The Open Championship Returns to Turnberry

The Open Championship returns to Turnberry after far too long of an absense from the west coast of Scotland. The Open hasn’t been contested at Turnberry since 1994. Which means the last time the Championship was contested there, I was 10 years old, and had never even held a golf club. The Aisla Course is lauded by pros and pundits as being one of the finest Open venues. Having never seen the course on television before, the one thing I keep hearing about Turnberry is that it is a shot maker’s paradise which always identifies the best player in the field. In fact, Turnberry has hosted the Open on three prior occasions with the player ranked number one in the world at the time (Tom Watson 1977, Greg Norman 1986, Nick Price 1994) holding the Claret Jug at the end of the week.

The Favorite: Tiger Woods. No surprise here. But, what is surprising is how much of an overwhelming favorite he is. Woods is installed at 2/1 to win his 4th Claret Jug, where as the next closest option is Sergio Garcia at 20/1. To me this is just a testiment as to how wide open the field is this week, with the exception of Woods. With Mickelson back home, and Harrington struggling to make cuts, the tournament is there to be had for whoever wants it. But, I just think Tiger is due. And history is on his side.

Contenders: Sergio Garcia. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, Garcia has had his share of disappointments and heartbreak at the Open Champion more so than any other major. After nearly going wire to wire to win at Carnoustie in 2007, before painfully losing to Padraig Harrington, I wondered if he would ever win. But, this could be his best chance yet, with several heavy hitters either missing or struggling.

Paul Casey: The newly minted world number 3, and a guy who has a game for seemingly every golf course he steps on. Casey is easilly one of the best ball strikers in the world, who has the ability to control his ball in the wind better than almost anybody. With the weather forecasted for the week, negotiating the wind and elements will be crucial.

Camilo Villegas: Another low ball hitter who has the all around game. This guy is a stud who is going to win a lot of golf tournaments during his career. I would be surprised to see him outside of the top ten at weeks’ end, and could end up in the winner’s circle.

Hunter Mahan: The one American player not named Tiger that I really like this week. The guy is just a grinder who will not be phased by potentially awful weather. Hunter could have won the U.S. Open last month but caught a HORRENDOUS break when his approach shot smacked the flagstick at the par 4 16th and careened off the green. Mahan has played well all year, and I expect it to continue.

Dark Horse: David Duval. This pick is almost too obvious, but I would love to see it happen. Does Duval’s comeback story have a second act? It was eight years ago in the Open at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s where DD last won a professional tournament. On a sidenote, I also really like Geoff Ogilvy at 30/1 and Henrik Stenson at 33/1.

Enjoy the golf everyone, I will be setting my alarm to wake up bright and early. Cheers!

-Patrick Keegan

2 Responses to “The Open Championship Returns to Turnberry”

  1. Bob Crawford says:

    Fantastic place . I had the pleasure of staying there years ago and was able to play both courses. A long time ago. Great to see on TV. Brings back a lot of memories. Bob Crawfprd

  2. john says:

    the way lee westwood is playing at the moment suggests he is a good bet to get in to top ten too

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