A collection of my golf thoughts from the week plus some player performance/form notes for the next few days.
Henrik Stenson claimed his first, and Sweden’s first male, major title with victory in the Open at Royal Troon. American Phil Mickelson was hugely unlucky to not have claimed a sixth major in finishing second to Stenson beaten by Stenson’s final round 63 and two strokes. Mickelson’s final tally of 17 under would have claimed victory in 140 of the previous 144 editions of the Open. Elsewhere there were some good stories with playoffs on both the US PGA men’s tour and LPGA. Australian Aaron Baddeley secured his first title since the Northern Trust Open in February of 2011 in winning the Barbasol Championship. The triumph during a major weekend means the purse for the winner is ‘only’ USD$630,000 compare with the usual $1.3-$1.5 million. Still it’s a nice holiday. In Ohio Lydia Ko celebrated confirmation of her Olympic team selection winning back the Marathon Classic title which she won in 2014, beating South Korea’s Mirim Lee and Thailand Ariya Jutanugarn in a nice tune-up for the women’s British Open at the end of the month at the Woburn Golf Club in Buckinghamshire.
Player performance notes:
Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me and/or are related to capital investments, if that’s your thing, in the weekend’s big event.
The Canadian Open
There is no European Tour even this weekend so before the US PGA Championship in a fortnight in New Jersey the Canadian Open comes up in Ontario where world number one Jason Day is the defending champion at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.
20 or lower: Dustin Johnson. The week after a major is always tricky and quality of the top few players can dictate attendance due to sponsorship commitments, as is the case with Johnson and Day. Johnson finished an impressive T9 at Royal Troon with consistent if not flashy scores of 71,69, 72 and 70.
20-50: Brandt Snedeker, won this event in 2013 and has the best low round, 63, of the tournament’s recent editions. Finished T22 at the Open.
50-100: Matt Fitzpatrick: Missing the cut at the Open might not be the worst outcome for Fitzpatrick as he gears up for the PGA Championship with this trip to Canada having had a hectic period of golf. Remember the 21 year-old did win last month on the European Tour.
50-100: Harold Varner III – Along-with 100-200 shot Tyrell Hatton who finished T5, Varner was one of my wider thoughts for the Open. The withdrawal of Tiger Woods has given Varner a spot in next week’s PGA Championship so he has extra motivation to perform well here after making the cut at the Open but then struggling
50-100: Colt Knost, Missed the cut at the Open but before that three of his previous five tour events saw him place T4 or better. The 31 year-old has yet to salute in 166 US Tour appearances but has won twice on the second-tier tour.
100-200: Cameron Percy- The Australian qualified for this event on Monday and has reasonable recent form on tour with T13 at the Barracuda Championship. Tees off in the first group on Thursday.
200-500: Stewart Cink – T5 for this event last year and shown little respect now, but that’s because the 2009 Open winner’s best this season was T17 in November. But horses for courses.
500 or more: Peter Malnati – An honest analyser of his own game Malnati has won on tour this year but also missed 15 of his last 16 cuts! However in a field which isn’t deep outside of the top two he’s better than this.
Greens in regulation:
Elsewhere, going from Ohio to Illinois the LPGA’s UL International Crown will be staged for the second time with Spain the defending champs in the team-based event. Oddly the eight-team format doesn’t feature New Zealand, the nation of the current world number one Ko as they didn’t qualify with the field set in April. There are a host of experience players on board with 140 LPGA wins between the field but interest may lie in the form of 16 of the field who have qualified for the Olympics. As a prelude to the Ladies Open the Scottish Open is also on this weekend with the two-time local champ Catriona Matthew the main draw for the European LGA event at Dundonald Links.
Whilst plenty of focus is always on golf in the United States of America a golfer from the US found themselves on an odd stage on Tuesday with Natalie Gulbis speaking at the Republican National Convention in support of failed USFL owner, golf fan and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Gulbis, who has courted controversy during a career which has met with limited on-course success (she did win the Evian Masters in 2007) said Trump’s edict to never fear challenging the ‘status quo’ was significant to Gulbis. Trump is clearly loved by the golfing fraternity if the world number 492 is keen to speak for him on such a large stage, and open yourself up for the associated ridicule.