By Walker Polivka
The PGA Tour contests its final major of the season with the 150th playing of The Open Championship at the Old Course at St. Andrews. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the tournament, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and player to fade predictions.
Player to Fade: David Duval- Winner of the 2001 Open Championship, Duval has had very little success in this event outside of his win, with 2 finishes of T-11 being his next best finishes. Duval has also missed the cut in this event in 8 of the last 11 times he has teed it up, to go alongside 2 withdrawals during that stretch as well. It may be the 150th Open Championship, but Duval is nothing more than a ceremonial player this week and is a lock to miss the cut.
Dark Horse: Jordan Smith- Ranked 115th in the Official World Golf Rankings, Smith has put together a solid 2022 campaign on the DP World Tour, with 5 top 10’s and 12 top 25’s in 14 starts. Smith may be making his 5th career start in a major, but he has contended before, finishing T-9 at the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club. Smith has also played well in recent weeks, with consecutive T-24 finishes at the Horizon Irish Open and the Genesis Scottish Open. A win would be unheralded, but another top 25 is certainly within reach for Smith.
Top 10: Rory McIlroy- Winner of the 2014 Open Championship, McIlroy has had a great season on the PGA Tour, with 2 wins, 7 top 10’s, and just 1 missed cut in 12 starts. McIlroy also has had the success at St. Andrews, finishing T-3 here in the 2010 Open Championship. Even though he last won a major in 2014, McIlroy continues to contend, with 16 top 10’s since his win at the 2014 PGA Championship. Currently ranked 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, McIlroy will be a threat to win this week, but a top 10 is almost certainly a guarantee.
Winner: Scottie Scheffler- The #1 ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings, Scheffler is having a season for the ages, with 4 wins, 3 runner-up finishes, 9 top 10’s, and just 3 missed cuts in 21 starts. Scheffler doesn’t have much experience in The Open Championship, but has done well in it in his young career, finishing T-8 in his only other Open appearance last year. There are very few weaknesses in Scheffler’s game right now, but his ball-striking is most certainly on point, ranking 7th in Strokes Gained: Approach The Green. It takes quality iron play to contend on any course in the Open Rota, and Scheffler is most certainly the man for the job. In a career year, we predict that Scheffler will add another piece of hardware to his collection by lifting the Claret Jug at St. Andrews and winning the 150th Open Championship!