The Bearded Talisman's bets for the 151st Open Championship
Are you ready to hold The Claret Jug? The six golfers the Bearded Talisman is betting for the 151st Open Championship in Wirral, England.
1. Tommy Fleetwood (25-1) WIN – Ranked 21st in the world, the Englishman has 5 Top 6 finishes in his last 11 starts, and has 3 Top 5s in his last 7 majors. “Fairway Jesus” is on the record as saying this is THE most important golf tournament to him, and he finished 2nd in 2019 when it was in Northern Ireland. This time The Open is in his native England, and he prepped well by finishing tied for 6th at the Scottish Open last week. He slipped to 50th in the world in early 2022, but he has hit the weight room hard since, and his world ranking has climbed 29 spots with his improved core strength. I expect him to be a serious factor this weekend in his native country.
2. Min Woo Lee (70-1) WIN, (12-1) Top 5 – Ranked 47th in the world, the Australian’s talent just screams at you. Effortless swing, 193 mph ball speed and great touch around the greens. In an on-course interview with Jim Nantz at The Travelers, Lee said he wants to be known for his shot-shaping ability rather than his length of the tee. He told Nantz he has rid himself of certain outside distractions and is committed to reaching his potential. In the last 6 events, he has made every cut, and he finished tied for 5th at The US Open. He won the Scottish Open in 2021, so he has proven he excels in links golf. Lee’s sister Minjee has won 2 majors on the LPGA Tour, so he has the pedigree to win in this spot. To top it off, he has spent the last month in England and Scotland prepping, reinforcing what he told Nantz about commitment.
3. Collin Morikawa (35-1) WIN – The 2021 Open Champion is ranked 18th in the world, having slipped 11 spots since finishing 3rd at the Farmers in Week 4. But he looked like his old self at The Rocket earlier this month, finishing tied for 2nd. In 16 career major starts, he has 5 Top 5s with 2 wins. I get the feeling Collin is tired of being the non-factor he has been for most of 2023. At his Wimbledon interview on Sunday, he seemed confident, and I think he builds off the strong finish in Detroit. He might very well win his 2nd Claret Jug.
4. Jon Rahm (13-1) WIN – Yes, I know he missed the cut at The Travelers his last time out, but that was the BEST thing that could have happened to him. He looked out of gas and needed the rest. He comes into Liverpool as the most rested player in the field, having played his last official round on June 23. He is ranked 3rd in the world for a reason. He signs multi-million dollar deals with Callaway with equity stakes for a reason; and, when he plays outside the U.S. he DOMINATES. His last 3 events outside the U.S. he finished 1st twice and second once. The Open is one of two majors he is yet to win, so he is clearly motivated in this spot.
5. Shane Lowry (40-1) WIN, (8-1) Top 5 – The 2019 Open Champion has made the cut in his last 6 starts and has made the top 20 in five of them. The Irishman is a “money” player in Europe. He won the BMW Europe Championship at the end of 2022 and his victory in Northern Ireland to win The 2019 Open was one of the all-time great golf victories. He’s as good a bad weather player as anyone in the field, and while the conditions should be fairly benign Thursday and Friday, there is a 90% chance of rain Saturday and 60% on Sunday.
6. Max Homa (60-1) Win – The 8th ranked player in the world is as lethal a putter as anyone on tour. His swing is as technically sound as that of any golfer on tour. From the end of 2021 to now, he has vaulted 26 spots in the world rankings and won 3 times. He was the pick of many “experts” to the win the US Open on his home turf in California last month, but he surprisingly missed the cut, and then missed it the following week at The Travelers. He stabilized at the Rocket with a T-21st, then followed it up with a respectable tied for 12th at the Scottish Open last week. He got a great draw this week by being teamed with fellow California Bear Collin Morikawa in the first two rounds, and expect Homa to step up his game alongside his close friend. 60-1 for the 8th ranked player in the world? I’m in.