2017 The Open Championship – Thursday July 20th through Sunday July 23rd reminder, this event is in England and the lock time is very early Thursday morning (1:35am ET).

As much as I like watching the John Deere classic the wait for a big week is over, with another major upon us. This time we go across the pond to Royal Birkdale Golf Club in England for the Open Championship. Most people I think would say the Masters is their favorite golf weekend of the year, but I think the Open is probably mine. I love watching guys battle the elements and hit out of bunkers that look like small cliffs. Waking up at 1:30 in the morning to catch the beginning is not ideal, and I am heading up to Saratoga for opening day at the racetrack so I am sure I will be without much sleep for long stretches this weekend.

The Course

Royal Birkdale is a par 70 measuring out around 7175 yards which does not sound too intimidating, but that is certainly not the whole story. The course is links style so the wind and rain is where things can get dangerously insane and you do not have to look far, just check out the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale where Padraig Harrington won at +3. Regardless of the conditions you need to be in the fairway and out of the pot bunkers to have a chance. Accuracy, scrambling, and being able to avoid monster numbers are all keys to success. The weather is going to determine everything this week, most weeks it will play a factor, but this week it probably is the most important priority when making lineups. If it is going to be nasty with rain and wind try and find guys who can grind out pars in the toughest conditions possible and mostly avoid guys who are volatile in nature. Being familiar with these conditions is obviously a plus so I will be bumping up guys who grew up in this or play a lot of links golf.

The Field

Major fields are always stacked and this one is no different. Since it is the Open we have a lot more European players and some guys who I have never heard of, but that happens at major’s due to the way they break down the field. DJ leads the salaries with Spieth, Rahm and the rest of the usual suspects up top.

Recap

I do not like these absurd scoring fests and the John Deere tops the list of those type of tournaments. Not going to do too much of a recap, my week was pretty simple to sum up.

I had a lot of Danny Lee and Kevin Na who did awful, but I was really heavy on Bryson and that saved the week. If the cut would have stayed at +2 I would have been in much better shape, but all the Stricker and Harman people snuck in and made it count with huge weekend. Always nice to have a week where u have a 50% exposure guy WD and still make some money, but also a little frustrating to have a lot of Bryson and 1% Patrick Rodgers and not take anything down.

Scottish Open super quick recap – Callum Shinkwin blew it on the last hole which was an easy par 5 with a bogey and went into a playoff with RCB. Lost the playoff, but still gets into the Open. Rorygoat got cut again, but I am sure I will find a way to spin this into a positive heading into this week.

** As always keep an eye on weather and wind. If you are around Wednesday night 9 PM EST check out the deep dive show where we will update and break down the latest info we get as this article is written a few days before lock **

The wind can change a ton between now and Thursday and that can change things for all the golfers below. I am basing this off pretty average winds with no real tee time advantage so keep that in mind if later in the week crazy things happen with the weather.

Targets

Top Priced

Justin Rose $10.3k DK/$16.8k FDraft –  With the super elite players you can roster any of them and feel confident as they are the best players in the world. Coming into this tournament a lot of them have legit question marks, so I may try and use ownership to determine if I can get someone under owned. Rose is right on the cusp of the top tier, but he is one of the safer options you will find. Stats check out, he has contended in Opens and has seen Royal Birkdale before which is a plus. The top tier is the one I am currently most uncertain about so I will continue to monitor weather, ownership and see how I attack it in the coming days.

Hideki Matsuyama $9.5k DK/$16.8k FDraft – I never get this guy right, had basically zero at the US Open and he almost won. Him and Rickie are going to be a popular pair and for good reason. Stats wise Hideki grades out as one of the best and he has shown his talent throughout this year. Like Rickie it is just a matter of time before this guy gets a major and I think he will be in contention come Sunday.

Rickie Fowler (9.2k DK, $16.8k FDraft) – My early favorite to win and also the favorite to be the most popular player on that slate in terms of ownership. Sets up well, just played good in Scotland and has the scrambling and around the green game you want at a course like this. We all know how close he has been to breaking thru and it is only a matter of time before he wins a major. Price is pretty generous so he allows you to take another top end guys and still have plenty of room to fill out rest of roster.

Mid-Range

Adam Scott $8.5k DK/$16k FDraft – Burned me and everyone else at the US Open, but I still believe Scott is going to make a splash this year. Good Open history and has played at Royal Birkdale before , plus we get a reduced price since he has not been in his usual form this year. Someone who is usually more targeted when long iron shots are key , but I like Scott in this spot with the way he can get hot and his elite T2G green. Putting is always his problem, but if he can just be average on the greens we will be more than ok.

Paul Casey $8.1k DK/$15.5k FDraft –  My giant bias towards Paul Casey aside, this actually sets up well for him. Playing some of the best golf in his career, was 7th last time the Open was held at Royal Birkdale and has the skill set we want to target. Two concerns I have is he has not played in basically a month and he has some issues out of the sand which may play a role this week. If you mess up around these bunkers you can take yourself out of the tournament on a few holes. Besides that, he has an elite tee to green game and is one of the best at avoiding bogeys so fire up Paul Casey this week as a solid mid-range play.

Marc Leishman $7.8k DK/$14.9k FDraft – Almost won the Open in 2015 and has the T2G game to compete with anyone. Good year for the Aussie and his putter usually is the wildcard in his bag, but from what I have heard these are not the most complicated greens to read and putt on. Should be suited for either type of weather conditions and the price is pretty fair.

Lower Priced

Matt Kuchar $7.2k DK/$14.1k FDraft – Looking like a must play in cash as his price is really cheap and he checks most boxes. Played well in Scottish Open, solid Open track record and good at limiting damage and playing in tough conditions. Going to be super popular, most likely the chalk in this range so that always opens up interesting possibilities in large field GPP’s. Still Kuchar has a chance to crush this easy price tag and I will have shares, just not sure how much.

Andy Sullivan $7k DK/$13.3k FDraft – Has gotten lost a little since Tommy Fleetwood has taken over English golf and Ty Hatton was the trendy name earlier in the year. Sullivan is legit and is quietly playing awesome golf right now, making him a nice GPP play on both DK and FDraft. He is up there on the risk scale so I would not trust in cash, but has major upside at this price point. Not sure he is built out for super tough conditions, but if the weather stays somewhat reasonable he is in play.

Bill Haas $6.6k DK/$12.6k FDraft –  My dark horse pick, especially if it is tough conditions. We all know Haas is not the biggest scorer, but he is one of the best at grinding out solid rounds in tough conditions and that may be exactly the blueprint to success this week. He was awful earlier in the year, but lately has been actually playing good golf. 9th in last year’s Open and someone who I expect to be pretty lightly owned.

Fades & Notes

Tee Times – Important thing to note is that the Open Championship does not have split tee times, meaning players will not be teeing off on the 10th hole the first two days. This means that groups will be teeing off throughout the entire day making weather that much more important and makes stacking certain tee time groupings a sound strategy.

Good luck everyone!

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