I don’t know why we have a U.S. Open named the U.S. Open, but they re-named the British Open “The Open.” There’s so many “Opens” at this point, I’m not sure why the PGA is trying to further confuse us, but here we are.
For now, “The Open” is being played this year at Royal St. George’s for the first time since 2011. The Open, like most of the other major tournaments, rotates venues each year all over Great Britain. With the exception of Darren Clarke in 2011, only prominent players seem to win this tournament each year. Located in Kent, England, the course is a Links-style course that plays narrow and lumpy, with plenty of sand and large greens. It is not a course that benefits big hitters off the tee. Perhaps the biggest factor this week will be the wind. It has been said this is a course which is always windy. That will play a big factor with shot trajectories and accuracy off the tee. It will factor so much so, that we should see plenty of irons off the tee this week, disturbing the numbers for Shots Gained: Off the Tee.
Last week, we had five picks finish inside the Top-40, but only one cash at the finishing position we suggested (Maverick McNealy) Steve Stricker missed a cash by one spot and the rest finished only a few spots each outside a cash. In many ways, it was a punch in the gut. When you have one or two picks make the cut but miss the cash by a few strokes (or just one), it’s not fun. When you have four in one week, it’s torture. Now, we sit at -9.58 units on the season and are poised to make it up this week at Royal St. George’s.
This week, we are going aggressive and picking just one inside the Top 20 and one inside the Top 10, aiming to score big with Top 5 and winner bets. We are going aggressive with the hopes of finally nailing a winner to reverse our fortunes on the year.
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green
- Prior success at British courses and windy courses
- Sand Save Percentage
- Recent form
Good luck this week!
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Middle of the Fairway – One Player to finish in the top 20
Christiaan Bezuidenhout +250
Christiaan Bezuidenhout is a name many have probably noticed on various leaderboards throughout the season. He’s a 27 year-old South African native who only has 11 PGA events to his name this season, but has made the cut in each one. Christiaan hasn’t shown much for a ceiling this season, finishing inside the Top-20 just once all season. However, the ancillary numbers indicate he should be positioned well for a strong finish. Bezuidenhout is 4th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 15th in Sand Save Percentage, and 3rd in Strokes Gained: Around the Green. He was just three strokes out from a Top-20 finish last week at the Scottish Open. Expect another cut and a close finish for him this week.
Edge of the Green – One player to finish in the top 10
Matthew Fitzpatrick +350
Matthew Fitzpatrick is having a solid season. Ranked just inside the Top 60 in the FedEx Cup standings, Fitzpatrick is fresh off a Top 5 finish at the Scottish Open. Sure, the field wasn’t great, but conditions were relatively similar to Royal St. George’s. With wind a huge factor, it’s worth noting he finished 5th at the Genesis (extreme wind) and four other Top 10 finishes on the season. Fitzpatrick is 59th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 17th in Driving Accuracy, 13th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, and 20th in Strokes Gained: Total. I love the way he played last week and feel like that could carry over to this week as well, especially given the conditions. His driving accuracy should help him avoid the many hazards present on the course.
Eagle Opportunity – Two Players to finish in the top five
Louis Oosthuizen +500 (Or +3500 to win)
Oosthuizen is a great play, in theory, this week. I’m open to playing him for both a Top 5 and a winner. He’s now 38 but ranked 13th in the FedEx Cup standings. He has three Top 2 finishes in his last five PGA events and has the advanced numbers to make his case better. Louis is 18th in Sand Save percentage, 4th in Scoring Average, 10th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 1st in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Total. This is a good week to trust the South African, especially with these course conditions.
Ian Poulter +1200
Ian Poulter is still competing at a high level. Traditionally, this tournament is won by older players (this specific course in particular). Poulter finished 4th last week at the Scottish Open and 3rd at the Charles Schwab Challenge at the end of May. Poulter has finished inside the Top 40 in his last five PGA events, not including last week’s 4th place finish. As we stated earlier, putting won’t be a major factor on this course, so Poulter’s 5th place ranking on Strokes Gained: Putting should, at the very least, not be a liability for him this week. Poulter is 20th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green and 28th in Sand Save percentage. Those two metrics should serve him well this week. With such long odds but favorable numbers, Poulter could be a huge win this week if he manages to finish inside the Top 5.
Hole-in-One – Three Players to Win
Jordan Spieth +1400
It’s been a few years now, but Spieth is looking closer to the version who was routinely winning Majors rather than the guy who was struggling mightily each week. Spieth has quietly crept back into relevance of late, finishing inside the Top 5 in six of his last 13 PGA events. Spieth won the Open back in 2017. Even though the venue was different, he has the ceiling to put this tournament in his rear view mirror. Spieth has proven himself on these Links courses and the numbers back it up. Spieth is 5th in the FedEx Cup standings, 8th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 11th in Strokes Gained: Total, 35th in Sand Save percentage, and 19th in Strokes Gained: Approach. The easy greens should help him greatly this week as Jordan is primed for a scramble in England.
Xander Schauffele +1800
X almost gave it to us a few weeks back, but ultimately slipped out of contention at the US Open, finishing 7th as we missed out on a Top 5 finish. Last week, Xander finished 10th at the Scottish Open, so he’s carrying that solid form into Royal St. George’s this week. He has six Top 5 finishes on the season and is due a victory very soon. He, like the others we have recommended this week, is backed-up well by the metrics. Xander is 4th in Sand Save Percentage, 3rd in Scoring Average, 24th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, and 3rd in Strokes Gained: Total. Though his superb putting may not make the difference this week, Xander has performed well in the wind and should be among the favorites heading into the weekend.
John Rahm +700
The last time we played Rahm, he took down the US Open, only two weeks after being forced to withdraw with a massive lead at the Memorial. Rahm finished 7th last week at the Scottish Open and is absolutely on fire this season with 11 Top 10 finishes in 18 PGA events. Rahm is not the ideal candidate for this course (55th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green and 82nd in Sand Save percentage), but he is 1st in Strokes Gained: Total, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. His relatively weak putting shouldn’t me much of an issue this week as long as he can avoid the hazards and keep his fire going strong.