Commentary

Eliminate all but Geoff Ogilvy

Updated: July 16, 2013, 2:56 PM ET
By Matt Willis | ESPN.com

Here we are for the year's third major championship. And lately, this one has been more unpredictable than all the others.

Over the past two years, a 42-year-old has come away with the Claret Jug, with Darren Clarke taking it two years ago and Ernie Els last year. Before that, Louis Oosthuizen and Stewart Cink came from outside the top 30 in the world rankings to win their first major. And hardly anybody saw the Todd Hamilton and Ben Curtis wins coming.

So naturally, this is a good time to try to pick a winner. But I'll do it my own way.

You'll hear a lot of picks this week. Some will use some statistics, many will go with their gut, and many will just pick Tiger Woods.

I use a different method, using a mix of historical facts and statistics to tell you why 155 of the golfers in the field can't possibly win. By process of elimination, the one man left standing will be this year's next major champion. I call it The Eliminator.

Let's start by blowing apart the field. Seven of the last eight Open Championship winners had a finish of sixth or better in a previous Open. That takes out 112 of the starting field, leaving just 44 to compete.

Experience really counts when it comes to winning The Open. In fact, seven of the last eight winners had at least 10 previous starts in the event. Another 11 relative newcomers are gone, including Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Rickie Fowler.

But too much of anything can be a bad thing, including experience. Since 48-year-old Julius Boros won the 1968 PGA Championship, no major winner has been over 46 years old. Among the 11 eliminated are Tom Watson and the World's Most Interesting Golfer, Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Since the World Golf Rankings began being tracked in 1986, only one of 110 majors have been won from outside the top 200. That's four more gone.

Don't go too high though, because the last four Open Championships have been won by players 33rd or lower in the rankings. Among the eight guys gone are several you might've heard of -- Woods, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson among them.

Look for previous major success when you pick a winner. Seven of the last eight Open champions had a prior top-10 finish in both the Masters and the U.S. Open. That will take out half of the eight remaining, giving us the final four.

You may have noticed a string of variety in our major winners recently. Eighteen different players have won the last 19 majors. So let's take out the three remaining players who have won a major in that span (McIlroy is the only player with multiple wins in that span, and he's already gone). The eliminations of Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera and Stewart Cink leave us with just one.

Nobody saw several past Open Championship winners coming, and I expect this week to come out of nowhere as well. That's why Geoff Ogilvy is The Eliminator's pick to hoist the Claret Jug.

The Eliminator: Step-by-Step

1.Seven of the last eight British Open winners had a prior finish of sixth or better at the event.

112 eliminated, 44 remaining

Golfers Eliminated

Thomas Aiken

Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Jonas Blixt
Gregory Bourdy
Keegan Bradley
Mark Brown
Scott Brown
Rafael Cabrera Bello
Bud Cauley
K.J. Choi
Tim Clark
George Coetzee
Nicolas Colsaerts
Stephen Dartnall
Jason Day
Eduardo De La Riva
Graham Delaet
Jamie Donaldson
Jason Dufner
Ken Duke
Harris English
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
Oliver Fisher
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Oscar Floren
Grant Forrest
Steven Fox
Marcus Fraser
Hiroyuki Fujita
Stephen Gallacher
Robert Garrigus
Lucas Glover
Tano Goya
Branden Grace
Luke Guthrie
Bill Haas
Peter Hanson
Justin Harding
Tyrrell Hatton
Russell Henley
Billy Horschel
John Huh
Mikko Ilonen
Makoto Inoue
Thongchai Jaidee
Scott Jamieson
Steven Jeffress
Zach Johnson
Brendan Jones
Shiv Kapur
Shingo Katayama
Martin Kaymer
Hyung-Sung Kim
K.T. Kim
Brooks Koepka
Kenichi Kuboya
Matt Kuchar
Martin Laird
Marc Leishman
Darryn Lloyd
Shane Lowry
David Lynn
Matteo Manassero
Daisuke Maruyama
Hideki Matsuyama
Gareth Maybin
Richard McEvoy
Francesco Molinari
Ryan Moore
Jimmy Mullen
George Murray
Alexander Noren
Thorbjorn Olesen
Carl Pettersson
Scott Piercy
D.A. Points
Garrick Porteous
Rhys Pugh
Alvaro Quiros
Richie Ramsay
Brett Rumford
Lloyd Saltman
Charl Schwartzel
John Senden
Marcel Siem
Webb Simpson
Jordan Spieth
Scott Stallings
Kyle Stanley
Richard Sterne
Ben Stow
Kevin Streelman
Toru Taniguchi
Josh Teater
Michael Thompson
Steven Tiley
Bo Van Pelt
Camilo Villegas
John Wade
Johnson Wagner
Jimmy Walker
Marc Warren
Nick Watney
Bubba Watson
Boo Weekley
Bernd Wiesberger
Danny Willett
Thaworn Wiratchant
Gareth Wright
Ashun Wu
Y.E. Yang

2. Seven of the last eight Open Championship winners had at least 10 prior Open Championship starts.

11 eliminated, 33 remaining

Golfers Eliminated

Brian Davis
Niclas Fasth
Rickie Fowler
Dustin Johnson
Hunter Mahan
Graeme McDowell
Rory McIlroy
Louis Oosthuizen
Brandt Snedeker
Henrik Stenson
Chris Wood

3. No major winner has been over 46 years old since Julius Boros won the 1968 PGA Championship.

11 eliminated, 22 remaining

Golfers Eliminated

Mark Calcavecchia
Fred Couples
Nick Faldo
Todd Hamilton
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Tom Lehman
Sandy Lyle
Mark O'Meara
Peter Senior
Vijay Singh
Tom Watson

4. Since the Official World Golf Rankings began in 1986, only one of 110 majors have been won from outside the top 200.

Four eliminated, 18 remaining

Golfers Eliminated

Darren Clarke
David Duval
Robert Karlsson
Justin Leonard

5. The last four British Opens have been won by players 33rd or lower in the world rankings.

10 eliminated, eight remaining

Golfers Eliminated

Luke Donald
Ernie Els
Jim Furyk
Sergio Garcia
Phil Mickelson
Ian Poulter
Justin Rose
Adam Scott
Lee Westwood
Tiger Woods

6. Seven of the last eight Open Championship winners had a prior top-10 finish in both the Masters and the U.S. Open.

Four eliminated, four remaining

Golfers Eliminated

Thomas Bjorn
Ben Curtis
Freddie Jacobson
Paul Lawrie

7. There have been 18 different winners in the last 19 majors.

Three eliminated, one remaining

Golfers Eliminated

Angel Cabrera
Stewart Cink
Padraig Harrington

Your winner – Geoff Ogilvy

Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.