It’s time for major championship number three, and with this Jordan Spieth travels to St. Andrews in hopes of capturing his third major championship of the year. Many criticized his decision to go out and play in the John Deere last week, but he made it difficult to argue when he went out and won the event. Spieth is seeking to become only the second player in history to win the first three majors of the season. The only other individual was Ben Hogan back in 1953.
It has been well documented that Rory McIlroy will not be playing this week after a serious ankle injury forced him to pull out of the event. With his absence, not only will Rory not be able to defend his Open Championship title, but also his world number one ranking. If Spieth does in fact manage to pull off a win at St. Andrews, he will also sit atop the world golf rankings. While it would be unfortunate if it occurred with Rory on the sidelines, nothing can be taken away from Spieth. His play this season has been nothing short of spectacular and incredibly exciting to watch.
The greens are always a factor at the home of golf - St. Andrews, and it is expected that the players will be experiencing a different look on them. Already quite moist, rain is expected to play a factor throughout the week meaning the greens will likely be much softer than the players are accustomed to seeing them. Tiger Woods arrived last week and was quite vocal on how surprised he was by their softness. He made a point to discuss how he had never had to fix ball marks on these greens in the past due to their firmness. Here are a look at players to watch this week.
Jordan Spieth - Has very little experience at St. Andrews, but has incredible confidence going into the week. Has won four times on Tour this season, including last week’s John Deere classic. Not to mention the first two majors of the season. Looking to keep his major streak alive.
Adam Scott - With a lurking sense of disapointment dating back to 2012, where he bogeyed his final four holes to lose by one to Ernie Els, Adam Scott is on a path that could see him capture his second major title. His track record definitely allows the argument to be made that he is on the verge of winning this event. The confidence that comes from having now won a major championship (2013 Masters) also helps considerably. Finished T5 in 2014, T3 in 2013 and T25 in 2011.
Dustin Johnson - Runner-up in 2011 and is looking to put behind him past major disappointments, including those a few weeks ago at Chambers Bay. Comments made in a press conference this week lead one to believe that he is also playing with some extra passion. If he can channel that emotion positively, he should be difficult to beat.
Rickie Fowler - Has finished in the top-5 twice in the Open Championship (2011 & 2014). Coming off impressive wins at The Players, and last week at the Scottish Open. This most recent win on a links style track is a very good sign for him going into this week.
Brandt Snedeker - Started playing links golf much more successfully since adopting the strategy of playing to hit the greens and letting his putter do the work. This is a course where those who can manage the tricky putting surfaces are the ones to beat, meaning St. Andrews plays to his strengths.
Louis Oosthuizen - Winner of the Open Championship when it was last played at St. Andrews in 2010. Played well at Chambers Bay finishing T2.
Phil Mickelson - Once said this was a tournament he wasn’t sure he could win. Proved that wrong in 2013. And has not been a “one hit wonder” at this event posting T23 in 2014, and T2 in 2011. T31 last week at Scottish Open.
Zach Johnson - Has not missed a cut in an Open Championship since 2006, and has finished inside the top-10 twice in last three years (2012 & 2013). Playing solid golf after a runner-up finish last week at the John Deere. Does not rank statistically strong with the putter - ranking 136 on Tour in strokes gained putting.
Jason Day - Best finish is T30 in four attempts in The Open Championship, and has never managed to shoot in the 60’s. Despite these stats, he continues to consistently compete in majors. I wouldn’t recommend him as a top fantasy pick, but I wouldn’t ignore him either.
Henrik Stenson - Has finished in the top-3, three times since 2008. Statistically strong putter this season, ranking 14th in strokes gained putting.
Raphael Jacquelin - Finished one shot back from Rickie Fowler in last week’s Scottish Open. Finished 8th in 2011 and 13th in 2001. Yes, 2001 was a long time ago, but he is coming into the event playing well, and has performed well on this stage in the past.
Ben Martin - T17 at Scottish Open last week, and finished T26 in his debut at the Open Championship last year.
Brooks Koepka - Finished T18 at Chambers Bay and T22 at last week’s Scottish Open. This is his third trip to the Open Championship and he has shown that he is learning to compete in links style golf.
One lucky person will become a millionaire this week as they compete in the DraftKings fantasy competition. One million dollars is up for grabs, and below are the two teams that I am excited to field.
Jordan Spieth - $12,000
Hideki Matsuyama - $8,500
Lee Westwood - $8,000
Jim Furyk - $7,700
Ryan Moore - $7,200
Raphael Jacquelin - $6,200
Jordan Spieth - $12,000
Adam Scott - $10,700
Zach Johnson - $7,400
Ben Martin - $6,800
Russell Henley - $6,700
David Hearn - $6,200
My “million dollar picks” are based off of players who have performed well in past Open Championships, but have also been playing decent golf lately. Spieth has made both teams for the fact that he has so much motivation, combined with confidence, going into this week. I also spent quite a bit of money on Adam Scott. He has performed so well in The Open the last few years that it is hard to believe that he won’t do well this week.
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About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.
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