7 Predictions for the 2015 Open Championship

St. Andrews Golf Course, image: giantbomb.com

St. Andrews Golf Course, image: giantbomb.com

At Golfballs.com, we like to speculate on things, but only a fool would venture into this prediction business without a good and faithful caddy. And when it comes to predicting the future outcomes of big championships, we’ve brought one along which has been doing this sort of thing since Jack Nicklaus was in short pants…

Prediction: This is the only Open Championship preview you will read without the words “Grand Slam” appearing after the first sentence.

Magic 8 Ball Says: It is certain

Prediction: Jordan Spieth’s gallery will be larger this year than last year.

Jordan Speith, image: abcnews.go.com

Jordan Speith, image: abcnews.go.com

Last year at Royal Liverpool, let’s face it, if Jordan Spieth and caddy Michael Greller had switched places, few outside the ropes would have been paying enough attention to know the difference. Spieth was a 20-year old Texan who was indistinguishable from most every other young buck on the PGA Tour, with one tour win and a little noise at the Masters to his credit. He was also on his way to finishing a forgettable 36th. Since his 21st birthday, however, all Spieth has done is win, with five tournaments to his name including the Australian Open, the Masters, and the U.S. Open.

Magic 8 Ball Says: It is decidedly so

Prediction: The biggest cheers at the Open Championship will be for Tom Watson when he stands on the bridge over the Swilken Burn for the last time – on Sunday, not Friday.

Tom Watson at St. Andrews, image: dglsports.ca

Tom Watson at St. Andrews, image: dglsports.ca

A caddie who was working the 2009 British Open got to witness firsthand the sheer determination Tom Watson has when it comes to the game. Labeled a “vicious competitor,” the man won’t quit until he’s given it all he has. Watson and his five Open championships will be making his last ever Open appearance this year, and you can bet he wants to play all four rounds. St. Andrews is not overly long and if the track stays fast, the 65-year old Watson will be able to keep up with those bombers four decades younger.

Magic 8 Ball Says: Without a doubt

Prediction: Dustin Johnson will be low American

Dustin Johnson, image: flickr.com

Dustin Johnson, image: flickr.com

The R&A has not done Dustin Johnson many favors by pairing him with Justin Spieth for the first two rounds of the Open Championship. Maybe Spieth will strap the U.S. Open trophy to a pull cart and take it along with them, as if Johnson needs another reminder of his bungled 72nd green at Chambers Bay. Don’t forget, the long-balling Johnson birdied the par 3 on the 17th, and hit two spectacular shots on the 601-yard 18th that no one on the planet could hit, just to get in position for that unfortunate display of ham-fisted putting. It says here Johnson has put Chambers Bay behind him and is ready to overpower St. Andrews.

Magic 8 Ball Says: Reply hazy

Prediction: No Brit will win the Open Championship

British Golf Fans, image: tumblr.com

British Golf Fans, image: tumblr.com

The last subject of the Queen to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews was Nick Faldo in 1990. Before that, you have to go all the way back before World War II to find a native-born golfer to win at “the Home of Golf.” This year’s best bet, Rory McIlroy, has been shelved by an ankle injury. Justin Rose, the only other Brit playing at a championship level the past few years, has missed the cut in the Open Championship three of the last five years, including at St. Andrews in 2010. Former World Number One Luke Donald has to get into these majors through qualifying these days, Lee Westwood’s window to win a major appears to be nearly closed, and Ian Poulter’s Twitter account makes more news than his golf game.

Magic 8 Ball Says: Most likely

Prediction: Tiger Woods will be on the leaderboard on Sunday

Tiger Woods at St. Andrews, image: usatoday.com

Tiger Woods at St. Andrews, image: usatoday.com

Enough is enough. A slump is one thing, but the golfing gods are using the greatest golfer of this century as a punching bag in the majors lately. It has to end sometime and at St. Andrews, where Woods has won twice, is as likely a place as any.

Magic 8 Ball Says: As we see it, yes

Prediction: Louis Oosthuizen will raise the Claret Jug

Louis Oosthuizen Wins 2010 British Open, image: chicago.cbslocal.com

Louis Oosthuizen Wins 2010 British Open, image: chicago.cbslocal.com

Unless you want to predict a golf tournament on hunches, the only way to handicap is to look at prior success on the golf course, and recent form. Louis Oosthuizen won the Open Championship by SEVEN strokes the last time it was played on the Old Course in 2010, and then in this past U.S. Open the sweet-swinging South African shot 66-66-67 in the final three rounds after a discouraging opening 77 that was infested with bad breaks.

Magic 8 Ball Says: Outlook good

Since no one can be certain (not even our Magic 8 Ball), we can’t wait to see how our predictions play out. Want a Magic 8 Ball of your own? Check out our for some wisdom on the links.

Brad Pecot

Director of Marketing, Golfballs.com

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