Form Guide: 2009 British Open
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2009 British Open | Preview | 14 Jul 2009
The Ayrshire Coast’s famed Turnberry Links plays host to the Open Championship for the fourth occasion this week and below is a guide to those, who in my mind, could be considered the leading 20 chances.
Woods arrives in Scotland in the best of form after an unlucky 6th place at the US Open and a victory at the AT&T Championship at his last start. Woods has not finished outside the top ten in the eight stroke-play events he has played since returning from surgery and deserves to be the raging hot favourite this week. Woods has won the Open on three previous occasions and is again the player they have to beat.
Furyk has not won anywhere in nearly two years but his game has been so impressive in recent months that it would not surprise if he was to do so this week. Furyk has recorded several top five finishes in this event and he could well challenge for the title this week.
Mahan is in the best form of his career, narrowly missing a win at the US Open and playing beautifully in just about everything he looks at. Mahan has not missed a cut since the PGA Championship eleven months ago and has finished no worse than 6th in his last three starts. Mahan has made the cut in three of his four Open Championships with a best of 6th at Carnoustie in 2007.
Poulter finished runner up to Harrington last year at Royal Birkdale and has improved his world ranking even further in 2009. Poulter finished runner up at the Players Championship in May and then came from a long way back to finish third at the French Open. A solid week last week in Scotland has done his chances no harm.
Casey’s 7th place finish at last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale was his best ever and in 2009 he has taken his game to an even higher level. Casey has not played as well in the last six weeks or so but earlier in the season he put together enough good finishes to move to number three in world golf. If he was to rediscover that form he might well be in the hunt this week.
Garcia played the British Amateur at Turnberry in 1996 and so has a little prior knowledge knowledge of the layout. Garcia has not been at his best in the last few months but his 10th place finish at the US Open indicates he is not too far from it. Garcia has generally played the Open Championship well, a runner-up to Harrington in 2007 his best but there have also been several other top tens.
Stricker had a rather ordinary record at the Open Championship earlier in his career but in the last two years he has played the tournament much better. He finished 8th at Carnoustie in 2007 and 7th at Royal Birkdale last year and is having a great run of form in 2009. It would not surprise to see him contending when it matters this week. He has been five times inside the top five this season including his win at the Colonial. His win at the John Deere is proof of where his game is at right now.
Ogilvy started 2009 off with a bang with two wins in the first three months. His form since has been not quite as good but given that he has made his last 19 cuts in golf worldwide he deserves respect. He has not played this event particularly well in the past, a best of 5th in 2005 the only top ten he has to show for his efforts. He played well enough last week in Scotland when 13th.
Westwood has never won a major championship but is one of golf’s best not to have done so. The Englishman has a very poor record at the Open given his position in the game but there is something about the way he is playing at present that suggests that this could be a big week for him. He finished a very good 8th at the Scottish Open last week.
Stenson finished third in this event in 2008 and although his form since the Players Championship victory has been below that expected, a 9th place finish at the recent US Open further enhances his claims.
Kaymer is the hottest golfer on the planet right now having won the French and Scottish Opens in the past two weeks. Three wins in three weeks is hard to imagine and no player has won at Loch Lomond then won the Open Championship the following week. History is against him but he is an outstanding talent.
Harrington seeks his third Open Championship in succession and a week ago his chances looked very slim to produce the first such hat-trick in more than 50 years. His win last week at the Irish PGA Championship however, which has become his traditional lead-in event, gives some hope for a sadly out of form Harrington to produce something very special this week. The improvement will need to continue however.
Glover is the recently crowned US Open Champion but his schedule since has been rather strange. Glover has played in every event since the Bethpage victory and while he played well in the first two of those events he missed the cut last week in Illinois. That may have been a blessing in disguise as he seeks time to recharge the batteries but it is hard to imagine he can win again.
Perry has not played the Open Championship all that often for one of his vintage (48) but when he has he has done well enough. In five starts he has been inside the top twenty on three occasions including when 8that the 2003 Open at Royal St George’s. If he was to win he would be the oldest ever to win a major and so the odds are against him but although he did not finish off last week’s John Deere Classic all that well there is no questioning his current form.
Singh has recorded the occasional good finish at the Open Championship and while he has had his struggles in 2009 there has been enough to suggest he might have a chance.
O’Hair has made the cut in each of his four starts in the Open Championship and has had a good season in 2009 including when winning at the demanding Quail Hollow layout. While a win would be a surprise a very good week would not.
Goosen appears to be back on track with a good tournament at the US Open and then another very good week when third last week in Scotland. He led at various stages at Loch Lomond and has often played well at the Open although 5th at St Andrews in 2005 has been his best.
Fisher has developed into one of Europe’s best in the last twelve months and has recorded several very impressive finishes in big events. His record at the Open Championship is very ordinary but he is such an improved player that he could well feature at various stages.
Scott showed a welcome return to form at last week’s Scottish Open when he finished in a share of 4th by far his best finish in the last six months. Scott’s record at the Open Championship leaves a lot to be desired but he appears to have found something in his last two starts and if he was to beat his previous best of 8th in this championship it would not be the surprise it might have been a month ago.
Curtis may have been a surprise winner in 2003 but if he was to do so again in 2009 then I for one would not be surprised. Curtis has played very solidly in the past twelve months and has made a point of playing in both Europe and the US. Runner up at the 2008 PGA, 5th at the Tour Championship and then top ten finishes in three of his last five starts on either side of the Atlantic is a guide to a potential winner at long odds.
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