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TST Staff Predictions for the 2016 British Open

Jul. 14, 2016     By     Comments (0)

The third major of the season gets underway this week, lets see who the staff expects to play well at the British Open.

Thrash TalkIn my opinion Royal Troon is the perfect British Open golf course. It is a links course with a certain amount of holes where you can play well, and a some really really hard holes. I love watching the players play the postage stamp, just great viewing. Adding to this years event, many of the world's best golfers are playing really well and we have recipe for an outstanding event.

Royal Troon has a history of winners that is very interesting. For one Americans have won there since Arnold Palmer in 1962. There is not a clear reason for this, but it is an interesting fact. It also has a history of crowning some unsuspecting winners such as Todd Hamilton. So we are likely in for an interesting tournament. Let's see what the staff expects for this year's event.

1. Who is your winner, their score, and why?

Scott Curry
Just like you don't bet against Tom Brady in cold weather games, don't bet against a bad weather player at the Open. The weather looks to be variable with wind and showers. If it goes south, which I hope it does, I expect a bad weather player to triumph. I am going with Graeme McDowell to pull this one out at -4. He did well at the Scottish Open and has been player better lately. He also knows how to win a major.

Michael C. Hepp
The weather looks wet. I think a wet course favors Rory, but I think he has hexed himself with a poor performance in his press conference. So I am going to go outside the box and pick Lee Westwood. I sense a story similar to Darren Clarke a few years ago where a guy who hasn't won his major but has been close finally gets his win. He will do so at -14.

Jamieson Weiss
It’s the year of Jason Day, of course! Before a T4 last year, he’d never shown us he could do much on that side of the pond, but he hasn’t missed the top 10 in a major since the 2015 Masters. I think it’s time for him to get back in the winner’s circle at Troon.

Bill Chao
I'm back on the Dustin Johnson bandwagon (though in my defense, there weren't that many people left on it when I hopped off just before the US Open). We all know what he is capable of doing with his skill set and he's finally gotten that major monkey off his back. He's peaking at the right time this year for the British Open, which he has historically played well in. I'll take DJ at -8.

George Promenschenkel
I'm going chalk, provided the weather isn't too extreme, I think it might be Jason Day's week. He's played well in past Opens, and he now has all of the tools that he'll need to navigate Royal Troon.

2. Royal Troon has had history of producing a few single major winners (Leonard and Hamilton). Which non major winner do you expect might surprise us with a win?

Scott Curry
I always pull for a local in the Open Championship. It is such a special win if someone from the home area can triumph. Russell Knox and Rickie Ramsay both did well at the Scottish Open. I expect one of them to contend.

Michael C. Hepp
I already picked Lee, but if I look to another non-major winner to play well here I am picking Sergio Garcia. Sergio needs the benefit of good weather in the draw. If he is on the wrong side of it, and his attitude gets going the wrong way than he is out, but with the right luck he could finally get that win.

Jamieson Weiss
Remember Nicolas Colsaerts, the Belgian Bomber who tore up Medinah at the 2012 Ryder Cup? Well he’s still around, and he’s in this year’s Open. He nearly just won the Scottish Open, so if I’ve got to take a dark horse first timer to win, I’ll go with Colsaerts.

Bill Chao
I'm going to flip a coin between Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia. I'd love to see either of them win their first major here. Both have been playing pretty well this year, so I'll give the nod to Sergio since his record at the British Open is better.

George Promenschenkel
Lots of pundits are picking Sergio this year, but I think the golf gods will do something (at least in his mind) to trip him up down the stretch. Does orange go with tartan? Rickie Fowler has had a fairly quiet year so far, but he's had some close calls at the Open. His worst finish (aside from a missed cut in 2013) is T31. Another guy to watch is Andy Sullivan. He's a solid player who is making his way up the rankings.

Zack Johnson

3. Last year's winner Zach Johnson has not done much since his win last year at St. Andrews, what do you expect for him this year?

Scott Curry
Zach Johnson is a steady player and will make a run. But I think he will fall short. Pride from being returning champ can help motivate, but your game has to be spot on to win a major.

Michael C. Hepp
Troon seems to favor guys who plod along mixed in their own games. That fits Zach just about perfectly. The missing ingredient for him to really shine is how wet the golf course will be. This doesn't favor him, plus he really hasn't played all that well this year.

Jamieson Weiss
I expect him to be graceful in a crushing, but wholly expected, defeat. As much as I like the guy, last year was pretty darn fluky.

Bill Chao
He hasn't won, but it's not exactly like he's hacking it up out there. He hasn't missed a cut at the British Open in almost a decade and I don't see why that should change now. His consistency has been the key to success his whole career and he might just sneak up the leaderboard if you're not paying attention. He wasn't exactly a favorite at St. Andrews last year, either.

George Promenschenkel
He hasn't shown much this year, but he is a bulldog competitor. I think he'll finish a bit back in the pack, maybe around 30th. But if the wind blows hard, watch out! That just might give him a chance to defend.

4. As it is a Ryder Cup year, who do you expect to have more players in the top ten, the Europeans or the Americans?

Scott Curry
I think the EU players will do well, but not the English! Splitters! The European pros play in conditions like they will have at Troon more often. It does give them an advantage.

Michael C. Hepp
Europeans for sure. I already said Westwood, Garcia, and I expect guys like Henrik Stenson and Grahame McDowell to be near the top and maybe even a surprise visit from Paddy Harrington.

Jamieson Weiss
The Europeans tend to do a bit better on that side of the pond, so I’ll take them. But it’s interesting that there doesn’t seem to be one side right now that’s the obvious Ryder Cup favorite.

Bill Chao
Americans. To say otherwise would be unpatriotic. Also I'm no t counting any British players who might finish in the top 10 since they're no longer part of Europe 😉

George Promenschenkel
Europe. The U.S. has the edge from 1-5, but Europe dominates 6-15. Need some big performances by the Americans in the upper teens to change that, and we're running out of time.

5. Give us your favorite British Open moment and why?

Scott Curry
I like Darren Clark's win the most. He was an underdog and really reached way above his level to pull out a great win.

Michael C. Hepp
There are so many for me. I love waking up early on the west coast and watching before anyone in my family wakes up. The tournament that got me into golf was the 1989 British Open and watching Greg Norman in the final round and essentially lose the tournament on the last hole. But my favorite moment is Van de Velde. I was walking out the door on my way to play golf because I thought it was over. Then he hit the drive and I said, well that is interesting let me watch another, bang off the grandstand and I took not take my eyes off it. It was like watching a car accident in slow motion.

Jamieson Weiss
I have very stark memories of watching Tiger shoot an 81 in 2002 at Murfield, but I don’t know if that really qualifies as a “favorite” moment. I’ll say Tom Watson nearly winning at Turnberry. It’s just too bad he couldn’t pull it out.

Bill Chao
Tom Watson nearly winning in 2009 at Turnberry. It was the kind of story that cheesy Hollywood movies are made of - 59 year old former champion takes one last shot at glory. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, but it sure was great to watch the whole way.

George Promenschenkel
How could it be anything but Tom Watson, at age 59, leading through 71 holes on Sunday at Turnberry in 2009? It seemed impossible but it so nearly happened. I still impulsively yell "sit" when watching replays of his approach into 18.

Photo credits: © Peter Morrison

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