Picking the Open Championship: Last 18 Major Winners or the Field? (I’m Taking the Field)

The Open Championship gets underway in less than 24 hours from Muirfield in Scottland, and, as it’s been with the last 20 some odd major tournaments, the field is wide open.

Remember the days when the major winners went Tiger Woods, then some random guy, then Tiger rattled off three or four in a row and then some random guy, and then two more went to Tiger? Those days are far and away gone. Forget the days of take-your-pick with Tiger vs. The Field. Nowadays, it’s take-your-pick with Any of the Last 18 Major Tournament Winners vs. The Field, and I’ve gotta tell you, I think I’m going with the field (p.s. Tiger Woods is included in The Field here).

After Padraig Harrington closed out the 2008 season by winning the Open Championship and PGA Championship back-to-back, there has been exactly one repeat winner. Don’t believe me (which I have no idea why you wouldn’t)? Here’s the list:

  • Angel Cabrera, 2009 Masters
  • Lucas Glover, 2009 U.S. Open
  • Stewart Cink, 2009 Open Championship
  • Yang Yong-eun, 2009 PGA Championship
  • Phil Mickelson, 2010 Masters
  • Graeme McDowell, 2010 U.S. Open
  • Louis Oosthuizen, 2010 Open Championship
  • Martin Kaymer, 2010 PGA Championship
  • Charl Schwartzel, 2011 Masters
  • Rory McIlroy, 2011 U.S. Open*
  • Darren Clarke, 2011 Open Championship
  • Keegan Bradley, 2011 PGA Championship
  • Bubba Watson, 2012 Masters
  • Webb Simpson, 2012 U.S. Open
  • Ernie Els, 2012 Open Championship
  • Rory McIlroy, 2012 PGA Championship*
  • Adam Scott, 2013 Masters
  • Justin Rose, 2013 U.S. Open

That’s a lot of names. That list also represents the time between Tiger Woods’ last major championship (his one-legged U.S. Open win occurred the major prior to Harrington’s two wins) and the present day. Anno Tiger (AT), if you will. Priot to 5 AT, rankings were usually a good judge of how things would go when one of the Big Four was on the line. Now, they might as well be reversed, jumbled, or just completely thrown out the window—Christ, an amateur was in contention heading into the weekend and well into Saturday for the U.S. Open at Merion.

All of this is just the long way of saying I feel completely comfortable picking The Field, even if that means putting them up against any of the past 18 major tournament winners.

Happy golfing.

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