The Open Trends – Only Hardened Pros Need Apply
The Open Championship
As the only Major to be staged on a links course, the British Open takes some adjusting to, and newcomers to that unique combination of links golf and Major pressure can struggle.
All of the last ten players to lift the Claret Jug had played the British Open on at least three previous occasions.
Have You Hit The Top Ten?
Experience at the British Open is important, but the trends suggest your selection also needs to have tasted success at the game’s oldest and most prestigious Major. Seven of the last ten winners had made the top ten in a previous year.
I’ve Been Here Before
The tournament rotates between courses, and with a decade or so between each rotation, you might think course experience is not that important, but you’d be wrong. Ignoring 2006 – when it was played at Royal Liverpool for the first time since 1967 – seven of the last ten winners had played it on the same course previously, a trend that rules out the two players at the top of the betting: Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
Only Hardened Pros Need Apply
There is no more searching test of character for the professional golfer than the British Open, where the greens are enormous, and the weather is wildly unpredictable. It can test the patience of even the most phlegmatic competitor, and inexperienced players can find it an ordeal, so it’s no surprise to find that…
…all but one of the last ten winners had at least eight seasons as a pro under their belt.
Forget The Formbook
You might think that winning a tournament the week before the British Open is the perfect way to warm-up, but you’d be wrong. The Scottish Open and the John Deere Classic are the last tour events before the big one, but Phil Mickelson is the only golfer to have won one of those events and gone on to win the British Open.
Winners Back Winners
But you do need your selection to have shown some good form in the preceding months. Nine of the last ten winners of the Claret Jug had won a PGA or European Tour event in the previous year and eight of the last thirteen had made the top ten of either the Masters or the US Open that year.
Ditch The Brits
In the last twenty years, only two British golfers have won the British Open: Darren Clarke in 2011 and Paul Lawrie back in 1999. This means we can write off the likes of Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, and Ian Poulter.
Applying these trends to the top end of this year’s field leaves us with an interesting collection of contenders made up of 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott (16/1), world ranked number two, Henrik Stenson (16/1), and redoubtable Dane Thomas Bjorn (55/1).