Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Predictions: The 2011 Open Championship

Well it’s that time of the year again – the Open Championship.  Having attended the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews I am excited to see yet another installment of this great event.  I suspect the spectators have already made a serious dent into the stock at the Merchandising Pavilion, having stocked up with hats, balls, ball markers, etc… (all the same items that I stocked up with at the 2010 Open Championship).  Perhaps they have even secured the autographs of a few of their favorite players, like I was able to do in 2010 with the autograph of Sir Nick Faldo on my 2010 Open Championship flag.

So what is my prediction for the Open Championship?  I, like many others, favor Rory McIlroy to be the winner.  At the beginning of 2011 I picked him to win a major this year, though did not record this anywhere.  So even though his win at the US Open fulfilled my prediction, that prediction is not recorded before the year’s majors.  It’s always possible to have 20 / 20 hindsight so now I record my predictions for the 2011 Open Championship.  So I say come Sunday evening it will be Rory that will be the 2011 Open Champion.

As part of my European Tour Fantasy Team for the Open Championship you may be surprised to hear that I have selected neither Louis Oosthuizen, the defending Open Champion, nor Charl Schwartzel, the US Masters Champion.  I do, however, have three other South Africans in my team for this week – Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and George Coetzee.  I have not included Louis – I have a feeling he will miss the cut this week.  He has nothing to prove having won the Open Championship in the past.  Also with Charl playing mainly on the US PGA Tour and not having played much links golf recently I have a feeling he will either miss the cut or be low down in the field.  Not that I would wish that to be the case – it’s just the way I chose to make my team selections this week.

However, George Coetzee, an up and coming South African golfer, has been playing really well over the past few weeks.  He was tied for third at the Barclays Scottish Open this past week, and had a good week before that as well.  Having had good practice on the links course at Castle Stuart, and being in good form recently, I chose to include him in my Fantasy Team this week.

For the record, my full Fantasy Team this week are:  Ernie Els (has won the Open Championship in the past and his weekly diary says he enjoys links golf), Retief Goosen (South African, played lots of links golf in the past and finished tied 10th in the previous Open Championship held at this course), Martin Kaymer (World Number 3), Rory McIlroy (mentioned above), Graeme McDowell (World Number 9, has played extensive links golf), Lee Westwood (World Number 2 – he is certainly due a major victory), Edoardo Molinari, Ross Fisher, Padraig Harrington (previous winner of the Open Championship, and he had a good week at Castle Stuart), Peter Hanson (generally a member of my Fantasy Team), Paul Casey (not usually in my Fantasy Team, but he played really well in the 2010 Open Championship so I believe he has a thing to prove), Luke Donald (who would be so brave as to omit the World Number 1 and the winner at Castle Stuart?), Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia (his form has improved a great deal recently) and George Coetzee (mentioned above).

GOOD LUCK to all European Tour Players – let’s hope this major will be the sixth major in a row won by a member of the European Tour (the last major won by a member of the US PGA Tour was the 2010 US Masters won by Phil Mickelson).  I look forward to seeing a member of the European Tour holding aloft the claret jug as winner of the 2011 Open Champion at Royal St Georges.

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