Surviving the Open at Muirfield
Lee Westwood could be the first Englishmen to win The Open since Sir Nick Faldo in 1992. Westwood has played extremely well through the first three rounds and has demonstrated that persistence and patience does pay off. Westwood’s greatest attribute to date has been his putting. His skill on the green resulted in being the only player to shoot sub-par rounds in the last two days!
As we watch 90 yard roll outs on the fairways, players hitting medium irons 270+ yards, bunkers that guard the course like soldiers on sentry, and greens that are faster than your kitchen floor, Muirfield Golf Course is a relentlenss beast that challenges the world’s best golfers!
Players said that the dry conditions and constant 15 mph wind almost makes the course unplayable. It is on the cusp of being unfair, but as the players continue to challenge the beast they are finding new and creative ways to keep their score low. Whether they are putting while standing 4 feet in a bunker or shooting eagles from the fairway, it is not difficult to understand why only so few players are breaking par each day.
The last round of the Open should prove to be as exciting as the first three. Regardless of what the odds makers have said, the winner is too difficult to call. However, watching the first three rounds, anyone at +3 or less has a chance to raise the Claret Jug!. Here is why:
Players at +3 are going out earlier than the leaders. All three days, Muirfield has player easier early in the morning than later in the day. If players like Sergio Garcia or Brandt Snedeker can post a 68 or 67 early, the leaders may have some difficulty keeping their scores low enough to win.
The wind picks up through the day. Each day the wind blew less during the morning rounds than the afternoon rounds. The few extra mph of wind, added to the dry conditions may just be enough to cause a major shift in the leaderboard.
Lastly, the famous unknown of the Open. Muirfield has demonstrated that the bounces off the uncountable knolls and bumps are unpredictable! None of the players really know how far the ball will release or how the undulating fairways will affect their ball. How many times have the pros raised their hands in a “you’ve got to be kidding me!” stance because the ball did something completely unpredictable!
The final round of the Open is going to as exciting as the first three! Given the current leaderboard, the Grateful Golfer predicts the following:
- Lee Westwood
- Ryan Moore
- Phil Mickelson
- Tiger Woods
- Hunter Mahan
Prudence would suggest not betting on my prediction. However, we can all agree that it is high time an Englishman won The Open and brought the glory home!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!