Recap of last weeks bets
To Win – Brian Harman – LOST
To Miss the Cut – Harold Varner III – LOST
To Make the Cut – Seamus Power – WON
Top 30 Finish – Troy Merritt – LOST
Top Asian Player – K. J. Choi – LOST
Profit/Loss (This week) – Loss of $35 to a $10 Stake
Profit/Loss (Overall) – Loss of $122.50 to a $10 Stake
On to this week’s event
It’s time for the year’s final major championship. The 149th Open Championship will be held at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, United Kingdom, and will have a strong field. The most southern of all the Open Championship venues are Royal St. George’s Golf Club. It’s located along the English Channel and is one of the Open Championship’s more isolated locations. Dr. Williams Laidlaw Purves designed the golf course in 1887. It was designed to compete with St. Andrews in the north. He sought to not only compete with St. Andrews in terms of status, but he also wanted to reproduce many of St. Andrews’ unique features.
This mission was successful in terms of prestige. In 1894, the Open Championship made its first trip outside of Scotland at Royal St. George’s. Over the next 50 years, it hosted the Open Championship eight more times. The golf course has been tweaked to reduce the severity and height of the sand dunes on the front nine, which caused so many blind shots. While the golf course was stripped of some of its teeth, it also lost a lot of its charm and uniqueness. Over the next four decades, tinkering continued, and Royal St George’s hosted the Open Championships in 1993, 2003, and 2011.
The difficulty of keeping balls in the fairway was one of Royal St. George’s main complaints in 2003. This low number was primarily due to three holes in particular. On holes 1, 17, and 18, less than three out of ten golfers managed to keep the ball in the fairway in 2003. As a result, these holes’ fairways have been expanded to make it easier for the ball to stay in play. Bunkers were also repositioned to make the fairways a touch wider.
Greens with delicate Swails and undulations are typical of a classic links golf course. Unfortunately, Royal St. George’s isn’t one of them. Royal St. George’s greens are substantially more undulated than those at some of the other Open Championship venues. Several of the greens are also reasonably thin in breadth. And there isn’t much room to miss to the left or right in order to climb up and down. If they miss, golfers will need to be quick with their irons and precisely estimate the pace and slope of the green.
This is a tremendously tricky golf course from tee to green. It is, nevertheless, possible provided Mother Nature cooperates. Although the fairways can be challenging to navigate, they are wider than those found at other Open Championship courses. And a skilled iron player can take advantage of the green’s slopes to funnel balls closer to the hole. However, in windy conditions, such as those seen in 2003 and 2011, the route becomes dangerous. In addition, the golf course faces the bay on all sides. As a result, players will have difficulty keeping things on track if the wind picks up again in 2021.
On to our picks for this year…
Webb Simpson +6000
This week could be all about how well each golfer fights back on each hole rather than how they play them from the off, and Webb Simpson certainly has the scrambling game to deal with this course. His form hasn’t been great as of late, but he could have been holding back and saving himself for this week.
To Miss The Cut
Dustin Johnson +320
I don’t believe Johnson is the best links player and his recent form shows that having finished 51st, he missed the cut and 54th in his previous three Open championships. He also hasn’t played much golf recently, and coming into this one cold could be a recipe for disaster.
Top 20 Finish
Charley Hoffman +400
Charley Hoffman is as reliable as they come on the PGA tour right now, and after posting back-to-back top 20 finished at the Open in 2017 and 2018, he has proven he can handle links golf.
Top 10 After Round 1
Patrick Reed +450
Reed has been one of the fastest starters out of the blocks this season, and he has shot sub 70 first rounds in his last two tournaments. Anything sub 70 here would surely see him inside the top 10 after the first round. He also finished tenth at the open last time out, proving he knows his way around a links golf course.