The 143rd Open Championship

The Dormie – The 2014 Open Championship

simple_img_hoylake

2013 Champion (At Muirfield Golf Links): Phil Mickelson (-3) – (britishopengolf.co.uk)

Course:

Royal Liverpool plays host to the Open Championship (also known as the British Open) for the twelfth time in its 143-year history, most recently in 2006 (more on that later). Despite its name, the course is located in Hoylake, just serperated from Liverpool by the River Mersey. Because of this, you’ll often hear the course referred as both “Royal Liverpool” and “Hoylake.” Hoylake is a seaside-links course, meaning the wind will be constantly howling. This year, the course is playing to be 7,312 yards (54 more than in 2006) with a 72 par. As in 2006, the players will be teeing off the 17th hole, thus making the actual first hole the third hole of the tournament and the 8th hole the start of the back nine.

The Trophy (a special, British Open feature for the Dormie):

The Claret Jug, the Coolest Trophy in sports

The Claret Jug, the Coolest Trophy in sports – (Golf Week)

TV Coverage:

Thursday: 4am to 3pm on ESPN
Friday: 4am to 3pm on ESPN
Saturday: 7am to 2:30pm on ESPN
Sunday: 6am to 1:30pm on ESPN

The Field:

Much like the Masters, the Open Championship offers most of its past champions the opportunity to compete, they just need to be under 60-years-old. That’s right, you’ll see Nick Faldo teeing it up with the Tour’s best–including Tiger.

135th Open Championship - Final Round

Tiger Woods last won the Claret Jug in 2006 at Hoylake – (Hot Links)

Storylines:

You’re going to hear all week about Tiger’s return to a major golf tournament and that it’s a course he has won on before. Tiger respects the course and its difficulty. Despite playing 7,312 yards, Woods only used his driver once in ’06. The Las Vegas-based company Bovada has Tiger listed fifth-highest at 18/1. It will interesting to see Tiger play considering his injuries but with Woods back, there’s certainly a electric feeling around golf again.

So who is the odd-on favorite? Well Bovada has it split between two guys. The first is Rory McIlroy. Rory has two-majors under his belt (2011 US Open and 2012 PGA) but his highest British Open finish was third back in 2010. McIlroy’s biggest flaw is Friday; he has a tendency of playing well in the first round on Thursday (see last Thursday at the Scottish Open), but horribly in the second round on Friday. He’s co-listed as the favorite along with Justin Rose. The 2013 US Open Champ won last week’s Scottish Open along with the Quicken Loans National at Congressional a few weeks ago and has risen to #3 in the world. Rose’s current hot-streak should put him in contention for the Claret Jug; he has missed the cut three times in the last four years.

Phil Mickelson has had quite the expensive year with the Claret Jug. He’ll attempt to be the first back-to-back Open Champion since Padraig Harrington in 2008-2009. While Phil has had a tough year, he is listed at 20/1 odds to win, as is 2014 US Open Champ Martin Kaymer.

Lastly, we come to the World’s top two golfers: Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson. Both of these tremendous golfers finished in the top three last year and Scott was the runner-up two years ago. Bovada has both of them tied for the second-highest odds at 16/1. Any of these three could win, but they’ll need to out-last the tough test Hoylake’s links will provide.

Prediction:

Your 2014 Open Champion will be Henrik Stenson. As much as I’d like to see Tiger capture his 15th major and stay on pace with Jack, Stenson is incredible on links courses. He got so close last year; too close to not consistently compete. Rory will have plenty more chances to take home the Claret Jug.

Disagree? Let me know in the comments below

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