2013 British Open Preview, Picks + Predictions Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #TheOpen

Ah yes, it’s here. THE (British) Open Championship. A quick side note that it always used to bug me when Cris Carter and other ethnocentric former Ohio State University grads would arrogantly announce, “THE Ohio State University” when naming their alma matter during their intros on Monday Night Football games; however, in the case of the The Open Championship, “THE” seems appropriate.

This year’s Open heads to Muirfield, where the list of past champions is absurdly awesome.  Check this out, since 1959 here are your victors: Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo (twice) and Ernie Els.  As we said here in our British Open betting odds post, that’s not exactly your Todd Hamiltons, Paul Lawries and Ben Curtises!

The rough is brutally thick and lush following some heavy spring rains, but the course is playing firm and fast as an Open should after some recent warm temps and dry weather.

So, before we waste too much time mentally prepping for that 4:59am EST alarm each day this week, let’s get onto some picks:

LOCKZILLAS: (Last week: Stricker t-10th, de Jonge t-54th)

Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar
– Somehow the #2 player in the FedEx Cup standings and the #6 player in the OWGR comes in quietly this week.  Following a solo 2nd at Colonial and a victory at the Memorial, Kuchar cooled a bit with a t-28th at the U.S. Open at Merion.  Since then, Matty has taken a mid-season breather, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook him this week.  Kuchar finished t-9th at the Open last year and has the ideal game for links golf- a powerful low spinning ball flight along with being a great short putter.  Kuch is an absolute lock top 10 or better pick this week.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
– Wait Joel, you’re the biggest anti-Tiger fan out there?  Why on Earth are you picking El Tigre this week?  Particularly coming off a painful elbow injury? All good points there Mr alter-ego, but even though I hate to say it, I think Tiger picks up major #15 this week.  Think about it for a second, he’s been walking inside the ropes with lady friend Ms. Lindsey Vonn, which is definitely relaxing him, he’s clearly been doing some serious rehab on that elbow of his and I believe that the British Open fits Tiger 3.0 (or 4.0) or whatever the hell number swing we’re on now better than any other major.  Pistol punch nuked 5-woods and holdy butter cut fades all week just scream Tiger’s name this week.  Hell, if it wasn’t for just one angry bunker on Sunday last year, Tiger very well may have stolen that Claret Jug from Ernie’s grasp (Tiger finished t-3rd last year).  Oh yeah, and he’s already won 4 times this year folks.  As much as I hate to say it, it’s Tiger’s week. Hello #15.

Also like Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia this week.

SEMI-FLIERS: (Last week: Stallings MC, Stanley MC)

Luke Donald
Luke Donald
– I majorly fancied Luke’s chances at Merion, only to be on the wrong Englishman as a first time major winner (Justin Rose); however, Luke was right there with a chance to win on Sunday and save for a rough front nine in the final round, played solidly all week.  He has to be extra motivated seeing his fellow countryman and good pal Rose breakthrough and win, and Luke is just too damn talented to not win a major sooner than later.

Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry
– Call it a major hunch, but I think Shane Lowry will make some noise this week.  I can already picture the news flash of Lowry stealing the headlines from struggling fellow Irish countryman Rory McIlroy at the Open.  Shane has two top 12s in his past four starts on the Euro Tour and has the game to hang around on Sunday at the Open.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUSTS: (Last week: Howell III t-33rd, Spieth 1st)

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
– It’s becoming all too easy to bash the young Irish lad, but I feel like the bottom will really drop out on Rory this week.  Fast, firm conditions coupled with some ultra-thick fescue rough will have him searching all about for those dimpled Nike swooshes of his all across the Muirfield lot.  It’s yet another weekend off for the two-time major champ.

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell
– Going to surprise some with this pick here, as Graeme seemingly comes in with some serious momentum following his Euro Tour victory in Paris from two weeks ago.  As good as Graeme is when he’s on, he’s on the full opposite side of the spectrum when he’s off, as that whippy, unpredictable swing of his can send those Srixons flying in some wildly offline directions.  Case in point, Graeme won at Harbour Town, then missed the cut at the PLAYERS Championship and at the U.S. Open.  His win in Paris will be followed by another weekend off at the Open, making him 3/3 with missed cuts in majors this season.

Also expect Keegan Bradley and his flat-billed hat to have the weekend off this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK: (Last week: Matteson t-27th)

Marcel Siem
Marcel Siem
– With apologies to Miguel Angel Jimenez, the most interesting ponytail in the world now belongs to Marcel Siem.  This unheralded German has a victory and two other top 10s on the Euro Tour this year, one of which came at last week’s Scottish Open.  Good form and a German ponytail make him our Driver-off-the-Deck Bold play of The Open week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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