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The Official Barstool 2022 Open Championship At St. Andrews Preview

Richard Heathcote/R&A. Getty Images.

Welcome to the 150th Open Championship at the Home of Golf. It's an absolute pleasure to be here. Golf's most timeless tournament is back where the game was born and the world's best are here to play it. Yes, that includes the LIV guys. There's much to be played out with regards to those fellas and their status in future majors so this may be the last time we see everybody together for a while. Sad!

Collin Morikawa is your defending champion after overtaking 3rd round leader Louis Oosthuizen with a final round 66 and holding off Jordan Spieth at Royal St. George's. It was a rare feat in that Morikawa won in his first Open Championship appearance, a tournament usually reserved for wily veterans who know the ins and outs of links-style golf.

Ironically enough, it was also Spieth who narrowly missed out on a playoff by 1 shot here last time the Open was at St. Andrews in his quest to win the first 3 majors of 2015. Instead it was Zach Johnson who prevailed in a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman, edging out Oost by a shot in the 4-hole playoff. It was his 30-foot birdie putt on the 72nd green to get him into the playoff that was the highlight of the tournament.

Last year's and 2015's leaderboards, along with recent winners of the Claret Jug and at St. Andrews…

2021 Leaderboard

2015 Leaderboard at the Old Course

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Recent Winners

Recent Winners At The Old Course

The (Old) Course

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I mean… what else can you say about the Old Course? Place is magnificent. An incredible test of strategic golf and a complete embodiment of what links golf is all about. There's not a tree on the entire property and the place is littered with a bajillion bunkers (the actual number is 112), many of them invisible from the tee. It's wide open which leaves the course totally susceptible to the wind sweeping off of St. Andrews' Bay from the northeast and the variety of mounds and humps on both the fairways and greens makes positioning extremely important out here. 

My favorite feature just might be the double greens. Only 1, 9, 17, and 18 have their own greens. The rest of the holes share a green with another hole. You can easily get a sense of which holes are matched with which in the diagram above. Double greens mean massive putting surfaces, so you're gonna see a ton of lag putts from on and off the green.

Another interesting feature is that the course was designed many many years ago to be able to be played in either direction, meaning you could play the holes more or less backwards. The course is now played counter-clockwise, but there are some bunkers out there that are oriented as obstacles to be played in then opposite direction. That means you could find yourself in a pot bunker with no backswing because the wall of the bunker is behind you as opposed to in front of you. Word of advice. Avoid the bunkers at all costs. Tiger famously avoided ever finding himself in any of the bunkers when he won here in 2005. He also commented on the reverse course back in 2015:

"I’ve always wanted to play it backwards, one time before I die. I think that would be just a blast because I can see how certain bunkers – why would they put that there? And then if you play it backwards, you see it. It’s very apparent. That’s totally in play. That one day would be a lot of fun to be able to do."

This week we're playing it straight though, measuring out at about 7,305 yards. That's pretty respectable length for a course built nearly 500 years ago. There's only two par 3's and two par 5's, so obviously that leaves us 14 par 4's. The key is to make your money on what's called "The Loop", which is holes 7-12. This is where you boomerang at the far end of the course and make your way back home. Both par 3's are squeezed into The Loop, along with four other par 4's. The longest of which measures out at 386 yards. For pros that can blast it well over 300 yards, this is a huge opportunity for guys to make some red numbers.

The biggest factor this week (of course) is the weather. In particular… the wind. The wind can vary on a minute-to-minute basis, which means players can play their rounds in drastically different conditions than others on the same day. The Open is the one major championship that has everybody go off of the 1st tee on Thursday and Friday, so there's not a defined morning/afternoon wave. There's very much a "luck of the draw' element at play here.

Lastly, the wind can be magnified by how firm the golf course is. Once a ball gets going on the ground with the wind, there's no knowing when it might stop. And by the looks of things… it's lookin pretty firm and potentially baked out out there. Great news for fans of the course..

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Best Hole - The Road Hole, Par 4 495 Yards

David Cannon. Getty Images.

This is an easy one and is definitely the toughest hole on the course. Hell, it played as the toughest Par 4 on the entire PGA Tour in 2015, playing at a scoring average of 4.66. It could easily be considered a par 5 based on the standards many other courses use on Tour. 

It plays 495 yards, often times into the wind. You've got to hit a blind tee shot over the corner of the Old Course Hotel and then there's hardly an even lie on the fairway, where you're probably hitting mid to long iron in. Then you've got one of the most famous bunkers in the world protecting the left side of the green and Old Station Road running directly behind the green with a stone wall bordering the far side. That wall can create some fascinating predicaments and heroic shots, as demonstrated by the one and only Miguel Angel Jimenez in the 2010 Open.

It's obviously a hole rife with potential disaster and will almost certainly play a part in deciding the champion on Sunday. Hell, Spieth made bogey here in 2015 and found himself on the outside looking in…

The Weather

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We've got wind, which was inevitable but we love to see it anyway. Thing is, these forecasts can change on a dime. There can be some real opportunities when it comes to live betting given impending weather. 

The Coverage and Tee Times

14+ hours of daily golf on TV! There will be plenty more to watch on TheOpen.com as well. Hopefully Peacock reels the commercials in a bit that made the US Open miserable.

We've got ourselves a 5 hour time difference between Scotland and the east coast stateside. I'll save you the click and let you know Tiger is off at 9:59 AM ET on Thursday and 4:58 AM ET on Friday.

Let's Talk About Tiger

I did a blog thing here. You should read it.

The Trophy

Matthew Lewis/R&A. Getty Images.

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It's one of the most iconic trophies in all of sports. One of the oldest too. Most simply call it the Claret Jug, but it's actual name is "The Golf Champion Trophy". How's that for a name? It's got some of the greatest players to ever play engraved on it. You can drink out of it too. That's a huge prerequisite for any great trophy. This is a surefire 10/10 trophy.

Also, fun fact… they used to play for a Championship BELT. Somehow the custom came to be that if you won it 3 times in a row, it was yours forever. At one point Young Tom Morris won it for the 3rd straight year, so they just straight up didn't have a tournament the next year. Guy literally canceled the 1871 Open Championship. From there, the concept for the Claret Jug was born in 1872, but it wasn't ready yet for the 1872 Open… which Young Tom won. So they gave him a medal instead. Sure enough, some cat named Tom Kidd won the 1873 Open at St. Andrews and was the first Champion to be given the Claret Jug, and Young Tom passed away in 1875 at the young age of 24 having never won the Claret Jug. Tragic.

The Board

Rory McIlroy is your betting favorite at the Barstool Sportsbook at +1000. But wait! The fine folks over at the Sportsbook have boosted those odds to +1250. My golly what a treat.

Rory was a hot name ahead of the last Open played at St. Andrews in 2015 as the defending champ, but had to miss it after sustaining an ankle injury playing soccer with his pals. Rory did play here in 2010 though, and famously shot a 63 on Thursday here as a 21-year old to hold the outright lead. He promptly turned around and posted an 80 on Friday. He rebounded with a 69 and 68 on the weekend to finish T-3 in one of his typical "what could have been" major tournament finishes. He's having an awesome summer in light of all that PGA vs LIV stuff, hence his spot here at the top of the board.

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Xander Schauffele is right there behind him at +1400 coming off his W at the Scottish Open (and the two wins that preceded that one) and is as good a bet as any. I grabbed some action on him at +2000 to win the Open on Saturday night before he closed out the Scottish, so he's on my card. I wouldn't blame anybody taking him at +1400 either.

However, there is just too much evidence pointing in Jordan Spieth's direction for me to ignore. I simply have to take him at +1600. He was sooo damn close here in 2015 and obviously won in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, but his links golf prowess extends well beyond that too. Even in the midst of his monster 2018-2020 slump, the Open was a safe haven for him. He finished T-8 and T-20 during that stretch (no tournament in 2020 due to COVID) and has never missed the cut in his 8 Open starts. He's had a strong 2022 season with a win and a handful of other top finishes and he contended last week at the Scottish. He's just so clever in these types of settings and the numbers back that up.

Other Plays

Jon Rahm To Win +1600 - Too good to pass up. Hardly anybody's even talking about the guy and for my money he's the best golfer in the world the last 3 years. No slouch at links golf either, finished T-3 at Royal St. George's last year and has won multiple Irish Opens.

Jon Rahm Top Arizona State -137 - His competition is Paul Casey (guy's back is crippled), Victor Perez, Phil (washed), and Chan Kim. This is basically a Victor Perez v Rahm matchup in my eyes. Take the free money.

Jon Rahm Top Spanish -137 - His competition is Sergio (washed and an asshole), Adri Arnaus, and Pablo Larrazabal. Take the free money.

Adam Scott Top 10 +800 - Experience matters. This is his 5th (!) Open at St. Andrews and finished 10th here in 2015.

Marc Leishman Top 10 +1100 - Losing here in a playoff in 2015 is enough for me to sprinkle.

Robert MacIntyre Top 10 +1100 - He's Top 10'd each of the two Opens he's played in. Outrageous price for a Scot who knows the links.

Tiger Woods To Make The Cut -134 - I think he could play his way around St. Andrews on his knees and still make the cut

Winner To Birdie 72nd Hole +163 -  Pretty short hole. Birdie is definitely there to be had. ZJ did it in 2015.

There ya have it. Let's have a lovely week out there at the Open Championship.

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