First Sports Illustrated’s Bob Casper says that Phil Mickelson won’t win the Open Championship. Now ESPN’s Jason Sobel chimes in to say that Tiger won’t win it either.
I think it’s got to be easier to predict who WON’T win than who will.
As his number one reason, Sobel says that Tiger’s lack of familiarity with the course will work against him. At first, that seems like a d’uh kind of line, but it holds doubly true with Tiger. As I’ve pointed out here in the past, SIX of his ten majors have come on either Augusta or St. Andrews. Once he learns a course, he owns it. But he’s no more effective than any other golfer the first time through.
Sobel also fingers the rust factor and Tiger’s continued short game slide. Open Championships tend to favor those with excellent and imaginative short games, and good putting. Tiger currently is 135th on tour in putting. Not good enough for a win.
But the reason I like the most is that the level of competition has caught up to Tiger. Its not only the big three, or the five. I’d guess that it’s now the Big Dozen. There are probably twelve players who have the level of talent to win this one.
And that’s why it’s easier to predict who won’t than who will.
Sam Snead once advised that you should never bet on a professional golfer unless you get at least 8-1 odds. He reasoned that there was so much talent on tour that any one of the top twenty players has as good a chance to win as any other. Snead was a crafty guy and his logic is just as pertinent today as it was when he wrote that in early 1960s.
So I’ll go out on a limb and say that we WON’T see a victory from Woods, Mickelson, Singh, Goosen or Scott.
You notice that I’ve left out Jim Furyk from that list of the top six players in the world rankings.
I think he’s got a chance.