The Open is scheduled to start in three days; regardless if you are die-hard golf fan or not, this Major will capture your attention. Played at the Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland, this majestic course last saw Padraig Harrington win in 2007. After a 12 year hiatus, Carnoustie is ready again to show the world why it is a perfect venue for The Open Championship. The challenge of predicting the winner because at approximately 7500 yards and the four toughest closing holes in golf, Carnoustie is a beast that is always ready to pounce on any wayward shot.
Picking a winner at a Major is never easy. Selecting a Champion at a weather-beaten course makes it worse. Recently, Rickie Fowler hit a 450+ yard drive at the Scottish Open. This feat is a great indicator that length will not elevate them above the field and as such their weekly advantage will be nullified.
Control and being able to play in the wind will be the key factors come Thursday. The ability to adjust their game to the changing course conditions is key. Who is hot and how is not also plays into my final choice because we know that winning a Major is all about having a hot putter and cool approach shots. This week, keeping the ball in play off the tee will also be critical, probably more so that cool approach shots. But, we shall see.
Of course the top names must make the list of possible champions. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler round out the top 5 in the polls. However, I do not think they will win this year. They might pop up on the leaderboard, but I am not sure they will be able to handle the hardness of the course and will eventually struggle off the tee.
My sentimental favourites are Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. I always cheer for them in a Major, but as they are a long shot in my books. But, man would it not be great to see them raise the Claret Jug on Sunday.
I based my selection for Masters Champion on several things. First, this player is scoring well and played very well in the US Open. His final round caught everyone’s attention and I think he will carry on his success to Carnoustie this week. If you have not guessed, Tommy Fleetwood is my choice for The 2018 Open Champion!
Fleetwood has a well-rounded game. He demonstrated that he can play on the big stage and I expect he will do so this weekend. Hailing from England, he understands links golf and can play in the wind. Fleetwood has proven he can score low, but to win the Claret Jug, he will have to play consistently over the entire four rounds. I expect that if he is in the top 5 on moving day (Saturday) he will be in great position to earn the title of 2018 Open Champion.
Who is your selection as Champion for The Open this year?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!