My Journey to the Open Championship

This series is to document my research process for the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

The field for the Open Championship consists of 156 players. There are a ton of ways to qualify for the Open, but frankly that really does not matter. In fact, the field is currently about 100 golfers with regional and local qualifying still open until July 2nd. One thing that we can do is start eliminating players from DFS consideration. Sure, a no-name qualifier or old pro could compete and surprise all of us, but I find that unlikely. As such, of the 100 players that are in the tournament as of today, I count 32 that have no chance. This includes former champions like Todd Hamilton (Who? Exactly), David Duval, Stewart Cink, John Daly, Mark Calcavecchia (I bet they even spell his name wrong on a name tag), Justin Leonard, Paul Lawrie and Ben Curtis. Does this makes things easier or increase the odds of getting 6/6 through the cut? Both yes and no. Yes in that I think we can significantly cut down the number of golfers we need to do research on. No in that it is still difficult to get the exact six golfers correct. And of course finishing position will matter quite a bit to aggregate DFS scoring.

So, what will happen to the field as the tournament progresses? The cut is pretty simple. The top 70 golfers + ties make the cut. That’s it. While this is a different course, the cut the past three years ranged from +3 to +5.

Odds are available for the players in the tourney so far. We’ll get sharper odds as the tournament draws closer, but right now we can treat the following information as a starter. Koepka is a 7/1 favorite, closely followed by Rory at 8/1, DJ at 14/1, Eldrick Woods at 14/1 and Justin Rose at 16/1. Over the next few weeks, I will delve into numerous aspects of the field to try and determine who has a better chance on this course. Looking at players that perform well on links style courses is one angle to explore. The best players in the world play well everywhere, but there is an edge to be had by identifying those who are more comfortable on links courses. Players that can keep the ball low, scramble well and have a ton of experience playing in the wind are all hallmarks of good links style players.

Another area to explore is the experience level (or lack thereof) of players in Majors. Majors are different animals than other tournaments. The field is extremely tough as virtually all the best players in the world are there. Crowds are larger and can create high pressure shots for players not necessarily ready for this. Also, a player’s performance at a certain course can give you a sense of his comfort level with said course. That does not apply here, but I will look at performance in Majors over the past 2 years as something to weigh in my evaluation of each player. Furthermore, if this is a player’s first Open Championship, I will eliminate him from consideration.

As you can see, looking at the Field pre-pricing (DK pricing not out yet) will be an important part of my research process. I will write about each angle I discussed in future blogs in this series.

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