TheSandTrap.com  ›  Blog  ›  Thrash Talk  ›  2013 British Open Staff Picks 

2013 British Open Staff Picks

Jul. 17, 2013     By     Comments (3)

The 2013 Open Championship is being played at Muirfield and should be a great event, lets see what the staff expects for the event.

Thrash TalkThe 2013 edition of the British Open moves to Muirfield Golf Club. The story lines for this year's event look great. Phil Mickelson is peaking with a win last week at the Scottish Open, Graeme McDowell is also riding high with a win at the French Open and of course there is always Tiger. There are certainly some questions around if Tiger is going to be his best this week after sustaining the injury at the U.S. Open. Let's see what the staff expects for this year's event.

1. Who is your winner and what is their final score?

Tristan Hilton
So hard to say… I've picked Tiger so many times now and yet he still hasn't managed to win a major. I'd like to think this will be the one, but I thought that at the Masters and U.S. Open and it wasn't the case there. I guess I'll stick with Tiger and say -8 will be the score… I gotta be right one of these times, right?

Jamieson Weiss
Tiger Woods, -12. One of these days he's going to win a major, and I'm not going to miss the chance to be correct with my pick for once.

Dave Koster
I've picked Tiger all year because I thought he'd win one of those first two majors. I have a hard time picking him in the British Open since he's been a bit off. I'd also love to pick Justin Rose but I don't see him winning back-to-back majors. I'll go a route I never have (at least I don't think I have) in picking. I'll take Phil at -7 to win. He's playing well enough to win last week and contend at the U.S. Open. Why not? My second place finisher is Ian Poulter… that is if he pretends it's match play on every hole. Just remember to hole out Ian.

Michael C. Hepp
I am going to go with Lee Westwood at -9. I like that Muirfield has had winners like Nick Faldo who are technicians and grinders. Lee has missed out and each event that passes by is a risk for him to end up like another European Colin Montgomerie. I expect to see Lee get off to a steady start and win it in the final holes on Sunday.

Mike McLoughlin
Phil Mickelson at -7 He just won the Scottish Open so I think he's got some strong momentum going into Muirfield. Phil is currently fourth in FedEx Cup points, Mickelsonhas had a consistent season and has the ideal mindset to capture another major. He also finished second at last year's British Open.

Erik J. Barzeski
Sergio at -10, with Ian Poulter finishing second at -9.

Now that the jinx is out of the way, I am really picking someone who will wear red on Sunday, because Muirfield is dry and a thinking man's golf course, and the guy in red tends to do well on courses which stress thought and preparation (despite what Hank Haney might have to say).

2. Tiger hasn't played since the U.S. Open, how do you expect him to fair in the event considering his lack of "reps?"

Tristan Hilton
I think he'll be fine. He's played enough over the years to know what he has to do to be ready for an event like this.

Jamieson Weiss
I have no idea, which is why I didn't attempt to buoy him up in the first question. Reps have seemed to be a big sticking point in his game the last few years, but he's also got four wins this year, which is easy to forget. Also easy to forget is that he was probably one flagstick away from winning the Masters. He looked oh so awful for much of the U.S. Open, which means … who knows? Are we chalking that up to the elbow, a few bad swings, or lack of experience at the course? It appeared to all set up very well for him. As for Tiger at Murfield, aside from that 81 in the third round, he actually played quite well there back in 2002. Then again, he played quite well everywhere back in 2002.

Dave Koster
I see Tiger in the top 20 but I just can't see him winning this week. He has had amazing stretches this year and could very well come in and light the place up. I just don't see it happening though. I think he'll finish 1 or 2 under par but never be in serious contention on Sunday.

Michael C. Hepp
Certainly if you are a Tiger fan this has to worry you. One cannot be sure what we will get from Tiger. He may go out and dominate and he may go out and struggle to make the cut. I am going to go with the latter because I think he has struggled at times at the British Open. He missed a cut at the British Open a few years ago. I think he likes Muirfield but I think the lack of competition leading the to event is too much to overcome.

Mike McLoughlin
I think Tiger will get into contention but not win. Questions about his elbow and some scrappy recent form are certainly valid reasons to doubt his ability to seal the deal. He knows how to win majors even when his he's injured but don't think he'll gets the win at Muirfield.

Erik J. Barzeski
He'll be fine. This is old hat for him, and at this point in his career, the rest may be better than the reps. Reps were important when his swing was in tatters. He's won four times this year.

And maybe while nursing his elbow he putted a lot…

Jean Van de Velde

3. What do you expect from last year's winner Ernie Els at this year's event considering that he won the event at Muirfield the last time it was held there in 2002?

Tristan Hilton
I suspect he'll play pretty well. He's had a bit of an up and down season so far this year with a couple of missed cuts and then a T4 at the U.S. Open. The pressure will be on being the defending champion and the last man to win at the venue but I think he'll hold up well to the pressure. I'd say he finishes within the Top 20 for sure, if not better.

Jamieson Weiss
Not much. At this point, Ernie's a middling tour professional. That's no insult to him, just a fact. He'll win the occasional event (like the BMW International Open earlier this year), but expecting him to regularly compete in majors is a bit much. I'll say he makes the cut, maybe we even see his name on Saturday, but I would be surprised to see him compete.

Dave Koster
Ernie will post a top 20 but, similar to Tiger, not be in contention on Sunday. Last year he shocked a bit by winning and I don't know if he'll have the same magic that he conjured up last year. It would be an amazing story but can he win back-to-back Opens? I doubt it.

Michael C. Hepp
I think Ernie will play well and be a name on the leaderboard but not be a big factor in the event. I wonder if any British Open golfer has been the defending champion of the previous year as well as the defending champion from the last time the event was held at that course. He should have great feelings at Muirfield so I expect a few good rounds.

Mike McLoughlin
Tough to say when it comes to Ernie. I'll see the glass half full and say that he'll contend. With Ernie it all comes down to his putting and his belly putter was hot last year to sneak in and take the title away from Adam Scott.

Erik J. Barzeski
Ernie misses the cut. Sorry Ernie.

4. Do you expect to see more European players in the top 10 or more American players and why?

Tristan Hilton
That's a tough one. Obviously the Open has a style of golf that is not as common to American players, but as the commercials say, these guys are good. That being said, my nod goes to the Europeans on this, although not by much; maybe 6 to 4.

Jamieson Weiss
I'll say European players. In the last few years it's generally been evenly split (with the international guys filling a few spots as well), but it is a European event, and they do have a few good young players that might crack the leaderboard.

Dave Koster
European. For all the expected reasons. This is their home turf and by the law of averages they have more players in this major than any other. When one of the best American golfers (Stricker) isn't even playing that gives one more chance/slot for the Euros to take.

Michael C. Hepp
I think the Europeans are going to have a better British Open but mostly because the Americans are not playing quite as well. Mickelson and Woods will likely play well but Bradley, Kuchar, Snedeker, etc have not played as well of late. Whereas the some of the Euros like Graeme McDowell has started to play a bit better of late. Euros take more of the top 10 spots.

Mike McLoughlin
Seems like the European players play great in the states, so I'll go with USA on the links. I've already picked Mickelson to win and Woods to contend so there's two already ;-) Other american players to watch out for, Billy Horschel won got hit first win this year and is good at hitting the lower trajectory shots and 19 year old Jordan Spieth who plays golf with a "no fear" attitude.

Erik J. Barzeski
I think we see more Australians and South Africans (combined) than Euros or Americans, actually. I think the totals are 2, 1, 2, and 2. In other words, since Ernie's missing the cut, Louis Oosthuizen makes an appearance. :)

5. The last time the British Open was hosted at Muirfield they had one of the worst weather days in the history of the event, including Tiger shooting an 81. What is your favorite British Open memory?

Tristan Hilton
I loved watching Tom Watson nearly win the whole thing at 59 years old. Although Cink beat him in a playoff, that was one of the coolest moments I can remember.

Jamieson Weiss
It's interesting that you say that, the awful weather day during the 2002 event is one of my oldest memories of watching sports (it helps that as I write this I'm sitting on the same couch, in the same living room where I watched that round). As a Tiger fan, I definitely wouldn't call that my "favorite" memory, but it's certainly one I remember vividly. Watching an athlete who was so dominate at the time be completely destroyed by a force he can't control is not something we see every day. If there's something we (including current-day Tiger) can take from that event, it's the fact that Tiger followed that 81 up with a 65, even though it would have taken a 59 for him just to make the playoff.

Dave Koster
I still remember vividly Costantino Rocca (after doffing his chip) holing out from the Valley of Sin on the 18th at St. Andrews in the1995 Open…and the look on Daly's face when he did. I thought for sure he was done and had no chance in the playoff. It pains me that Daly is one of the things I remember most about the Open. I wish it would have been Tom Watson winning in 2009. They would have been talking about that for a hundred years.

Michael C. Hepp
For me, the first memory that pops into my head when thinking of the British Open is Jean Van de Velde. The meltdown at Carnoustie. I could not take my eyes off of the television watching that.

Mike McLoughlin
Either seeing David Duval or Darren Clarke get their wins. I was always a fan of Duval's when I was a teenager and great to see his hard work pay off at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

Erik J. Barzeski
My favorite British Open memory? Goodness. I wasn't alive for the Duel in the Sun. So quite honestly it might have been Tiger just picking the course apart at either St. Andrews (2000) or Hoylake (2006).

Photo credits: © David Cannon

Discussion

  1. JetFan1983 says:

    Wow... crazy accurate picks this year, guys. Good job to Dave, whoever he is!

  2. AirMick says:

    Keep picking Tiger Woods guys. Yeah. Believe the hype, and this is 2008. Isn't it? When will you get it through your heads that the other golfers have also started using strength training. I am saying this with the knowledge that Phil has won. I can say this, that in our golf pool, I have not picked Woods for a major since his lovely Thanksgiving in 09. The little tourneys do not have the pressure from the big boys.

  3. Dave Koster says:

    A bit of luck helps. I tied on the Euro/US estimate but think that the Aussie should give me the tie breaker. Give Mike some props too...great minds think alike. Or guess alike...I guess. :)

    AirMick - Tiger will win another major. His loss has nothing to do with strength training. If that was the case, Phil wouldn't have won and Angel Cabrera wouldn't be anywhere near contention in majors. Tiger's weekend performance in the last half-dozen or so majors has everything to do with it...he isn't finishing like he used to.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.