The 5 Reasons You Won’t Be Able to Pick this Year’s British Open Winner

golfonline.co.uk, July 15th, 2013

Think you know who will be top of the leaderboard at Muirfield this weekend? Well think again. Below is our guide to why you won’t be able to select Sunday’s winner of the Claret Jug.

  1. Consistency? What’s that about...

One of the most surprising statistics we discovered- in the 18 majors since 2009, there have only been 17 winners. Rory McIlroy remains the only player to win more than one major in the last four years, conquering the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship. Translation- the Claret Jug could more than likely end up in the hands of someone you’re least expecting!

  1. The Best of the Best…

A logical mind could deduce that the number one player in the world is a solid pick to win the next major. But logic doesn’t always add up in the realm of golf. Tiger Woods, the world’s number one, hasn’t won a major since the 2008 season. The last time the American lifted the Claret Jug was in 2006, his second consecutive win at the tournament. But fast-forward almost a decade and Woods’ record is a very different one. He enters the field this week at the tail end of an elbow injury. The effects of which left him barely visible at the U.S. Open in June. Having had no competitive play since Merion, Woods is no sure bet at Muirfield but will definitely be one to watch.

  1. Age is just a number...

After his failure to capture a win at Merion last month, many have speculated if Phil Mickelson has a major left in him. But if the last two British Opens are anything to go by, the 43-year-old is in the perfect age bracket. South Africa’s Ernie Els sailed to success at the Open last year at the ripe age of 42, while the previous winner, Darren Clarke, was also 42 at the time of his 2011 win. Adding even more drive to Mickelson- the chance to build upon his first ever win in Britain after his amazing victory at the Scottish Open this past weekend. The American will be hoping the practice from Castle Stuart can translate to success at Muirfield, and help ease the sting of yet another U.S. Open miss.

  1. A sure thing can quickly crumble…

Just ask Adam Scott. At the 2012 British Open, Scott let slip a 4-stroke lead with only four holes to play. Virtually handing the Claret Jug straight to Ernie Els. At the time it was spoke of as the greatest meltdown in golfing history. After a brilliant play over the first three days, Scott lost his nerve bogeying the final four holes and losing out on what would have been the first major victory of his career. The Australian has since gone on to win 2013 Masters, but this weekend at Muirfield, he will definitely be looking to tackle the one that got away.

  1. Practice Maybe Makes Perfect...

Last Thursday when Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els teed off at the Scottish Open, both were decidedly confident in their decision to play the week before a major tournament. “Most of the guys are trying to work out how to peak and play their best golf next week, and for me, it's to play the week before,” said Mickelson. The practice paid off for the American as he secured a win on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with Branden Grace. Setting him on wave he’ll be hoping to ride straight through his rounds at Muirfield. But if practice is what the returning British Open champion Els was going for, he was sadly disappointed. After a poor showing on the greens, the South African missed the cut Friday, and was promptly given the weekend off instead. Meanwhile, three other big players have taken the route of no competitive play before hitting Muirfield this week.

Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, and Rory McIlroy have all spent the last month since the U.S. Open away from the Tour, for various reasons including injury and exhaustion. Leaving us to wonder, whose approach will equate to a winning formula this weekend?

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