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Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Open Championship - Preview

The Open Championship returns to Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) for the first time since Tiger Woods captured his third Claret Jug in 2006 over Chris DiMarco, and here is a preview to kick off the week. On a personal note, this is one of the two weeks I most look forward to on the golf calendar each year, with the other being the Masters. Hopefully my passion for the Open will lead to some solid picks later in the week.

As is the case with the Masters, experience matters at the Open Championship. While venues rotate, overall success in links golf is very valuable. It's one of the very few tournaments where course history may actually be more important than current form. 

Hoylake will play to a par of 72, featuring the full bevy of par 5s and par 3s, with 10 par 4s rounding out the scorecard. The yardage is 7,312, which is relatively average by modern standards, but numerous doglegs will force mid and long irons into numerous greens unless a player gets aggressive and tries to fly the doglegs. 

While finding fairways should be a priority for the players, Driving Accuracy as a stat isn't all that useful this week. That's because many players will hit numerous irons and fairway metals off the tee and keep the driver in the bag. If there was a stat that told driving accuracy from 250-270 yards, I would be all over it. Similarly, I would also love some way of understanding from a stat sheet which players are the most successful at working their long irons both directions, but I'll have to rely on past observations. 

My method of breaking down the field to try and determine the contenders will be a little different this week than it is for most tournaments. I will rely heavily on Open Championship history first, and then use current form as a secondary consideration. Rather than rely on specific stats to complete the trifecta, I will take a much more subjective approach when considering course fit. Sort of a question of if a player passes the "eye" or "smell" test. 

We will be back tomorrow to introduce the Power Ranking. Until then, happy research!

1 comment:

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