The British Open (for those who confuse the Open with the Open) returns to Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) for the first time since 2014 when Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler finished 1-2. Nostalgia? Perhaps. With both players winning in the last month, no doubt they both will be somewhere on everyone’s betting slip.
For the first time ever, a LIV Golfer, Skinny ‘Stache Smith (who won last year at the Open played at St Andrews) is a defending Major champion. He seems to be coming into the championship a bit on the cocky side saying, “I told my mates we would be able to drink from the Claret Jug again in about a week.” We love the showmanship and his passion as he reportedly held back tears giving the trophy back to the R&A. Side question: When he has to give some of his LIV money to the PGA Tour to regain membership, will he also shed a tear. We all know that losing money can make a grown man cry. But cry as much as having to hand back the Claret Jug? Probably not as much for Cam because LIV made him a gazillionaire.
Back to the Open Championship…
So, what does it take to win at Royal Liverpool? A big driver? Maybe not. Tiger only used his big stick ONCE when he became Champion Golfer of the Year here in 2006.
Mother Nature is sure to play a monumental role in deciding the outcome. Will the wind blow and rain fall? Ya know, good ole fashion UK weather. If it does, a premium will be put on those who can drive it well in the wind (straight into a stiffy with the long shaft, and dealing with nasty left-to-right gusts).
The biggest factor could be the luck of the draw – whether you play early/late vs. late/early on Thursday and Friday. Supposedly, Justin Thomas has bad luck and usually gets the worse draw in majors not named “PGA Championship.”
The course isn’t as dry as it has been in the past, but there’s still time for it dry out a little more. The heat across the globe is scorching, but not so much in NW England where Liverpool falls on the map. It’ll certainly play faster and firmer than nearly all US-based PGA Tour courses – but the question is just how fast and firm. Our guess: the course will play gettable. It’s been raining leading up to Thursday. If Hoylake’s greens are holding, darts are going to be thrown by the best in the world.
As a reminder the pool picks are broken up as follows: 2 players from the Top 10, 2 from 11-20, 2 players from 21-30, and then 2 from remaining field:
Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm
Cameron Young, Tyrrell Hatton
Tommy Fleetwood, Tom Kim
Corey Conners, Russell Henley
Our favorite bet this week to win is Tommy Fleetwood (+2500). Is his Major moment finally here? Possibly. Fleetwood has been playing some inspired golf in 2023, basically, a year of renaissance for the Englishman. Coming off a Top 5 finish at the U.S. Open and six Top 10s this season, we like those odds for him to hoist the Claret Jug come Sunday.
For the gambling feens, here are a handful of additional bets we’ll be monitoring:
- To Win Outright
- Tyrrell Hatton (+8000)
- Scottie Scheffler (+900)
- Xander Schauffele (+2200)
- To Finish Top 10
- Brooks Koepka (+200)
- Max Homa (+450)
- Keegan Bradley (+750)
- Any player to shoot 59 of lower (any round)
- Yes (+15000)
Finally, if you’re a DFS junkie, here is a roster one of our degenerates entered into more than a few contests. Looks like he is riding the hottest horses in the field, or at least a batch of guys who have each lifted Big-A Trophies recently sans McCarthy, who at least lost the playoff to Hovland at The Memorial. Not the riskiest of rosters, but good luck to him nonetheless.
Cover Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super