2018 British Open: What to Expect & Who Will Win
When most people think of bagpipes and kilts they think of the faraway land of Scotland. With that said, it is a bucket list item for most people. For us golfers; however, Scotland reminds us of the birthplace of the sport we all love and cherish: golf. Once again, this year, from July 19th– July 22nd, the eyes and hearts of the golf world will ascend to the place where it all began, Scotland, for the third major of the year, The Open Championship.
Entering Scotland’s Famed “Car-Nasty” Golf Course
This will be the 147th Open championship, which began way back in the year 1860 at the Prestwick golf club. The Open Championship has always been held in the UK and it is the only major championship in golf the is played outside of the United States of America. This year, however, the Open championship will be held at the famed Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland. This golf course is infamous in the eyes of golfers simply because of its one of a kind layout. Jack Nicklaus himself calls Carnoustie the toughest golf course that the open can be played at, and he is not mistaken. This golf course is so challenging that, in fact, it has gained the nickname car-nasty, and there are many reasons for this.
One of the reasons is the golf course’s plentiful bunkers. Get this! There are over 100 different bunkers – in total, each hole has a minimum of one. In addition to having a ton of bunkers, car-nasty, also has a ton of hidden bunkers that are unseen. The second thing that makes this famed golf course so difficult is the burn that runs through the entirety of it. For those of you who may not know what a burn is, it is essentially the Scottish word for a creek. What makes burns more difficult than your typical water hazard is that they snake around the golf course and can appear just about anywhere. Third, and definitely not the final reason that makes the golf course so difficult, is that the wind gusts can reach near hurricane levels. There have been a handful of times when gusts on the course have been measured at over 60 miles per hour on a blustery day!
I hope I haven’t frightened you away from watching this championship, as you can see from the above, there will be plenty of drama unfolding as the players march their way across this golf course over four days.
So, what can we expect to see at the 2018 British Open Championship at Carnoustie?
First, as with every Open Championship, we can expect to find a lot of very fast greens. In preparation for major championships, groundskeepers typically have a different goal in mind than that of a typical tournament. At most golf courses around the world, you will find lush blades of green grass throughout the course; however, at Carnoustie, the groundskeepers have been hard at work not watering the greens in an effort to make them fast. When greens are this fast, it challenges the player to make different shots than normal. For example, if, on a typical tournament course, you find yourself 100 yards away from the hole, you would be able to hit a high shot and stick it right on the green. At Carnoustie, however, you will see that it is nearly impossible to stick a ball that close to the hole as it will run an additional 15 yards due to the high speeds.
Additionally, the keepers have also been allowing the grass in the rough areas to grow higher than normal. This will punish a player who elects to attempt to drive far down the fairway and push it left or right. The rough will be so high that it will prove almost impossible to hit the ball more than 20 yards.
The golfer who can win the Open Championship must possess a strong set of all around polished golf skills as well as the ability to adapt to ever-changing conditions. The golfer must be able to swallow his pride and hit an iron off the tee instead of going with the driver on every hole. Most importantly, the golfer who will win this major will have to be a person who is able to shrug off small annoyances and recover from errant shots. Most major winners are repeat winners for these simple reasons.
So, who will claim the title of 2018 Open Championship winner?
British Open Predictions
How could he not be everyone’s number 1 pick? He is currently number 1 in the world and has been for quite a while. Dustin not only possesses the strength of an ox, capable of blasting the ball over 400 yards, he also has the touch of an angel around the greens. Dustin is the only player in the field with a game well-rounded enough to compete on every style of a golf course at every difficulty level. Also, Dustin held the 54 hole lead at the U.S Open this year and, due to the untimely wind and green changes, he lost. Dustin will be coming to The Open Championship with a full head of steam ready to claim his next major. The only downside is that Dustin only has won one single major in his whole career.
Envisioned by many as the next Tiger Woods, Spieth already has three major wins under his belt and is the defending champion of this event from last year. So, why isn’t Spieth ahead of Dustin on my list? Well recently, Jordan has been struggling in a huge way with his putter. Currently, Jordan ranks 140 on the PGA tour in average putting, that statistic alone should be worrisome. If Spieth can not make his putter work for him, he will not make the cut.
This man is not a man at all, he is a golf machine and, if anybody can pull off a victory out of nowhere, it is him! Tiger Woods has completely shocked all of the golf world by not only returning to golf after a spinal fusion but also having the fastest swing on the tour this year, after the surgery! That would be like Michael Jordan returning to basketball at the age of forty after having a broken leg and jumping higher than anyone else! The one aspect of Tiger’s game currently holding him back from winning another major and breaking his decade-long drought is that all aspects of his game are not coming together in one tournament. There are plenty of times when one or two things work together such as; driving and chipping or putting and irons but never all together. If Tiger can get all the facets of his game blended and working together he will have a real shot to win.
The Greatest Loss in the History of Golf
As The Open Championship nears, I would like to recount the story of the greatest loss ever in the history of golf. Any expert golfers should know this story precisely. This story, in short, will offer really what is in store if you watch The Open. The setting is something like this: Carnoustie golf course, Open Championship, and the year is 1999. The man on the tee-box is one and only, Jean Van de Velde. He is on the final hole of the 72-hole Championship holding a three-shot lead.
All he needs to do to become the first French champion since 1902 is score a double bogey six. Of course, Jean will lay up and take an iron out of the bag and avoid trouble, right? Wrong he takes a driver and hits it into the rough. Now, for sure, Jean will hit a short pitch back to the fairway and save his par, right? Wrong again, Jean hits the ball even deeper into the rough. Being unable to hit out of such thick rough, Jean’s next shot finds the water, to which Jean, already reeling from the previous shot, takes off his shoes and socks, instead of taking the drop penalty, and attempts to hit the ball from the water. Intelligence finally prevails and Jean takes a drop shot and hit the ball into the sand and finishes the hole with a seven, forcing a playoff.
Jean promptly loses the playoff and the rest is history.