How To Properly Rake a Bunker – A Lesson From The Open

I have covered this topic before, however after playing in unraked bunkers over the past few weeks, I thought it might be nice to revisit this important skill. For the sake of all players, understanding why and how to help maintain a golf course should be part of every players education. So here we go:

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The Open 2019 – Final Round

The Claret Jug

Congratulations to Shane Lowry on his win at The Open. Raising the Claret Jug is career highlight as this Irishman won in his home country. Royal Portrush played more difficult as the day continue due to inclement weather; yet, Lowry seemed to relish the tough conditions and played very well. With a four stroke lead starting the final round, he never seemed to be in danger of letting the field catch up. It is a great day for Irish golf.

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The Open 2019 – Day One

The big names get pounded at the first day of The Open at Royal Portrush. It seems that most of the favourites except for Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia struggled to keep it together. Shane Lowry was at the top of leaderboard for most of the day until afternoon player JB Holmes stepped up with a minus 5. The rest of the names at the top is a virtual list of known, but not ultra-popular, players who might have the staying power to win the Claret Jug.

Thanks for Darren Clarke for starting The Open with a birdie. Clarke played well over all and finished even par for the day. The highlights of the morning were topped by Emiliano Grillio’s hole-in-one on the 13th hole. There were many ‘other’ scores during the day, but none as damaging as the two for Rory McIlroy.

Of course the top of the list of favourites failing early was Rory McIlroy. He did not recover from his opening quadruple bogey and finished at the near bottom of the leaderboard with a plus 8. I am surprised to see him start so poorly, yet with all the pressure of playing in Northern Ireland it is not surprising. Then to finish with a triple bogey was very shocking. I do feel for him because I have been there and it is completely demoralizing. Rory will have to respond with a JB Holmes like round on Friday just to make the cut.

Other notables way down the leaderboard are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Bryson Dechambeau, and Xander Schauffele. They all struggled at various points during their round and need to play very well on Friday, like Rory, just to make the cut. This not really all that surprising, but it seems to be news nonetheless.

On Friday, two things have to happen to correct the path many of the players are on. First, the players at the top need to be patient and focus on steady play. The cannot win The Open on Friday, but they sure can lose it. The players listed above need to press their game. They need to increase their risk/reward course management style in the hopes of shooting a low enough score to make the cut.

The Open has not disappointed; the course is fantastic, the weather was reasonable and the scores as expected. Friday is going to be great and I am looking forward to tuning in to the action.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

The Open 2019 – Predictions

Well it is time to put my neck on the line one more time. The Open starts tomorrow and excited to watch the action and see who will hand the the longish course at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland. At just over 7300 yards, the entire field has a chance as long as they stay on the short grass. Keeping the ball in play off the tee will determine the winner of the Claret Jug. If the weather stays reasonable, then I must say that it will be anyone’s game. If it gets nasty……advantage Europe.

The Claret Jug

At this time, I am thinking that European players will have the advantage this year. Understanding links style course architecture and how to manage their unique challenges will ultimately be the deciding factor for the winner on Sunday. Additionally, the wind will blow, so having a power game to slice their ball through this hazardous condition will be a great benefit. I think this last Major of 2019 will be won off the tee!

Predicting a winner is always a roll of the dice. We have our favourites, but the reality is that picking the winner has to involve a bit of luck. This is true for all golf predictions, yet, as I must reemphasize that I feel that the Europeans have a home field advantage this year. So, here are choices as winner for The Open 2019:

Ian Poulter will finish third. I think Poulter is a surprising player this year and seems to pop up at the strangest times. I am not sure he has the legs to win, but has the ability to make a charge. He is not my dark horse, but feel that there is something about Poults this year that will make his run for the Claret Jug special. This is a pure gut-pick!

Tommy Fleetwood will finish second. Fleetwood is playing journeyman style golf this year. He is ready for a breakout tournament and The Open will be it. He is sneaky long and commands great control on his approach shots. Like all players, getting off the tee will be important, but for Fleetwood, approach shots will be the stat to watch. If he hits the green in regulation often, watch out!

Rory McIlroy will win his second Claret Jug. He is playing great golf this year and is deadly off the tee. This, and the fact that he is first in ‘shots gained’ in 3 categories (off the tee, tee to green, total) indicates that he should be a shoe-in to win. However, putting is his Achilles Heel and if he solves this….great golf will be played. Additionally, McIlroy has to remain mentally tough to for 72 holes to win, 68 holes will not cut it!

Jordan Spieth is my dark horse. I do not know how many times I can continue to pick Spieth as a potential winner. I do not understand his challenges, but feel his is one great tournament away from regaining his former successes. Spieth has to remain mentally calm to have a chance to win. This year, he is quick to ignite because of missed opportunities, so patience will be his greatest asset this weekend. His mental game will determine if he has a chance to win or not.

This weekend is going to be great fun to watch. The field is super-strong as one would expect at a Major. I left out players like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Justin Rose (……I could go on and on) because the I think the above players will outplay them. Unfortunately for me, any of those players could get hot and torpedo all of my predictions… is going to be fun to watch!

Did you make any predictions this year’s The Open?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!