British Open, Trends, Secret Show, Giveaways
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It's British Open Week, heading down to Royal St. George's on the country's east coast, for the season's last major. The first Open since Shane Lowry's win in Northern Ireland in 2019 and the first at Royal St. George's since 2011, when Darren Clarke won the Open. 2011 featured Clarke winning at -5 over Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, with Thomas Bjørn, Chad Campbell, Anthony Kim, and Rickie Fowler rounding out the Top 5. Only four golfers played under par at this Par 70 course that week, and the winning score in 2003 was -1. That said, 1993 saw Greg Norman win at -13, which leads us to the key question of every Open, but especially this week.
As always I have cash and Milly Maker tickets to give away, but I need something for it. All in the interest of helping out the show tho. I’m doing a draw for the cash giveaways and you can get into that draw up to three times by doing each of these things.
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Royal St George's is not a coastal course in the same way that Kiawah Island, or even Torrey Pines, was, but it is still not very far at all from the English Channel, so wind conditions are VERY volatile, and what the weather report says today will not be the same as it is on Wednesday. If you're going to be staying up for the first tee shots on Thursday morning, checking the weather right before is a smart move. That said, as of right now there is fairly heavy wind forecast for Thursday just under 20 miles per hour, with gusts breaking 30 mph. But again, check back throughout the week, these things change on a dime.
I’m using the Sandwich Bay Wind Tower for the week. And Thursday is already looking very British Openy. This weather changes like every hour though.
Odds And Ends
156 Players in the field, with 7 amateurs included.
Cut is T70 and ties, no secondary cut regardless of how many make the weekend.
Lock is 1:30AM Eastern on Thursday morning for DraftKings.
Major Week Schedule
DraftKings Picks with Ben Rasa (OUT NOW)
Research Show (OUT NOW)
Picks And Bets with Geoff (+ a Cust Cameo) (OUT NOW)
Tuesday - Player By Player with Rick Gehman
Wednesday - Live Chat 12pm ET
Friday - Cut Sweats Live with Geoff and Cust (This is still a maybe)
British Open Major Article (OUT NOW)
DraftKings Cheatsheet (OUT NOW)
HOWEVRAAAAA… if you want the EXCLUSIVE to the Mayo and Rick Player-by-Player preview, you’re in luck, you can watch it here.
It has everything time coded too!
And, no, we still don’t know what to do with Bryson.
The course played 7211 yards the last time Royal St. George's hosted the Open, and there have been only minor alterations to the course since then. A couple of holes have had forward tee boxes added and some bunkers have been added and taken out, but on the whole, this is the course that was played in 2011.
7 is the easiest hole, the Par 5 on the front nine, and is realistically a must birdie if you want to contend this week. It is eagle-able, as Darren Clarke did on Sunday in winning the 2011 Open, and a few holes - 2, 5, 12, and 17, namely - could be theoretically drivable, with the right wind conditions, according to an interview with the head of course layout. The problem, as Rory puts it, is that aggression isn't always smart. "It's just one of those golf courses where, if you get aggressive with it, you can end up looking very silly." (For those asking, no, we haven't seen thick Bryson at an Open Championship yet.)
The key this week looks to be players with strong course management skills - the ability to conjure shots seemingly out of thin air, to figure out how to play off of a sloped fairway or how exactly to hack it out of the fescue that makes up the rough. If that sounds like Jordan Spieth to you, well, I said on the DraftKings pick show with Rasa that he's my pick to win. I've also bet him already. (Other player under consideration, with a similar skillset: Christiaan Bezuidenhout.)
Tournament form doesn't seem to matter. Since 2008, when Padraig went back to back, no Open Champion has come better than T30 the previous year - and the closest one to that was a Jordan Spieth T30 in 2016 when he went out early and backdoored that result with a low round of the week with no pressure. Rory missed the cut in 2019 at Portrush after a horrendous Thursday and a charge up the board on Friday, missing on the number, if you're interested in playing that narrative. (Other notable 2019 Missed Cuts: Hideki Matsuyama, Joaquin Niemann, and Abe Ancer.)
Recent form, however, does matter, as every champion since 2013 (except Stenson in 2016) had two Top 10s in his four starts before the Open. Stenson hadn't played in two months prior to that Open, so that explains his absence from that list. Notable form players right now: Collin Morikawa (14th, 2nd, 4th in his last 3 starts), Patrick Cantlay (1st, 15th, 13th), Harris English (14th, 1st, 3rd), and Brian Harman (8th, 29th, 5th), plus Jon Rahm, who would have won Memorial and then did win the US Open.
Approach is king, as always: Spieth, Molinari, and Zach Johnson were all gaining on average 4+ strokes with their approach shots in their 4 events leading up to the Open they won, and Lowry gained 3 Greens In Regulation above field average (a proxy for approach play given the lack of reliable Euro Tour strokes gained data at the time).
Also, less a trend but more of a note to watch for, the Tom Watson Memorial Last Stand Award, named after Tom Watson's last stand at Turnberry in 2009. Lee Westwood is the far and away favourite for this year's award, although Stewart Cink does have two wins on Tour this year and would meet the criteria of "really old guy who is randomly First Round Leader/lingering on Friday and Saturday."
Players with Three Top 10 finishes in the last five Open Championships
Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka
Players with at least two Top 20 finishes the past three Opens
Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy. Brooks Koepka, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Francesco Molinari, Erik Van Rooyen, Matt Kuchar, Alex Noren, Xander Schauffele and Charley Hoffman
Players who have made the cut in every appearance the past five years (minimum three starts)
Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Alex Noren, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Danny Willett, Xander Schauffele and Lee Westwood. Patrick Cantlay, Erik Van Rooyen and Harris English are all two-for-two in cuts made over that five-year period.
Champion Golfers of the Year
The last eight Champion Golfers of the Year Open winners have finished top 30 in one of their two prior majors, with seven of them finishing top 35 in the major played most recently prior to their Open win.
The best way to look all of this up is by becoming a member at Fantasy National. If you’re not (weird), use this link and get yourself a 20% discount on all memberships.
Stat Engine ✅
Custom Model ✅
Own Projections ✅
Lineup Generator ✅
Course Stats ✅
Course Conditions ✅
Here’s what I used for my model (explained in more detail on the research show btw)
And here’s what it spit out for the past 24 rounds
I should probably star more of these guy now that I look at it.
Hideki Matsuyama (COVID)
Bubba Watson (COVID precautions)
Matt Wolff (N/A)
Zach Johnson (COVID)
Ryan Moore (Back)
Sungjae Im (Olympics)
Si WOOOOOO (Olympics)
Here’s what I got cooking so far…
Grace 70/1 (With Top 8 Each Way)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 80/1 (With Top 8 Each Way)
Joaquin Niemann 125/1 (With Top 5 Each Way)
Martin Kaymer 125/1 (With Top 8 Each Way)
I’ll probably add some long shots to the card as we move along and I can see the tee draws/weather a bit closer to start time, but I’m really torn between Brooks, and just reupping on Spieth again. I’m leaning Brooks at the moment.
Reed, Day, and English are all still in consideration for me as well.
Obviously, using Fantasy National, the closer you wait to lock the more accurate a projection can be, but I’m wrong all the time anyway, so I’ll just take some early guesses.
I have no idea where to project Berger or Burns as of now. I’m guessing a lot, but there’s a chance everyone galaxy brains themselves out of both of them. Rick and I discuss both in the Player by Player breakdown and what we expect.
If you’re looking for leverage, take your pick between DJ and Bryson. I think I’m leaning on getting overweight on Bryson in this spot. He could be sub 5% in the milly maker, so it wouldn’t take much.
Here’s a list of the long shots I’m current looking more into, in case you care
Newsletter will be back on Wednesday with more information, my finalized betting card, projected ownerships, and updated weather. Until then,