Expert Picks for The Open Championship
We may be on him too late, we may come to view DJ as the worst mistake of this year's British Open rankings, but there is reason for doubt and concern. Johnson has failed in several opportunities against the game's best this season. With that said, his bag is on the rebound, he has played well at this event on other tracks over recent memory, and Johnson appears primed to remind he is one of the best rising stars in the game. It's a wager, but we find DJ to be as tempting as ever this week.
Here is our wager of the week as we push the Italian teenage sensation as one of the best overall targets for this year's British Open. The temptation to rank him higher is there but objectivity keeps us at bay, though few who produce rankings will list him this high. However, his work over recent weeks has been very impressive (momentum few in the field share), and last season we watched Manassero get in the mix on a course of similar nature. He knows how to go low on these links and we expect he will shine this week as a result.
Justin Rose [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #5
Rose is one golfer we struggled to rank this week due to several factors of consideration. He's one of the more manic performers on the Tour, but he also owns two solid performances on the Euro Tour coming into the British and he's playing with a new sense of consistency this season. Every bone in our body suggests he outperforms this ranking of 15th, but we also wouldn't be shocked to see him fall with a missed cut. Rose is so talented he could challenge the best in the world but he has failed to do so with regularity.
Ian Poulter [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #12
Poulter hasn't been as powerful as hoped this season despite the absence of Tiger, presenting fans and fantasy owners with as much frustration as elation over the last two years. However, there are signs of improved performance to be found over his last three starts and we know he excels on the courses overseas. This is his shot at home-court advantage and, with Poulter working in the right direction, he may represent one of the best values on the board this week.
Paul Casey - World Ranking: #133
It would be fair to note Casey may be the most dangerous commodity to consider from this year's British Open field. He hasn't spent much time competing in professional golf this season and he has fallen slightly in international stature as a result. He comes off two consecutive missed cuts (also touting four MCs over his last six) and has done almost nothing to challenge the game's elite on any stage this season. With all of that said, this is one course that could inspire Casey back to elite status.
Stricker comes of his third win at the John Deere Classic in as many years, and while one would think that win provides the optimal momentum for a trip to the major, history suggests he'll be on the outside looking in. He typically struggles on the links found in golf's homeland and that, mixed with his body of work outside of the John Deere (not a great season despite the JD win), brings us to tempered expectations for Strick in this year's third major.
Y.E. Yang [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #132
We continue to swing for the fences with weapons most won't even consider, but with Yang we have a reliable, capable vet of professional golf who is currently playing at a level few can match. He's quietly enjoying another outstanding campaign in 2011 and nothing motivates him more than a major event with an elite field. Yang seems to find his best when the best are there to be fought, and this week that group may be as vulnerable as ever.
David Toms - World Ranking: #61
We follow with another major gamble, this time swinging towards a seasoned vet with undeniable momentum and history of surprise at the majors. Toms is in the midst of career rebirth, enjoying one of the best seasons you'll find on the PGA Tour. He has been hitting the British Open for so long that we struggle to believe he can't get in the mix at Royal St. George in 2011. As well as he is playing today, it would seem ridiculous to suggest he shouldn't be part of this or any other top 20.
Retief Goosen [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #122
The proper placement of Goosen in this week's rankings has been one of the most troublesome decision of the British Open experience. He was so horrific early in the year, but over recent weeks he has reversed fortune and is playing at an inspirational level coming into the third major. He is a golfer of tremendous stature and we have no doubts he could compete for a top spot on the final leaderboard at Royal St. George, but we have just enough from the negative on his 2011 resume to temper expectations.
Graeme McDowell [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #15
You are warned of bias up front as this writer tends to believe McDowell doesn't have what it takes to fight for a win at the British Open, but with that said, there is no denying his ability to compete on such an illustrious stage. He has a major trophy on his mantle already. Adding another is within his reach but, as history might suggest, McDowell has rarely put forth his best at this particular major.
Adam Scott [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #7
Based on the strength of the field and the venue, it would seem wise to question Scott's true potential for the third major of the season. However, he has certainly improved over recent seasons and there is no denying he can play on these links-style courses where he has shined in the past. This 2011 campaign has been a rebirth for Scott and we expect he'll continue to show well this week.
We came into this week anticipating Francesco would be higher on our rankings for the British Open, but he has hit a rough patch as performances of late have left fans and fantasy owners disappointed. We know he has the game to go low at the Royal St. George, but with recent struggles fresh in memory, it seems wise to suggest a role on the bench as the wise approach to his services this week.