The 2023 Open Championship
A year after Cam Smith snatched the coveted Claret Jug from golf’s golden boy and now Scottish Open champ, Rory McIlroy, many things have changed, but many remain the same. The PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s shock merger is, ugh, pending? Who knows. Rory lurked at LACC and is due some good fortune after several more near major misses. Cam just won on LIV and said earlier today how desperately he wants to let the bubbly flow once again from the Jug (although I worry about his wayward drives here, something of no concern at St. Andrews last year). World numbah one Scottie Scheffler may look like Fred Astaire on the tee box, but he’s still striking the ball like Hogan reincarnated this season, so to see him walk away with his second major after perpetual lurking nearly every time he teed it up this season, would be a surprise to none. Oh and what about Rahmbo? He’s been MIA of late despite a torrid start to the season in Augusta and elsewhere, but as they say, beware the sleeping giant…
BFFs Patrick Cantlay and The X-Man have continued their strong play, but both still yearn for a major, and thus I’ll have to see it first before going full bore hammerabi on either. Good Boy Viktor Hovland won in epic fashion at The Memorial and is now truly ready to take the next step as well. He almost did it last year, and has lurked at pretty much every big event since. Oh and it’s a major so Brooks Koepka, and especially an Open so Jordan Spieth, floppy wrist and all. And yet, I find myself looking more closely at former Open champ Collin Morikawabunga based on his recent return to form. It would have been preferable for him to tee it up at the Renaissance Club, but for a positional course off the tee, there may be no one better suited to the test.
Tricky Rickie Fowler finally won the Rocket Mortgage in a dramatic playoff after years of toiling (thanks Uncle Butchie), and after lurking deep into the weekend at the US Open, I expect the runner up of the 2014 Open played here, to be right there again when the sun sets on the coast Sunday evening…The winner of the aforementioned prior major, Wyndham Clark seems comfortable as ever on the Renaissance Club links, and with a burst of confidence after his breakthrough victory at LACC, he may be my favorite T10 value on the board. Same goes for Mighty Max Homa who is still looking to improve his record in majors, and on links courses, but for the right price, he could be this week’s diamond in the fescue. Cam “The Hudson Hammer” Young made a valiant effort for last year’s trophy culminating in an epic drive of the iconic 18th at St. Andrews, and although still winless despite more than a handful of runner-ups, we’ve seen a recent return to form this Summer for the neophyte, and thus he can’t be counted out either.
A few more contenders before we take a peek at some of the Dark Hawses…This may be one of the last serious chances Adam “The Jawline” Scott has to bag that elusive second major. Much like Viktor he boggled a Par 5 for an epic snowman on Thursday in Scotland, so that can be easily written off based on his T5 here last time, and overall return to form this season. It doesn’t hurt having Stevie Dubs on the bag either. And then of course there’s golf’s version of Liverpool’s Fab Four: Tommy Fleetwood Mac/The Mad Hatton/Fitzy/JRose all are due to win an Open (or a second) so sprinkle as you wish, although I would give Tommy and Tyrell the clear edge, especially after their performance in the Scottish.
Now in terms of guys a bit further down the board ($7K and below on Draftkings and around 50-1 and up in the outright market), here are some other names I like…
HUMPDAY HAMMERS (Top Value Plays): Talor The Goochmeister, Adam “The Jawline” Scott, Cousin Denny McCarthy, Brian The Harmanator, Ryan The Fox, Bobby Return of the Mac, and MWLee.
SICKO SPECIALS (High-Risk, High-reward, low-price): Paddy Harrington, Handsome Victor Perez, JT The Postman, King Henrik Stenson, Daniel Hillier, and Magical Marcel Siem.
Who will hoist the Claret Jug?
Dark Hawse: King Henrik
This may be my last blog for a while as I prepare to tie the knot in the coming weeks, so to all the loyal followers of Blatant Golf, a sincere and heartfelt thank you to those who have supported us over the past three seasons. Now remember, as Great Uncle Harvey taught us, TAKE DEAD AIM, and B.O.L!
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