Power Rankings: The 145th Open Championship

The 145th Open Championship heads to Royal Troon, aptly nicknamed “Troon on the Moon” for its abundance of pot bunkers. Traditionally, Open Championship winners sport a strong tee-to-green game which helps them battle strong winds, avoid the ever present pot bunkers and gorse. Here’s who I like to lift the Claret Jug on Sunday: 

  1. Dustin Johnson - The hottest player in golf comes into the Open Championship after consecutive wins at the U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone. Johnson has found himself in contention often at Open Championships holding the 36-hole lead at last year’s championship before a disastrous weekend and has finished  in the top 15 4 times in 7 appearances. 
  2. Jordan Spieth - The American golden boy fell 1-shot short of last year’s playoff and enters Royal Troon still looking for his first major of 2016. Spieth’s solid all-around game will keep him a factor at this year’s Open Championship, a major he has never missed a cut at. 
  3. Jason Day - The world’s top player has been sizzling since last year’s near miss at St. Andrews, where he finished 1-shot out of the playoff.  Since St. Andrews, Day has won 7 times in 20 starts, making him a tough man to bet against anywhere. While last year’s t4th is his only top 25 finish at an Open in 5 tries, he is too good to be anywhere lower than this spot.
  4. Sergio Garcia - Still in search of his first major championship, Garcia is having one of the best seasons of his illustrious career in 2016. in his past 5 starts, he has 4 top 5 finishes including a win at the Byron Nelson, and a 5th place finish at the U.S. Open Championship. Garcia is one of the world’s best ball-strikers and has finished t6th and t2nd in the past two Open Championships. 
  5. Adam Scott - Much like Garcia, Scott has had a career of near misses at the Open Championship having finished in the top 10 on 5 separate occasions. He notched wins at the Honda and the WGC-Cadillac in 2016 and his stellar tee-to-green game makes him a great pick, especially when the wind blows.
  6. Rory McIlroy - Rory has a lot of motivation headed into this year’s Open Championship as he has fallen to 4th in the world rankings and hasn’t won a major championship since the 2014 PGA. Rory is a defending champion of sorts, as the star won the 2014 championship at Royal Liverpool and was unable to compete in last year’s tournament at St. Andrews because of an ankle injury. With the golf world a bit down on McIlroy’s game, it could be the right time to buy low on the 4-time major winner. 
  7. Brendan Grace - The South African Grace has been the sexy sleeper pick by many experts but I would hardly classify Grace as a sleeper. The 10th ranked player in the world sports a low trajectory which is quite effective when the wind blows and has 3 top 5 finishes in his last 5 major championships.  I would look for Grace and his 10 international wins to find himself near the top of the leaderboard at Royal Troon.
  8. Louis Oosthuizen - King Louis won the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews and is a player who regularly finds himself in contention at big time events. Oosthuizen along with everyone else on this list is strong from tee-to-green. 
  9. Henrik Stenson - The big Swede comes in with good vibes after winning for the first time since 2014 at the BMW International Championship in June. Stenson’s track record at the Open Championship is stellar, with 4 top 6 finishes in his past 7 appearances.
  10. Zach Johnson - The reigning champion has had a poor 2016 but appears to be rounding into form with top 10 finishes in his past two starts, the U.S. Open and the WGC-Bridgestone. Johnson’s stellar wedge game and putting won him last year’s championship, could we see a repeat here?