Eliminate all but Geoff Ogilvy
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 EliminatedThomas Aiken
Rafael Cabrera Bello
Eduardo De La Riva
Bo Van Pelt
2. Seven of the last eight Open Championship winners had at least 10 prior Open Championship starts.
11 eliminated, 33 remaining
3. No major winner has been over 46 years old since Julius Boros won the 1968 PGA Championship.
11 eliminated, 22 remaining
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
5. The last four British Opens have been won by players 33rd or lower in the world rankings.
10 eliminated, eight remaining
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
7. There have been 18 different winners in the last 19 majors.
Three eliminated, one remaining
Your winner – Geoff Ogilvy
THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
The Open returns to Scotland and Muirfield for the first time since 2002. Who will hold the Claret Jug this time around?