On the whole, the Staff could have done better in making its predictions for the Open. However, we made a few good calls in each category. The weather was something of a black swan, for the players, and perhaps it got us off our collective games game a bit as well. All that stopping and starting makes it hard to put together a paragraph, let alone an inspired set of predictions, after all.
A breakdown of "hits and misses" after the jump.
We were correct in our collective assumption that the winning score at this year's Open would be under par. Indeed, the -4 score which prevailed was the lowest winning total since Retief Goosen won with the same total at Shinnecock in 2004.
Call us crazy, but we didn't see the emergence of Lucas Glover as a Major winner on the radar screen. However, we did all right with our estimation of contenders, picking four of the players who finished in the top ten. T.M felt that Hunter Mahan would either "miss the cut or make a run." Indeed, he did the latter, finishing just four strokes back. Additionally, we foresaw Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, and Sergio Garcia playing well. They did, with Phil making a serious run at victory (and, perhaps predictably, coming up short).
Paul Casey, Brian Gay, J.M. Singh, didn't play the weekend. The Staff correctly identified these trunk slammers. On a side note, Michael Campbell shot 77, 79 to miss the cut. Does anyone think this guy will contend for anything again, aside from "Worst Ethnically Inspired Shirt Design?"
Whimsical as some of our "Wouldn't it be greats…" were, a few instances of our wishful thinking actually matched up with the reality of the Open. Primarily, T.M and John's prayers for the appearance of David Duval, the contender, rather than David Duval, the 800+ ranked player in the world, were answered.
Hoping that Phil Mickelson would play well in spite of his wife's affliction was a common theme amongst the predictors. As was already stated, Mickelson played quite well under the circumstances, adding another second place finish at an Open to his collection.
Erik hit the nail on the head in his estimation of the most overused terminology of the week. "I just hope,"" he wrote, "the terms we don't all get sick of this week are 'rain' and 'soggy' and 'soft' and 'storm." I think we heard all of those cascading off the announcer's tongues a fair deal more than we would have liked to, paired with images of a washed-out Bethpage Black.
All four of us who picked Tiger Woods to win the Open missed. Tiger fought (surprise) a balky putter all week and finished the tournament at even par. Our logic seemed flawless: Tiger as a horse for the course, coming off a victory, at a Major… Nevertheless, he wound up in a tie for sixth.
George picked Phil Mickelson to win, which, although it was a "miss," certainly came closer than the remainder of our crack staff's picks: Geoff Oglivy, Jim Furyk, and Steve Stricker.
No one was more off base than Donald with their pick of a contender. The aforementioned saw John Merrick as a "pretty good under the radar pick." Merrick finished two rounds at +10. Under the radar, to be sure, but also over the cut line.
Jim Furyk and Angel Cabrera were also identified as contenders by Erik and George, respectively. In short, they weren't. Cabrera's combined 161 on the weekend just didn't get the job done. Sorry, George.
I have decided to suspend all future speculation in regards to the play of Sergio Garcia. I was certain he would miss the cut, and handily, but he pieced together a very respectable week, considering he didn't appear to make a putt outside of 13 inches all week.
Donald saw Vijay who has "lost a few miles off the fastball" (whatever that means) missing the cut. Singh certainly didn't put together the world's most compelling week, but he made the cut, resulting in further abuse of Bethpage's driving range.
To wrap up, and in hindsight, we should have had an additional category for speculation: "How many times will Johnny Miller inspire you to utilize the mute button during the U.S. Open telecast?"