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We have your 2018 British Open Championship rankings and expert picks, as we do each week of the PGA Tour season.
We’re here for the third major of the year, which will be the final major of the year starting in 2019. The Open is special for so many reasons, but it could be particularly special this week at Carnoustie with a baked-out course running firm and fast. Golf fans will conjure memories of Tiger Woods winning the 2000 and 2006 Opens in very brown conditions. Now we have a score more players who could turn in those kinds of performances given the conditions.
The greens will be slow compared to the other three majors but perhaps just in line with what we see week-to-week on the PGA Tour. The fairways will be fiery, compelling players to often hit less than driver to set up as short of an approach shot as they’re comfortable hitting.
We do have an awkward time picking these top 15 players, in large part because so many of the best talents haven’t played but once (if at all) since Shinnecock Hills. But that’s our job, so let’s dig in!
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2018 British Open Championship rankings: Top 15 picks
1. Brooks Koepka — Koepka hasn’t touched a club since the Open win, outside of maintaining a previously made commitment to the Travelers before he successfully defended his title. But I think he’ll be ready, and this golf course should suit him well.
2. Dustin Johnson — Another guy who hasn’t played since Shinnecock, DJ has finished inside the top eight in his last three starts. Stud.
3. Jon Rahm — Rahm’s biggest strength is his driving, a beautiful combo of length and accuracy. Won’t need the length with the driver, but it should help him get easily to his putter, which is lethal.
4. Justin Thomas — Not his best in his last four starts, but he does have a pair of top-eight finishes. He should thrive here.
5. Rory McIlroy — It probably looks crazy to put Rory so high on the list given how often he seems frustrated by his game. But his British Open track record, as well his understated run of good finishes, earn him high marks.
6. Tiger Woods — I’m shoving all in on Tiger this week. His driver is out of his hand. He’s putting better. His iron play is superior. What’s not to like?
7. Francesco Molinari — There are obviously more talented players in the field this week, but his form is fantastic. Won the BMW PGA Championship and the Quicken Loans National. He won the B-flight at the Deere. Yeah, those aren’t major fields, but he’s really confident.
8. Justin Rose — Rose could be anywhere from 3 to this point. Probably should be higher. Look at his current run, and it’s studly. Was T-12 here in 2007.
9. Rickie Fowler — Fowler hasn’t finished outside the top 20 in any start since mid-May at The Players. He’s coming around, and Gullane seems to have him happy (again) ahead of the third major.
10. Jordan Spieth — I feel like I have to mention Spieth, just in case we have a repeat of last year, when he won after a lot of us kind of wrote him off for the season. Otherwise, I’d be writing him off again. Strong runs here in two of the last three years.
11. Paul Casey — Casey again deserves strong consideration for a major given his play of late. Will he win? Who knows, but he’s gotta be a consideration.
12. Hideki Matsuyama — Matsuyama has posted some really good finishes of late, if it were practically anyone other than him posting them. OK record in this championship, and his approach play should shine.
13. Sergio Garcia — Garcia is flying under the radar, but he loves this time of year. He played well in the French Open, and he’s got a great track record (with plenty of heartbreak) in this championship.
14. Zach Johnson — Johnson did well enough at the Deere to suggest he’s playing OK, including top-20 finishes in his last three starts. He’s the 2015 Open winner, and his length won’t be a huge liability this week.
15. Alex Noren — Won in his last start at the French Open. Top 25s in his starts since the BMW PGA Championship, where he finished T-3.
My primary DraftKings lineup
- Brooks Koepka – $9,200
- Tiger Woods – $8,900
- Francesco Molinari – $8,600
- Marc Leishman – $8,000
- Russell Knox – $7,700
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat – $7,300
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