The Open 2014 Preview 2

the open www.coral.co.uk
We promised another preview for this years Open Championship before our main one and we would never go back on our word!

PLEASE DO CHECK OUT OUR 3RD AND FINAL PREVIEW WITH ALL OUR PICKS AND SELECTIONS!!

Our 1st preview looked into everything links.  We detailed recent history on those seaside tracks and courses that have a similar feel, pinpointing a few players who have consistent finishes.  Please do have a read to help gauge more about where you should be putting your hard earned money!

As for this 2nd write-up we have looked into the trends and stats that are required to combat Hoylake and win on a links course.  Every Open Championship track has different attributes, there’s no denying that, but on the whole their similarities in terms of a classical links test make it worthwhile to look into previous years.
What trends and stats we will be looking into? 

  • Only Ben Curtis (2003) has won on debut since 1975
  • Tiger hit 85.71% of fairways (1st) and 80.56% GIR (2nd) to win in 2006 (when it was last held at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake) Therefore, we will be looking at top 75 for driving accuracy and GIR (Last 5 winners were also all inside the top 75 for GIR before the tournament)
  • Last 5 winners were inside the top 50 for scoring average – (We will look at the top 75)
  • Only 5 managed to finish Par 4s in red numbers in 2006 – Therefore we are looking at around the top 75 for par 4 performance (PGA TOUR ONLY)
  • 4 par 5’s – Tiger shot -14 and Carl Pettersson shot -16 to finish T8 – Therefore we are looking at around the top 75 par 5 performance (PGA TOUR ONLY)
  • Since 1980, every winner barring Ben Curtis, Paul Lawrie (1999), Justin Leonard (1997) have won at least 7 professional titles before winning The Open.
  • Barring Jon Daly (1995) and Ben Curtis, the past 20 champions have either won on the PGA or European Tour or finished in the top 10 at one of the two previous majors.
  • 64% of winners over the last 15 years played the course at least once before winning.
  • Only Ben Curtis in the last decade didn’t have at least 8 years experience as a pro before winning.
  • Average age of the last 10 winners is 33.8 but in the past 5 years that has increased to 38.

So, what we are going to do, similar to our Masters previews, is break down the majority of the field and see which players, if any, are left by fitting all these stats and trends.  The names you see under each title have not made that respective category and will not be considered further.

Only Ben Curtis (2003) has won on debut since 1975

Ben Curtis winning The Open. That was a genuine shock.  Photo by Nicolas Asfouri, GettyImages

Ben Curtis winning The Open. That was a genuine shock. Photo by Nicolas Asfouri, GettyImages

Patrick Reed, Brendon Todd, Chris Kirk, Chris Stroud, Brendon De Jonge, Cameron Tringale, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Every, Ben Martin, Erik Compton, Brendan Steele, Chesson Hadley, Shawn Stefani, Billy Hurley, Roberto Castro, Kristoffer Broberg

Top 75 in Driving Accuracy

PGA Tour –  Tiger Woods,Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, Hideki Matsuyama, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Paul Casey, Angel Cabrera, Louis Oosthuizen, Jimmy Walker, Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Gary Woodland, Jonas Blixt, Padraig Harrington, Harris English, Marc Leishman, Charley Hoffman, JB Holmes, Ryo Ishikawa, Brooks Koepka, Freddie Jacobson, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, Stewart Cink, Ryan Palmer, Matt Jones, Russell Henley, Scott Stallings, Jon Daly, George McNeill

European Tour –  Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Mikko Ilonen, Victor Dubuisson, Joost Luiten, Matteo Manassero, Robert Karlsson, Stephen Gallacher, Thongchai Jaidee, Padraig Harrington, Branden Grace, Shane Lowry, Chris Wood, George Coetzee, Michael Hoey, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Richard Sterne, Thorbjorn Olesen, Brooks Koepka, Pablo Larrazabal, Paul Lawrie, David Howell, Darren Clarke, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Peter Uihlein, Brett Rumford, Victor Riu

Top 75 Greens In Regulation

PGA Tour – Jason Day, Luke Donald, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Billy Horschel, John Senden, KJ Choi, Kevin Streelman

European Tour – Miguel Angel Jimenez

Top 75 Scoring Average  

PGA Tour – Nick Watney, Boo Weekley 

European Tour  – Bernd Wiesberger

Top 75 Par 4 Performance

Kevin Stadler

Top 75 Par 5 Performance

Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia

At least 7 professional titles before winning The Open

Francesco Molinari, Matthew Baldwin, Oliver Fisher, Kevin Na, Ryan Moore, Chris Stroud

At least a win on the PGA Tour or European Tour this season OR a top 10 at The Masters or US Open

Edoardo Molinari, Grégory Bourdy

64% of winners over the last 15 years played the course at least once before winning

Matt Kuchar

Only Ben Curtis in the last decade didn’t have at least 8 years experience as a pro before winning – With the average age of 33.8 as well.

Believe it or not, after all that we have got 2 names that have survived.  Two players who are certainly no mugs and unsurprisingly have a cracking links history.
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Zach Johnson (50/1 Ladbrokes)

A Major champion already, how about one more then?

A Major champion already, how about one more then? Photo by Peter Casey

Recent Open History

2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
T6 T9 T16 T76 T47 T51

Links History in the past 2 years

Won Top 5 Top 10 Top 25 Made Cut Missed Cut
1 1 3 2 3 1

Stats

Driving Accuracy GIR Scoring Average Par 4 Perform. Par 5 Perform. Pro Titles 2006 Open Finish
6th 30th 30th T45 T24 26 MC

Now 38, Zach Johnson has already had a remarkable career.  He has a major title in his locker (the 2007 Masters) and is one of the most consistent performers on tour.  Even with everything he’s achieved he has seemed to have found an extra gear again in the past year or so and to think you can get him at 50/1.  Very intriguing.

He had an amazing start to the season, winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and recording 6 top 10s.  Yes, he hasn’t been finding the 1st page of leaderboards in the past month, but at the time of writing he is just a couple of shots behind the lead at the John Deere Classic, which will give him plenty of confidence.

He is one of those players who suits the challenges of links golf.  He has consecutive top 10s in the Open and his ability to manufacture ball flight and push the ball exactly how he wants makes him a prime candidate every year.  His tee to green efficiencies and short game prowess is a really, really dangerous combination.

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Adam Scott (18/1 Coral BEST PRICE)

 

Scott was left devastated after that 2012 collapse. Oh how things have changed. Photo courtesy of Harry How/GettyImages

Scott was left devastated after that 2012 collapse. Oh how things have changed. Photo courtesy of Harry How/GettyImages

Recent Open History

2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
T3 2nd T25 T27 MC T16

Links History in the past 2 years

Won Top 5 Top 10 Top 25 Made Cut Missed Cut
3 2 1

Stats

Driving Accuracy GIR Scoring Average Par 4 Perform. Par 5 Perform. Pro Titles 2006 Open Finish
63rd 31st 4th T2 T67 27 T8

The number one golfer in the world and the most consistent player of the past 2 years or so.  If anything, since that horrendous collapse at Royal Lytham & St.Annes in 2012 to finish one shot behind Ernie Els after a 75 final day score.  He was destined for great things, no doubt, but losing that trophy seemed to really kick-start his assault to the golfing summit.  Let’s just put this into perspective.  Here is his form since that Open Championship.

Won Top 5 Top 10 Top 25 Made Cut Missed Cut
6 7 8 9 7

What an unbelievable return that is, it is no wonder he is now looking down at the rest of the world in the rankings.  It is madness how consistent that is and a lot of those top 10/5/wins are in very big tournaments as well.  Well, he rarely plays in anything but the biggest tournaments.  As for his links game, you cannot ask for anything more.  A swing that will never deviate and his abilities to manoeuvre the ball with ease make him one of the best links players.  3 of his European Tour wins have come on very traditional links tracks and his Open record is clearly impressive.  The fact he finished T8 here in 2008 as well, only add to his appeal.

What a player.

Honourable Mentions 

Graeme McDowell (33/1 Coral BEST PRICE) and Henrik Stenson (16/1 Coral, WillHill, Ladbrokes)

No need for introductions with either of these top players.  Gmac is a proven links guru and the only category he failed to tick was the par 5 performance.  BUT you have to remember this is only on the PGA Tour and he is a regular both sides of the pond.  He plays the longer holes with a plotting head because of his lack of length.  He has played here before (T61) and is in fantastic rhythm following his win in Paris a few weeks ago.

Henrik Stenson is one of the hardest workers in the game. He completely went off the boil for a couple of years, but toiled and toiled and toiled, to eventually find his rhythm and do the unthinkable – win the FedEx and Race To Dubai in the same season.  Madness.  He is such a long hitter and when he is straight, he can be untouchable.  His major form in recent seasons is outstanding as well – a worst finish of T21 in the past 6 years, which includes 3 top 5s.  He will be a top challenger once again this year.

Luke Donald (50/1 Coral BEST PRICE), Matt Kuchar (40/1 Ladbrokes), Justin Rose (12/1 WillHill) and Jim Furyk (66/1 Ladbrokes) all ticked many of the categories, but didn’t quite make it.

That’s it for our 2nd preview, as we say our final write-up with all our selections will be on the site tomorrow night (GMT).  Happy World Cup Final Day. 

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4 thoughts on “The Open 2014 Preview 2

  1. Pingback: The Open 2014 Preview One | DownThe18th

  2. Hi, excellent post as usual. You were getting me all exited there, my 3 year project since last year is getting W Simpson to win The Open. This is year 2 now so I thought his name was going to pop up alongside ZJ but regardless i am still pumping more money on as i write. Faldo did mention the other week a requisite of playing the low draw around Hoylake as being a big plus. Anyone spring to mind who can do this? All the best and Good Luck Hugh

    Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 20:17:13 +0000 To: hughs65@hotmail.com

    • Hi Hugh,

      Thankyou for the kind words, we have actually had Webb in our minds for a long time as well (not 3 years mind you!) But he is going amongst our final picks, mainly because we felt at 80s he represented fair value!

      As for that low draw, we presume Faldo would have said that because of the 7 dog-legs that the course has and that is why we have avoided left-handers. But players like Stenson, Scott, Gmac, DJ etc have that low stinger in the armoury for sure. To be honest, for us most top players do!

  3. Pingback: The Open Championship 2014 Final Preview | DownThe18th

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