It’s extremely early to look forward like this, but since the US Open is now in the past, it is time to look forward to The Open Championship. Royal Birkdale is the site of the 146th Open Championship this year, which last hosted the Open in 2008 when Padraig Harrington would win at +3 over. After watching the US Open at Erin Hills for the past week, the course we will see play out in July at Royal Birkdale, may end up looking like more of the same from a visual standpoint. And if the weather is right, Birkdale will play much more like A US Open than what the Erin Hills version did.
Royal Birkdale has hosted the Open Championship for what will be now the 10th time. The course itself has been very kind to Americans over the years. The nine appearances Birkdale has made as an Open Championship Host, we have seen 5 Americans take the Claret Jug. The Most recent at Birkdale was Mark O’Meara in 1998.
At 7200 yards, the par is and has been 70 for the Championship for years and as Erin Hills this past week tried to count on, the Open Championship normally always delivers rough weather which pushes Birkdale to tilt. The tight fairways that wind through the tall sand dunes throughout, make for a gorgeous layout and difficult test for its competitors. In 2008, the yardage crept up to just under 7200 yards which is the longest it has every played in history but will play at 7156 this year as the site states.
The lowest score ever at Birkdale came from Camila Villegas when he logged at 65 in 2008.
These will be some of the tightest fairways the players have played this season. Normally, coming into an Open Championship, the players have had to rebound from a grueling US Open layout. This year, Royal Birkdale will provide the Players what will be their stiffest test of the year in Golf.
Early thoughts on who and what will playout at the Open at this point could be anyones guess. We have had two first time winners of Major Championships in Garcia and Koepka. Sergio played fairly well this week and may in fact have the game to double up at Birkdale.
If we take a look at European players that have not won a major a couple emerge from that pack. One of which emerged this past week could give Birkdale a run and that is Tommy Fleetwood. Although, if the winds are blowing like they normally are, he will need to be stellar from the tee. John Rahm, who missed the cut at Erin Hills, will be another player that needs to be accurate in order to compete. We have seen the good and the bad from him in recent weeks so it is a tough guess on which Rahm will show up. And a dark horse for me is Francesco Molinari who finished at +3 over last year. Although he has struggled on American Soil, he has 4 European Tour Wins in his career and is 10th in European Tour Rankings.
From this side of the pond, do not be surprise to see Brendt Snedeker who finished well this week compete because he has played well in the past at the Open Championship. And do not discount his Ryder Cup Experience. I Also look at the younger players that have Ryder Cup experience to compete well including the likes of Rickie Fowler. I think Fowler is a player that played well this week that is still looking for a Major Championship and could break through at Royal Birkdale. It is very rare to see young players like Brooks Koepka that win their first major at either the Masters or US Open to turn around and play well enough at the Open Championship to win. Not to say it won’t happen, but when you look Historically, it just does not happen.
As Championship draws near and the field fills up, we will break down everything further. Follow us all season long here at DYSTNow.com and on Twitter @SportsMongerPGH, @Golfmonger and @ZacharyMWeiss.