will need to stay patience and be better around the greens. Last year at Royal St George’s Rahm faded due to his putter despite a high finish.
5 Shane Lowry
The 2019 Champion Golfer of the year has been consistent all year only missing a trademark victory. His iron play remains a strength of his game being able to fly his irons and wedges at hole locations. But he is a star on links golf course making him a popular pick this week to win his second major championship.
4 Will Zalatoris
Three runner ups to his name and inches short of arguably having two major championships already. There is Brooks Koepka at majors and then there is Zalatoris who is due for not only a major but his first win. He technically has no experience at the Open Championship due to his withdraw last year and missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open. However, experience may not be a factor for the way Zalatoris is playing.
3 Jordan Spieth
Like many others in the field this week Spieth is looking to win at both Augusta and Saint Andrews to add to his resume. It feel so long ago but back in 2015 he had a putt on 18 to join a playoff and continue his bid for the grand slam but fell short. Spieth is also one of the best links golfers in the world but has struggled in the wind before but he has a great chance to pick up his first major since 2017 at Royal Birkdale.
2 Rory McIlroy
McIlroy has teased the golf world at majors this year but has failed to finish them off. Strategy wise he will most likely take the Old Course on with his best weapon the driver and it helps that the course only has two par 3s. Par 3s were his enemy at both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship but if he wants to win he will have to be good around the greens. While this hasn’t been an issue this year a good start in round one is required with low scores expected.
1 Xander Schauffele
Since the U.S. Open Schauffele has won two events including the Scottish Open and a Pro-Am which makes him the hottest player coming in. But lets not forget his success at majors either and learning how to win again is dangerous feeling for the rest of the field. There is no doubting he is one of the favorites this week and seeing him with a Claret Jug come Sunday should surprise no one.
Winner: Xander Schauffele
Holes to Watch 17 and 18
Hole 17 is the Road Hole one of the most famous par 4s in all of golf and one of the hardest. The tee shot is a demanding one going over the corner with famous hotel and wall playing out of bounds on the right with rough on the left. The second shot is just as demanding with the pot bunker protecting the green on the left side and the road being on the right. Either way it is a challenging hole and a par is a good score with a birdie gaining a stroke on the field. If you survive the Road Hole, the 18th with the famous Swilcan Bridge is much easier while also being strategic. Golfers have driven the green in practice rounds while other have laid up to get a good angle with the fairway being wide. This hole figures to be a difference in the tournament just like it was in 2015 and it will be fireworks seeing the field tackle both of these holes.
Winning Score -13
In 2015 the winning score was -15 in 2010 it was -16 so that is the ballpark for the Old Course. Links golf always depends on the conditions and golfers have said the scores may not be as low as people think. So I’ll set a winning score of -13 but it wouldn’t shock me to see a -9 or even a -15 again. If someone shots in the 60s all four wins they’ll deserve a Claret Jug. But at the same time it could be a grind as as well.