Where: Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Southport, England.
When: July 20th-July 23rd
Defending Champion: Henrik Stenson
Winning Score Last Time Open was held at Royal Birkdale: +3 (in 2008)
Course Layout: 34-36=70. 7173 Yards. Clearly a tough course when the winning score was +3 in 2008 and the cut line was +9 after two rounds. Two par 5’s on the back 9 to take advantage of compared to none on the front nine. Only one par 4 is under 400 yards, which will create some long approaches.
TV Coverage: Thursday, July 20 & Friday, July 21st: 1:30AM-4:00PM ET, Golf Channel. Saturday, July 22: 4:30AM-7:00AM ET, Golf Channel. 7:00AM-3:00PM NBC. Sunday, July 23: 4:00AM-7:00AM ET, Golf Channel, 7:00AM-2:00PM ET NBC.
Expected Weather Conditions: Winds and cool temperatures are in the forecast, but looking relatively dry. Highs will be in the low-mid 60s with winds in the 15-20mph range consistently. The only day with a decent chance of showers is Friday.
Sleeper of the Week: Wesley Bryan. The former trick shot star has made his way onto the scene and is thriving in the 2017 PGA Tour season. Coming off of a T3 at the John Deere Classic last week, he sits at #20 in the FedEx cup rankings. He has had five top 10s (including a win) since February, and even though it’s his second ever major, he will continue to ride the wave of good play.
10. Daniel Berger- With a missed cut at the US open included, in the past four tournaments he has a win, a runner up finish and a T5. He’s coming in hot and has risen 19 spots in the world golf rankings in the past 2 months.
9. Phil Mickelson- This was supposedly the major he “couldn’t win”. Phil has been up-and-down this year, but his putter has been extremely solid. A runner up performance last year in The Open, a win in 2013 and a top 20 finish last time The Open was held at Royal Birkdale (while opening with a 79). Should have a respectable performance this week.
8. Tommy Fleetwood- He’s playing The Open at his home course, so he will have his fans to come and back him. The Southport native finished 4th in the US Open a couple weeks back and won the French Open as well. Anticipate a solid standing come Sunday for the 26 year old.
7. Rory McIlroy- Rory has been boom or bust in the past six majors or so, but he has had success at the British with three top five finishes and a win in 2014. His game has been all over the place this year, so maybe this is the week he puts it all together.
6. Rickie Fowler- At one point this guy has to win a major right? Rickie hasn’t thrived in the British Open setting but four top tens in the past five weeks, he’s been rolling lately.
5. Dustin Johnson- Honestly a little bit surprising how well DJ does in The Open setting. On courses that don’t seem to fit his game, he still manages to compete. Despite being easily the #1 player in the world, he hasn’t made a cut in almost two months.
4. Jordan Spieth- Coming off of a win at the Travelers Championship, Jordan took some time off to gear himself up for this tournament. Jordan has been consistently “eh” at The Open with one solid performance, a T4 in 2015. He has all of the momentum to get it turned around. My highest ranking American.
3. Paul Casey- Risky pick. Another boom or bust guy normally, but somehow seems to show up for majors and succeed. Has been steadily at 14-16 in the world for a while now. Inconsistent but a pick with high upside.
2. Justin Rose- Hampered by injuries, Rose seems to be back playing well in 2017. A runner up finish in the Masters and a T5 at the Travelers, Rosie should have the hometown crowd pulling for an Englishman to lift the Claret Jug.
If I had to pick a winner it would be…Sergio Garcia. Sergio has played 20 British Opens and has come in the top-10 ten times. Think about that!! He has finished second twice and has been no worse than T6 in the past three Opens. He already got the first major monkey off of his back, so he should feel much less pressure to win a tournament he consistently does well in.