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By Jason Bruno (posted July 16, 2014)


Royal Liverpool, site of the 143rd Open Championship


On the eve of the 143rd Open Championship, golf fans around the world are excited

to watch links golf, our sport in it's purest form . . . and in the states is there

anything better than waking up to major championship golf from across the pond?

The answer is an emphatic NO. Many say the Stanley Cup is the greatest trophy in

sports, I say it's the claret jug (the Ryder Cup would be my pick for second).


It will be hard to top last years Open Championship, I don't think anyone in the media

(or anyone anywhere) picked Phil before his Scottish Open victory at Castle Stuart

last year, or even after it. I certainly didn't forecast it, but after interviewing Dave

Pelz a couple of times now, and discussing with him how Phil has learned and

embraced how to play Links Golf, it does appear that Lefty will be a serious

contender to win another jug - atleast for a few more years. Youth does not seem

to be a pre-requisite to win an Open . . . just another reason to love this

championship. Length means very little to be successful in links golf, it takes guts,

creativity, a good atitude, experience, and a few good bounces. Tom Watson

showed us that 5 years ago, he was one decent bounce from winning the jug at age

59.

 

This might be the first year that Tiger isn't the favorite on a venue that he has won

on in the past. Because of lack of reps and form, count TW out. Phil's putting isn't

where it was last year, count him out. Justin Rose is the hot hand, but links tends to

reward creative players, Rose is more technician - a ball striking machine.

He did win on the links of Royal Aberdeen last week, but 3 in a row . . . nah.

 

World No.1 Adam Scott is also a ball striking virtuoso, but his recent work on his

shortgame and extra time put in at Royal Liverpool this week make him one of our

picks to get the job done. His near miss two years ago at Royal Lytham (where he

ballooned on the closing holes to a final round 75) still motivates him.

 

World No.2 Henrik Stenson remains a threat, but has cooled off since last years

second half. Rory continues to be inconsistent, and Hoylake rewards consistency

not flashes of brilliance - he's out.

 

Other than Adam Scott, my other two picks to contend on Sunday are slightly under

the radar. World No.9 Sergio Garcia seems to have everything moving in the right

direction, and at just 34 years old, he is in his golfing prime. The setup should favor

a creative shot maker like the Spaniard. Although he's my pick to finish as runner

up with Scott, don't be shocked if he gets his first major this week.

 

I see Hoylake as the type of venue for an epic three man playoff, Adam Scott,

Sergio and bad weather warrior Rickie Fowler. Butch Harmon continues to work

wonders with his players and Rickie Fowler is no exception. Recent play, a love

of links golf and the ability to thrive in bad weather conditions is the reason I'm

picking Fowler to win the Open Championship. Atitude goes a long way when the

conditions turn for the worse, and that's the forecast for this week in Liverpool.