British Open 2016: Ranking the top golfers in the field at Royal Troon
Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Jason Day seem most likely to win the British Open this year
Here is the 2016 British Open field ranked from 1-20 based on how likely each golfer is to win this year's event. Royal Troon has always produced either extremely epic or quite forgettable champions, so this list was not the easiest to make. I looked at recent Open performance and how well golfers are playing coming in along with a little gut feeling on who's going to play well.
It should also be noted that this is not who I think will win (i.e. I don't believe Rory McIlroy will win this year), only who I think is most likely to do so if the event was played 1,000 times.
1. Dustin Johnson: Two straight wins and six straight cuts made at the British Open including two top 10s. Can get to No. 1 in the world with a win this week.
2. Adam Scott: Wait, Adam Scott?! His last four finishes at Opens: T10, T5, T3 and 2nd. That is insanely good. Had a top-20 showing at the U.S. Open as well.
3. Jason Day: Seven wins in 20 events. The clear world No. 1 until Johnson started destroying everything in sight. Finished T4 last year just one stroke out of a playoff at St. Andrews.
.@JDayGolf is 33-under in majors since the beginning of 2013, 15 strokes better than any other player in that span.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) July 12, 2016
4. Jordan Spieth: Has finished in the top five in five of his last six major championships. And he cannot crack the top three on this list! Spieth is the most stubborn top-10 player in the world and maybe in the entire sport. That's a beneficial thing when it comes to Opens.
5. Sergio Garcia: And not just because I'm picking him, either! Top 10 in three of his last five Opens, already has a win on the PGA Tour this year and is coming off a T5 at Oakmont. Sergio Garcia winning Royal Troon is a real thing!
6. Zach Johnson: You can't win it (which Johnson did in 2015) if you don't make the cut (which Johnson has done nine straight times).
7. Rory McIlroy: Rory is clearly in "get out of my way, I'm barreling through whether you like it or not" mode this week. That either ends with a Claret Jug in hand (if the weather cooperates) or in complete and total destruction (if it does not). There is really not much in between there.
8. Hideki Matsuyama: Only has two career missed cuts at major championships and never one at The Open. Finished T6 in 2013 when Mickelson took the prize.
9. Rickie Fowler: I've long thought The Open is the major Fowler had his best shot at. The unfortunate part this year is that he is not exactly streaking coming in. Still, he's been tough at this tournament over the last five years with two top-five finishes and just one missed cut.
10. Lee Westwood: It would be pretty sweet to see Westy finally get his. Like Darren Clarke but probably even better. He has the resume, too. Top five in three of his last seven Opens with so many near-misses. One of only two players in the field to finish top 10 here in both 1997 and 2004.
11. Justin Rose: Why do I have Rose behind Westwood? How about the fact that Rose had his first top 10 as a professional at a British Open last year at St. Andrews. His only other top 10 came when he was low amateur in 1998.
12. Henrik Stenson: Just a litany of career disappointment at Open Championships on this list. Stenson has finished in the top three in three of the last seven Opens he has played but has sort of quietly missed his last three cuts on the PGA Tour.
13. Phil Mickelson: Of players who have made at least three of the last five cuts at Opens, only Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia have a better average finish than Mickelson. His average finish in the last five is just outside the top 10 including his win at Muirfield. He might be fading, but I'm also convinced he has one last sweet run at a major in him somewhere.
14. Marc Leishman: This is who my man Robby Kalland is picking as his sleeper, and it is a good one. Leishman very quietly has two top fives in his last two Open Championships including a loss in a playoff last year. Considering he only has three top 10s in majors overall, this seems like the tournament he's going to win if he's ever going to win one.
15. Louis Oosthuizen: Oosty has been great in Opens. He lost in a playoff last year after winning the Claret Jug in 2010. He also has not missed a cut since 2009. There is this as well.
16. Shane Lowry: Finished T9 at the Open Rory McIlroy won in 2014 and clearly has a flair for the dramatic. It would be pretty cool to see him rebound from his Oakmont disappointment with a Claret Jug. You can bet he would wear the inside of that thing out too.
17. Danny Willett: Has a Masters champ ever gone into an Open so overlooked? Willett has only played in two Opens but finished in the top 15 in both of them. The counter? Is Danny Willett really going to win two major championships in a year?
18. Branden Grace: Coming off a T5 at the U.S. Open at Oakmont. He seems like a big game hunter along with Leishman and the likes of Angel Cabrera. Four straight made cuts at this tournament although nothing better than a T20.
19. Graeme McDowell: Has made seven of eight cuts with two top 10s in that time. This is more gut than anything. It just seems more likely that McDowell will win a bad-weather Open than, say, Bubba Watson or Rory McIlroy.
20. Scott Piercy: Are we going to talk about his two straight runners up at the U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational or just pretend like they never happened?
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