Top 20/10

Brooks Koepka (-105/+185)

I am going to keep things incredibly simple here.  Disregarding the 2021 Masters where Brooks was noticeably hurt and opted for surgery the week after, he has finished 1st, T39, 1st, T2, 1st, 2nd, T4, T29, T7, T2, and T4 in his last 11 major starts.  Really not much more to say here.  Brooks just gets up for majors, and I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t bet on Brooks this week.  To put a cherry on top, he is coming off a T4 at his last start at The Traveler’s.  At near even money, this just makes sense. 

Xander Schauffele (-110/+185)

Another “don’t overthink this” play.  X-Man is the best active player to never win a major, and for our purposes, that is perfectly okay.  X has played in 17 majors, and has finished in the Top 20 12 times, with nine Top 10s.  He has been incredible this entire season going 12/14, with 12 Top 20s.  My only even minor hesitation is that his Open form isn’t elite, going T20-T2-T41 in his three major starts across the pond.  With that being said, he is about as good as it gets in Europe. In his 26 career European tournaments, X is 26/26 with 19 Top 25 finishes, and is coming off a T10 last week at the Scottish Open.  

Viktor Hovland (+125/+275)

If you ignore his WD due to an eye injury at the US Open, Hovland may just be having the best year of anyone in golf not named Jon Rahm.  In his 15 starts around the globe this year, he has two wins (including his last start at the European BMW on 6/23), two runner-ups, and two third-place finishes.  In over half his starts he has finished in the top 6, while only missing one cut.  The Norwegian is very comfortable in Europe, and I expect him to continue his mightily impressive season this week.  My only hesitation is that this is his first appearance at The Open, but I don’t believe that will matter much due to his experience at European courses.  

Louis Oosthuizen (+125/+275)

Continuing with the theme of “don’t overthink this” is Lodewickus Theodorus Oosthuizen.  Louis came oh so close to delivering me a 50-1 winner at Torrey Pines, but once again fell short, settling for his second consecutive runner-up at a major.  I am going to simply keep riding him until the wheels fall off, as the 2010 Open champ just keeps on delivering at major championships.  Since 2014, the best putter on TOUR has played in 29 majors, going 27/29 with 18 Top 25s and seven Top 10s.  He has yet to miss a cut in 2021, and I don’t see any reason not to like Louis this week.  

Patrick Reed (+150/+325)

Patrick Reed is one of the most universally disliked golfers on TOUR, and I believe that is part of the reason we will once again get a great number on the 2018 Masters champion.  Reed is as solid as they come at major championships, going 22/26 with 15 T20s and 6 T10s.  His form at The Open reflects his general trend, with his last five outings being T20-T12-MC-T28-T10.  He has also been quite formidable at elite events this season, boasting a T22 at The Players, T8 at Augusta, T17 at Kiawah, and a backdoor T19 at Torrey Pines last month.  He gets up when it matters, and at +150 to Top 20, I don’t see how you can stay away from Patrick Reed this week.

Tyrrell Hatton (+160/+330)

I am a big fan of the Mad Hatter and especially like him this week.  The Englishman excels in Europe, with finishes of 1st, 22nd, 6th, and 18th in his four starts on the EURO tour this year, and has finished T6 and T5 at The Open in 2019 and 2016, respectively.  I like Tyrrell to contend this week, but at bare minimum should make the cut and give you a chance at cashing your ticket going into Sunday.  He is 13/16 this year with four Top 10s and nine Top 25 finishes, coming off a T18 last week at the Scottish Open.  

Scottie Scheffler (+185/+400)

This is a poor man’s Brooks Koepka.  The Texan is very comfortable at majors going 5/5 and never finishing worse than T19 (T19-T4-T18-T8-T7).  He has also been excellent this entire season, making 12/15 cuts with eight T20s and five T10s.  My only hesitation is that he has limited European golf experience and will be making his first start at the British Open this week, but my worries are slightly mitigated by his T12 last week in Scotland, highlighted by a round of 63 on Friday.  

Marc Leishman (+365/+570)

For my Striker/BTG readers, simply ignore this or play him at +1000 Top Rest of the World, because he is only available at the comical price of +225 to Top 20 on those sites.  

The Aussie is historically a boom/bust play at The Open, with three Top 5 finishes, three finishes outside the top 50, and three missed cuts.  I like him to boom this week coming off a T3 at The Travelers where he appeared to find his groove again.  Since 2013, Leishman has played in 30 majors, going 21/30 with ten Top 20s and six Top 10s  Leishman doesn’t miss many cuts (10/13 this year), and I like him to give you a good shot going into the weekend.  This price is simply too good to pass up.

Guys I’m Fading

Bryson DeChambeau

As much as I love Bryson, he has just been a dumpster fire of late, and is not someone I want anything to do with at the moment, especially this week.  Bryson is 1/3 across the pond, sandwiching a T51 in between two missed cuts at The Open.  He is coming off a Sunday implosion at Torrey Pines, followed by a missed cut at The Rocket Mortgage, where he was the defending champion, and is playing in his first tournament with his new caddy.

To add fuel to the fire, Bryson is falling apart mentally.  In a GOLF.com article written by Dylan Dethier, he highlights several media controversies that have been affecting Bryson of late.  He appears noticeably rattled by the infamous feud with Brooks Koepka, is now battling a controversy from the US Open regarding a yell of “fore” on an errant tee shot, and very much so wants to keep the separation with his long-time caddy a private matter.  His demeanor was much different at the Tuesday presser, and I have a hard time seeing the already volatile Bryson keeping it together this week at a course that already pushes your mental game to its limits.  I think Bryson is uncomfortable in Europe, and these myriad of factors only amplify my concerns.   In his price range, I like quite literally every other golfer more than DeChambeau this week.  If you don’t want to fade in a matchup setting, look to play -160 to NOT Top 20, or even to miss the cut at +250

Picks: Hovland -120, Hatton +105 and Schauffele -150 over Bryson

Dustin Johnson

In his last seven Open starts, DJ has finished inside the Top 20 just twice (T12 2014, T9 2016) while missing the cut in 2018 and adding finishes of T32, T49, T54, and T51 in his other four starts.  He comes in riding a wave of relatively average form (T48-MC-T10-T19-T25) and I just simply like the others in his price range more than him this week.  If you can get Rahm, Brooks, or Xander against DJ this week, fire away!

Picks: Brooks -115 and Rahm -165 over DJ

Webb Simpson

I am going back to the well to fade Webb Simpson, who has not had a very good last two months to say the least.  In those three events, Webb has a WD due to injury, followed by missed cuts at the US Open and Rocket Mortgage.  He has never had much success across the pond, with an average finish of 42nd in his eight starts, and zero top 10 finishes.  I will look to back Sergio Garcia at plus money over Webb.  Sergio has reeled off three consecutive Top 20 finishes, and leads the field in Top 10s at The Open with a staggering ten in 23 appearances.  

Picks: Sergio +120 over Webb

Outright Pick to Win

Viktor Hovland +3000

While obviously any of the top guys could win come Sunday, I fail to see value for a player below 25-1.  Unlike 5-10 years ago, there are simply too many guys with a realistic chance to win.  Because of this, I automatically eliminate Rahm, Rory, Brooks, DJ, JT, Spieth, Bryson, and Xander from consideration due to their price.

As I said before, I really like Viktor Hovland this week.  I believe he belongs in the aforementioned elite tier of players, yet is being priced towards the top of the mid-tier at 30-1.  He has all the skill in the world and has won twice this year, including his last start.  Outside of those top eight players, I would take Hovland in a matchup against anyone else in the field.  He is a proven winner, unlike many in the upper mid-tier price range, and I believe this is the week Viktor Hovland becomes a major champion on his home continent.

Bonus Picks: Lee Westwood +6500 and Branden Grace +7500

Both of these guys are priced a little too high and have had great success in Europe and major championships in general.  Worth a sprinkle if you have a few extra bucks in the bankroll this week.  

My Card:

Hatton: 1U T20, 0.33U T10, 0.15U T5; 0.1U to Win (+3500) 

Leishman: 0.66U T20, 0.33U T10; 0.1U Top Rest of World, 0.1U to Win (+6500)

Hovland: 1U T20, 0.4U T10, 0.15U T5; 0.33U to Win (+3000)

Reed: 1U T20, 0.3U T10

Koepka: 1.5U T20, 0.6U T10, 0.25U T5

Schauffele: 1.5U T20, 0.55U T10, 0.25U T5

Oosthuizen: 1U T20, 0.25U T10, 0.15U T5

Scheffler: 0.66U T20, 0.25U T10, 0.12U T5

Brooks over Johnson -115, 1U

Schauffele over DeChambeau, -150, 1U

Hovland over DeChambeau, -120, 1U

Hatton over DeChambeau +105, 1U

Garcia over Simpson, +120, 1U

Branden Grace +7800 0.05U

Lee Westwood +6500 0.05U

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