Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/17/13
Claret Jug The oldest major in the game, The Open Championship, is set to commence early Thursday morning in Scotland at Muirfield. Similar to the last few majors, it looks to be up for grabs with no distinct favorite. The only difference between this year’s tournament and majority of the past outings, is that the weather looks to be a non-factor. The forecast at Muirfield is looking to be very mild this year, but that won’t stop the course from producing what looks to be one of the most interesting and intriguing majors of the year. There are a few headliners who seem to have a knack for playing oversees. Phil Mickelson’s victory at last week’s Scottish Open marks his first ever oversees win. He seems to have good control of his game right now, and Lefty seems more comfortable on foreign soil than in recent memory. He is one of the few players who will have been in Scotland for two weeks or more leading up to the Open. Tiger Woods is fresh off his elbow injury and claims to be doing well, but his reassurance before majors has yet to blossom in five years. Yes, he does have four victories on the season, which must be respected and taken into account, but it is pure speculation as to whether or not he will be a solid contender this week. I’m looking more so at other players who have thrived on links courses, but haven’t closed the door yet on an Open Championship. Keep a close eye on the likes of Adam Scott, who finally got the major monkey off his back at this year’s Masters, and bogeyed the last four holes of last year’s Open Championship to lose the tournament to Ernie Els by one stroke. The power-hitting American, Dustin Johnson, thrives in the wind and has shown a love for this style of golf. He has been inconsistent as of late, but in the 2012 and 2011 Opens he was T9 and T2, respectively. Lastly, I’m very intrigued to see if a few of the foreign bombers who enjoy success on links courses will be able to withstand the pressure of a major and finally breakthrough for a win. It would be a surprise to not see Henrik Stenson and Nicolas Colsaerts high up on the leaderboard heading into the weekend. Stenson has two T3′s in the last four Open Championships, while Colsaerts, who leads the PGA Tour in driving distance, has racked up six Top 10s this year and finished T7 at last year’s Open. We are sure to be in for a treat with this year’s Open Championship with the amount of talent and star power this tournament is offering. I wouldn’t be so quick to assume the weather will be favorable the entire week, but unfortunately it’s looking to be that way. One common attribute of links golf, or major championship golf for that matter is that there must be strict attention paid to detail. There will be drives hitting the fairways like concrete and rolling for 90 yards, bringing into account the numerous little devils they call sandtraps. There will be putts from 30 yards off the green, and the player’s patience will be tested. All things taken into account, players must be sure to play by the old Scottish saying about paying attention to the little things, “Look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves.”
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