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The Open

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  • #4674
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    Tomorrow the 136th Open Championship kicks-off at Carnoustie. Much has been talked about the condition of the 7,400 yard plus monster after the 1999 Championship, and I just hope that the R&A have still set a stern test and not overly-dumbed down the course to bow to the pressure of PGA Tour golfers used to their own target golf.
    The course is playing long and soft making distance, as well as the pre-requisite accuracy, a necessity off the tee. Weather forecasts also suggest calm, overcast conditions for the whole week, with a little breeze getting up on Sunday. Perhaps a classic links course, but it looks as though the Championship will be played in fairly non links-like conditions.

    In recent years, Tiger Woods has made a habit of featuring in Majors without actually winning them, something that was seldom the case in earlier years (prior to the 2002 USPGA, 8 of his 11 Major top-5s were wins, since then it has been 4 out of 11). I think it’s inevitable that he will make the frame again, as his last 2 Opens have proved that he is extremely capable on the seaside courses. However, at around 3-1 in the outright market, it is hard to find any value in him, so he is passed over as a betting opportunity.

    Phil Mickelson showed us by virtue of his wayward driver last Sunday just why he has fallen short in so many US Opens. Carnoustie will no doubt catch him out more than once with similar tee play, so he is also omitted.

    Jim Furyk would have been a serious consideration, but for the length of the course. At 7,412 yards and probably the softest the fairways seen in an Open for many years, Gentleman Jim will probably have to man-up too much to mount a serious challenge. Also, his record in this old Championship since the turn of the millenium is frankly dire for such a consistent performer as Mr Furyk. T-41 in 2000, followed by 5 missed cuts on the hop before a 4th placed finish last year. Another pass.

    Vijay Singh is playing well this year, although he’s been a bit of a dark horse here, keeping a low profile. No money on him ante-post, but I’ll be keeping an eye out in-play.

    Will Monty win?

    Well, I want Monty to win any Major like I wanted Clan Royal to win a National, but unfortunately there’s probably still more chance of the later! Over the course of a 72-hole Major Championship, Monty will almost certainly succumb to one of his trademark foul moods at some point. Unless he’s in a position by that time where his home crowd can pull him through, then it’s game over I’m afraid.

    Will A European win?

    Personally, I can see the (frankly baffling) Majorless streak of European golfers continuing, simply for the reason that I can’t see any European who fits the bill this week. Harrington’s big-game form is weak, Donald is most likely too short, Casey too erratic, Rose isn’t mentally tough enough in my opinion (especially playing with Tiger on the first two rounds), and Garcia needs to start putting with his driver in order to feature!

    Personally, I’ve made three bets (all courtesy of BetFair):

    Ernie Els to finish in the top 5 @ 3.9:
    There has been a raging debate in my family since last year about this man. My brother is a staunch believer than Mr Els’s Major-winning days are over. I was cynical at first, but I’m starting to come around to his way of thinking based on this year. However, after last week I’m giving The Big Easy one last chance. At Loch Lomond, he tamed the fairways with his new Callaway driver. See his drive at the 14th on day 4 as evidence of his current confidence and accuracy with the big stick. I wasn’t convinced with his putting, and thought it possibly cost him the title, but he finished by training a 40-footer at the 72nd hole. That always gives you a little confidence boost going into the next round. Also, he’s probably the only man in the field with positive memories of Carnoustie in 1999, as his first child had just been born at that time, and as Els admitted last week "I didn’t notice [the conditions], I was walking on a cloud at the time". If he’s going to feature in Majors again, he really should be going close this week.

    Stuart Appleby to be Top Australian @ 7.6.
    Appleby has been second in an Open Championship before (in 2002 to Els), and is known for his great driving, which I think will be the key to cracking Carnoustie. A recent bold show at the AT&T National confirms that he is on form, and with Adam Scott having a shaky Open record to say the least and Geoff Ogilvy being often no more than annoyingly consistent, 7.6 Appleby to beat his compatriots represents great value in my eyes.

    Carl Petterson in the ‘Heavyweights’ Group @ 2.98.
    An unusual bet, but allow me to explain. The hilariously-titled ‘Heavyweights’ group consists of: Colin Montgomerie, Carl Petterson, John Daly, Mark Calcavecchia & Kevin Stadler. The last three can be ruled out by most, with only Calcavecchia being a mild danger. This leaves me with a bet at just under 2-1 that Monty will repeat his Loch Lomond form. With my opinion on the Scotsman’s temperament, I think that represents more than fair value. Petterson finished in the top 5 in America last week despite a very slow 71 on Saturday, and has made the top-20 in his last three starts, one of which was the US Open. He also boasts a top-10 from Hoylake last year. I think this form makes him more than competitive in this particular company.

    • Total Posts 1008

    Excellent summary Friggo and you should make a good journalist if you ever think of being one. The Carnoustie course might not be as difficult as predicted which could mess a lot of ante-post bets up!

    Your bet regarding Petterson makes a lot of sense imo.

    I don’t think Tiger will win the Open – he’s not been playing to his best recently and probably has other things on his mind at the moment but he is in a confident mood and can never be written off but his odds are no value anyway imo. Mickelson was backed to win following his performance in the Scottish Open but his previous performances at the Opens have been nothing special and I was not impressed with his final round at Loch Lomond. Els may do well and I can understand why you like his top 5 chances.

    I have bet on Adam Scott because I think he is good enough to win a major and hopeful this one will be it. He has not played well in his recent tournaments but is the type of player that can put in a good performance from nowhere.
    Sergio Garcia is another player I’ve bet on mainly because of his previous record in the Open. I’m not sure the tough Carnoustie course will suit him but he does seem to save some of his best performances for this tournament.

    The americans have quite a good record of winning the Open and I have therefore bet on 3 of them.

    Jim Furyk has played some good golf this year so far without winning and he loves tough courses like Carnoustie and has previously won the US Open ( always held on difficult courses ) and finished 2nd this year. An accurate hitter of the ball and has lots of experience. Presently ranked number two in the world and the length of the course does not matter imo.
    A young american player with a chance is Sean O’Hair who has been in reasonably good form on the pga tour and showed how good he can be in the Players when contending the lead in the final round with Mickelson. A long hitter who is also accurate and has the game to win if coping with the pressure and getting his confidence going with the putter.
    Steve Stricker is a consistent american who is a bit of a ‘nearly man’ and has a good record in the US Opens without winning. Finished 13th there this year and was runner up in his last tournament and also finished 2nd ( to Tiger ) at the Wachovia which is a difficult course.
    Other players that might do well are the young australian Baddeley who played well in this year’s US Open for a long time and is a good putter, Richard Sterne who is having a good season on the Euro tour and the americans Stewart Cink and David Toms have a chance.
    Good luck

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