The British Open: Tiger’s last stand

The great and mighty Dunton is back with yet another golf Major preview. Will he nail the victor? Sit back and take a look at his Top 5 golfers to watch in this weekend’s Open Championship.

There are some special places in the world of sports: Lambeau Field, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium — the old one, not this new abomination — center court at Wimbledon, and St. Andrews.

The Open Championship — it’s the British Open people, but whatever —  at St. Andrews will be the center of the golf universe this week and many golf fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Called the birthplace of golf, the Olde Course at St. Andrews had rounds of golf dating back to the 1400s, and this week could see some of the most important rounds ever played here.

Jordan Spieth is going for 3 majors in a row. Tiger is trying to prove that he is still relevant. Phil is trying to have us all forget the gambling and money laundering scandal. Dustin is trying to shake off two of the worst putts we have ever seen. And Rory — oh wait no Rory this week. Stick to golf pal, soccer is clearly not your game.

So as we look to the week ahead we remember all the nuisances that is the Old Course: The Road Hole, Double Greens, Hell Bunker, and the ever present ghost of Old Tom Morris that seems to walk the course and push some to victory while forcing others to run in fear. Here are my golfers to keep an eye on this week as we look to wake up to live golf early here on the east coast.

Louis Oosthuizen: Louis has won at St. Andrews once before and is coming off one of the best back 9 performances at a US Open in its history with an astonishing 29. That’s what The Wayniac would have shot on that 606 yard Par 5 he watched at Bradenton, folks. Were it not for a first round score of 77 he could have won the US Open by at least five shots. Louis knows what it takes to win at St.Andrews and is coming off a major performance that many golfers would love to have in their back pocket.

Jordan Spieth: There is no golfer on the planet hotter than Jordan right now. He has won two majors, just finished winning the John Deere in a playoff and poised to take stage at St. Andrews as the odds on favorite. The one downside to Jordan’s chances are the fact that St. Andrews is a course that requires some knowledge and familiarity with in order to be successful.

Jordan can’t rely on his caddie’s local knowledge like he did at Chambers Bay. That extra playoff on Sunday slowed down his arrival to the Old Course. Despite this he is the one to beat going into Thursday and at this point I am never going to count him out of any tournament.

You best look for some new employment Eldrick. (Getty Images)
You best look for some new employment Eldrick. (Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson: When I was putting together my US Open preview I had notes on Dustin Johnson and then wrote in big letters “Can’t Putt”. Missed opportunity for greatness, huh?

Boy did that problem rear it’s ugly head at the worst possible time in DJ’s career. Going into the Open Championship, DJ is still looking for that major that seems to just keep on slipping through his hands.

Again, he has all the tools to win multiple majors, but it will always come down to putting and I have a feeling those two misses on 18 back in June are going to be bigger skeletons in DJ’s career than his personal trials.  I hope I’m wrong because we all like DJ’s game.

Tiger Woods: Yeah I don’t understand the fact that I am writing this name either but Tiger has jumped up the latest odds boards and right now is sitting at 20/1, the same odds that Henrik Stenson has to win. Tiger has won twice at St. Andrews and if he is going to get out of his major funk this is the place for him to do it.

He said all the right things at his presser Tuesday, including this quote, “I know some of you guys think I’m buried and done, but I’m still right here in front of you.” Don’t get me wrong, The Nation’s readers know that I am a Tiger homer, but I feel like coming into this weekend maybe there is something different about Eldrick. I don’t expect to see him hoist the Claret Jug, but having him relevant throughout the weekend will surely boost his confidence and get the golf world excited again. He should at least make the cut for crying out loud.

I'm too sexy for this trophy. (Photo cred: The Guardian courtesy of Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
I’m too sexy for this trophy. (Photo cred: The Guardian courtesy of Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

My winner is….Henrik Stenson. I think it is time for the Swede to take home his first major. He has finished in the top five three times in his career and this is the weekend he breaks through to the top. Henrik is ranked numero uno in Greens in Regulation, an important stat to focus on at any major, especially St.Andrews. The great thing is that he backs that up with being ranked 14th in putting. Henirk can put it all together and this course will play to all of his strengths. I am going with my gut here on this one but hopefully the blue and yellow flag of Sweden is flying high on Sunday afternoon.

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