The Open Championship always has a special feel, and it'll feel a little extra special when the event returns to Royal Liverpool given that the past two winners have been generational talents Rory McIlroy (2014) and Tiger Woods (2006).
Those two events are the only two Opens at Royal Liverpool since 1967, too, so they're our best bet for figuring out the course's style.
How does all of this impact the process this week? Let's dig in.
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Royal Liverpool Golf Club Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,383 (Average par 72)
Fairway Width: N/A
Average Green Size: N/A
Green Type: N/A
Recent Winning Scores: -17, -18
Recent Cut Lines: +2, -1
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Putting, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, Birdie or Better Rate, Total Strokes Gained, Driving Distance
As a quick note, the 2006 and 2014 Opens were played as par 72s, but the PGA Tour website is listing the course as a par 71 this year.
The name of the game at Hoylake has been separation. Both Woods and McIlroy won by two shots at 18- and 17-under respectively, but only 7 golfers were -10 or better in 2006, and 11 finished at -10 or better in 2014.
ShotLink data is as new as can be when it comes to The Open Championship, and we have it for 2022 but nothing else, so there is guesswork to be done.
In looking back at the 2006 and 2014 Opens, though, we see a pretty weak in-tournament correlation with most stats and stroke differential. That means there isn't a dominant stat that explained the separation at these events.
Greens in regulation, scrambling, and putting were tied to scoring more than driving stats, suggesting we can downplay the driver a bit this week.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
These golfers have the best strokes gained averages (minimum two starts) over the past five majors.
|Min Woo Lee||$9,400||1.51||5||18||MC||21||27|
Win Simulations for The Open Championship
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for The Open Championship
As far as value goes early in the week, I'm not finding a ton, but Patrick Cantlay (+2500) looks like a value. My model has his odds at +2000. The model also likes Xander Schauffele (+2500) right at +2500, which is notable.
Former Open winner Collin Morikawa (+3500) has expected odds of +3300.
We'll see where the odds for the top guys settle, yet I think they'll be factored out at their early-week numbers.
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for The Open Championship
Unless otherwise noted, all stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Scottie Scheffler (FanDuel Salary: $12,100 | Golf betting odds: +650) - I'll stop putting Scheffler at the top of the priority list when he starts cooling off with his tee-to-green game. Scheffler is -- by far -- the best tee-to-green golfer in the field over the past 50 rounds and is averaging more than 1.00 full strokes tee-to-green over any other golfer in this field. His putting (109th in the field) is the concern. His putting splits from within 15 feet do also put him in the 15th percentile for the season, which is a concern. But he's just so good even with an iffy putter that the floor is as high as some guys' ceilings. I have him ranked ahead of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm -- but all three are studs.
Rickie Fowler ($10,800 | +2500) - Rickie is peaking right now, and the one area where he lags (off the tee) is the most forgivable statistical area for this week. Fowler is 18th or better in strokes gained: approach, around the green, and putting, and he ultimately ranks 4th in the field in strokes gained: approach through putting. For what it's worth, he finished runner-up here in 2014 to Rory McIlroy. Fowler is a 69th-percentile putter this season from within 15 feet, too, so we can trust the recent flatstick stats.
Others to Consider:
Rory McIlroy ($12,200 | +700) - Off of a win, should be popular -- and won here in 2014. Stats profile is elite.
Xander Schauffele ($11,300 | +2500) - Top-7 in irons and putting; great combo for single-week upside. Great major player.
Tyrrell Hatton ($10,400 | +2500) - Good win odds for the salary and a complete game.
Wyndham Clark ($9,500 | +6000) - The profile for Clark is just undeniable at this point. He's long off the tee (9th) and has top-10 irons and is 16th in strokes gained: putting. It's hard to top those numbers for someone in the $9,000 range. Clark finished T25 last week at the Genesis Scottish Open while losing strokes on and around the greens. He ranked 7th in the field in strokes gained: approach and 15th in strokes gained: off the tee -- so the finish could've been much better. He's a fantastic mid-range play.
Justin Rose ($10,000 | +5500) - After a T16 at the Masters and a T9 at the PGA Championship, Rose missed the cut at the U.S. Open. He bounced back with a T4 at the British Masters -- and then missed the cut at the Genesis Scottish Open. In both of those missed cuts, he lost strokes with the putter. Rose ranks in the 55th percentile in putting from within 15 feet, so we can feel good that the missed cut blips are just that: blips.
Others to Consider:
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,800 | +7500) - Top-32 at all three majors this year while losing strokes putting in each.
Min Woo Lee ($9,400 | +6500) - Best putter from within 15 feet on the PGA Tour this year; sticks around at majors.
Sam Burns ($9,200 | +6000) - Has potential for elite driver, irons, and putting for the salary.
Patrick Reed ($9,000 | +9000) - Reed has largely shown up at this year's majors: T4 at the Masters, T18 at the PGA, and T56 at the U.S. Open. Of course, we don't have detailed stats on the LIV Tour, but Reed has finished T2 and T5 at the past two LIV events since the U.S. Open. There's some guesswork with the LIV players -- yet a lot of them have done well in majors.
Denny McCarthy ($8,900 | +12000) - I like McCarthy at majors because of his reliable putter and solid stats profile otherwise. He ranks between 37th and 55th in the three tee-to-green stats, and he's 4th in strokes gained: putting. McCarthy is playing good golf overall (2nd at Memorial, T20 at U.S. Open, T7 at Travelers, and T6 at John Deere). A lot of it is the putter -- but that's his strength, and it's supported by good data (98th-percentile putting from within 15 feet).
Others to Consider:
Talor Gooch ($8,900 | +9000) - Has three LIV Tour wins since April; T34 at Masters; cut at PGA.
Padraig Harrington ($8,600 | +15000) - Faded last week to a T42 but playing great golf on the Champions Tour and majors.
Brian Harman ($8,000 | +12000) - Great win odds for the salary; three straight top-12 finishes.