By Tony George of Tony George Sports…As he talks British Open Picks
My US Open picks crapped the bed this year, and I have had some success over the past few years in the Majors with some selections, but Oakmont was a mixed bag for me this year on picks. As a matter of fact I said to fade Dustin Johnson because he never could close out a big tourney due to his putting and yips on the green down the stretch, and look what happened at Oakmont! I would like to see him win again this week and see what outfit his girlfriend Paulina wears for the closing round, but that is another article.
Royal Troon will be a test of talent for sure and the weather will be 65 degrees and under all 4 days, rainy here and there and the wind will blow. Here is a few of the items to take note of that will play into the hands of the winner this week. One thing of note, an American has won in each of the last 6 times Royal Troon has hosted The Open, but I honestly think that streak will be broken this season.
One thing that is hugely important is strokes gained tee to green- Here is the Top 10 on Tour
Dustin Johnson (2)
Rory McIlroy (3)
Justin Rose (4)
Bubba Watson (5)
Rickie Fowler (6)
Henrik Stenson (7)
Hideki Matsuyama (8)
Charl Schwartzel (9)
Kevin Chappell (10)
I would fade Bubba Watson for sure, he has not had a good time across the Pond, no better than 23rd and missed 4 cuts. Dustin Johnson has the game to win here, so does Jason Day, but not sure of Day’s mindset after blowing the Bridgestone Tourney in the final 4 holes his last tourney. Zach Johnson has the game for this course and is the reigning champion, and one cannot count out Lefty, who finished in the Top 15 at the Scottish Open and fired a final round 66 last Sunday, and he has proven to be a force in The Open, and also a past champion. Phil is 66-1 and might be worth a half unit longshot pick. Kevin Chappell will be around on Sunday, do not let that surprise you, he may sneak up on the leaderboard. Adam Scott (popular bet this week) may be worth the stretch, and has contended here big time in The Open in the past, but at days end his game this year has not been stellar, he blows up on a hole or two and seems to knock himself out of it early.
Experience will be a key in The Open Championship this year and a note of fact, 7 out of the last 10 Open Champs were 35 or older who hoisted the Claret Jug. You have the usual young guns at the top of the odds list, Dustin Johnson favored to win it all at 8-1 tied closely with Jason Day and Rory McIlroy at 9-1 and Jordan Spieth at 10-1, and Adam Scott and Branden Grace at 22-1. Not sold on Rory, just not his year, he is not accurate off the box and has issues with bunker play. A seasoned veteran and not someone fresh off the bus will win this week.
I just cannot back everyone’s favorite Jason Day here in his current form, his play off the tee box has killed him in recent weeks and even his 3 wood is inconsistent, and blowing a recent tourney is not a good mindset although he will be around for the weekend, I cannot pick the status quo here, heck Dustin Johnson has twice the game that Day has right now even though he is #1 in the world. Last week’s Scottish Open Champion Alex Noren is a 50-1 odds bet. I cannot see back to back weeks with championships, no matter how well he played down the stretch in that tourney last week against some very good players in the field and difficult conditions.
Again we have 2 European Players here to discuss, the best of the lot over there who have been around the hunt for years but have never won a major, and I think either of them has a good of shot as ever to pull it off this year. Sergio Garcia at 25-1 and Lee Westwood at 50-1, and remember last month both were in contention in the US Open in the last round. They are 2 of the best players around never to win a major and of the two, Garcia is playing well and I think has a real shot to contend on Sunday.
Here are my Picks – all in order of strength:
Top 4 Euro Players Picks
BEST BET TO WIN IT – Branden Grace 22-1 (Been in the hunt in majors before, and will be a huge factor in my opinion)
Sergio Garcia 25-1
Justin Rose 33-1 (Injury issues are vastly better)
Charel Schwartzel 66-1
Top US 3 Player Picks
Jordan Spieth 10-1
Patrick Reed 55-1
Dustin Johnson 8-1
Lee Westwood 55-1 (Due big time, this might be the year, has the right game for this course)
Phil Mickelson 66-1 (my sentimental favorite, and he has played well recently despite missing the cut at the US Open)
Graeme McDowell 90-1 (played well last week in the Scottish Open – always a threat across the pond)