143rd Open Championship
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Hoylake, Wirral, Merseyside, England
Yards: 7,312 via theopen.com
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Bentgrass, fescue, Poa annua; 5,500 square feet on average.
Rough: Deep fescue, ryegrass and Bentgrass
Water Hazards: 0
Course Architect: George Morris and Robert Chambers (1869)
Winner’s Share: $1,440,000
FexExCup Points: 600 to the winner
Defending Champion: Phil Mickelson claimed his first Claret Jug as he ran rough shot with 66 on Sunday to win by three shots.
Dates: July 17-20
Notes: Hoylake is only hosting The Open for the second time since 1967. Tiger Woods won here in 2006 by firing 18-under-par 270 in near drought conditions minus any wind.
Recent History Lessons
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 23 of 34 events in 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane and Kevin Streelman have won for the USA.
Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed five victories. Hideki Matsuyama joined Seung-yul Noh as the Asian representatives and Martin Kaymer now has a play pal as Justin Rose joins the European effort. Cabrera will fly the flag for South America.
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd and Hideki Matsuyama are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had nine in 34 events so far in 2014.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. He has been joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia, Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua, Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson (35), joined them at Riviera. Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30) and Matt Jones (33), all first-timers, flew the flag before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Since the first major, Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35) and Justin Rose (33) are the prime time players to cash winner’s checks.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.
Australian John Senden (42) and Argentine Angel Cabrera (44) are the only two crusty veterans to claim victory this season.
Pay Attention: It’s FREE!
Since 2000, eight of the 14 champions have had a blue passport from the USA.
After a stretch of first-time major winners dominating over the last five years, three of the last four majors have been previous winners. Phil Mickelson (multiple) won the 2013 Open, Bubba Watson 2014 Masters (second Masters) and Martin Kaymer (second major, 2010 PGA) claimed those trophies. Only Jason Dufner at the 2013 PGA Championship was a first-timer.
This is only the second time that Hoylake has hosted The Open since 1967. Tiger Woods won here in 2006.
Paul Lawrie began the final round in 1999 10 shots behind Jan Van de Velde before defeating him in a playoff. Anything can happen if the wind blows this week.
Tiger Woods won the 2000 version by eight shots, the largest margin of victory since 1913.
Ben Curtis was the last player to win on his maiden voyage in 2003. Before that, it was Tom Watson in 1975. #rare
The lowest round recorded is 63 done by eight different players. Rory McIlroy was the last do it in 2010 at St. Andrews. Gamers might remember he followed that first round score with 80 on Friday. See, this has been going on for a while!
The oldest major champion in the modern era was Roberto de Vincenzo at 44 years and 93 days and he won at Hoylake. Stewart Cink prevented Tom Watson from taking over this record when he defeated him in a playoff in 2009 at Turnberry.
The youngest winner (modern era) was Seve Ballesteros in 1979 at the age of 22.
The last amateur to win The Open was Bobby Jones in 1930. He also won at Hoylake.
Royal Liverpool has hosted 11 previous Open Championships.
2006: Tiger Woods
1967: Roberto de Vicenzo
1956: Peter Thomson
1947: Fred Daly
1936: Alf Padgham
1930: Bobby Jones (am)
1924: Walter Hagen
1913: John Henry Taylor
1907: Arnaud Massy
1902: Sandy Herd
1897: Harold Hilton (am)
Padraig Harrington is the last player to defend the championship as he won in 2007 at Carnoustie and 2008 at Royal Birkdale. Interestingly enough, Woods had won the two years before that with a victory at St. Andrews in 2005 and the 2006 championship at Royal Liverpool. Bizarre.
The only player to defend their title in their 40s was Old Tom Morris.
Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Peter Thomson (three in a row), Bobby Locke, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, James Braid, Harry Vardon, John Henry Taylor, Bob Ferguson (three in a row), Jamie Anderson (three in a row), Tom Morris, Junior (four in a row) and Old Tom Morris are the others who have defended successfully. #Royalty
Only 10 players have won a TOUR event the week before a major and have gone on to win said major the following week. Phil Mickelson was the last to accomplish this last year by winning the Scottish Open and The Open.
Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer are the only players on TOUR with multiple victories in the 2013-14.
The only two players in the top 50 OWGR who are not playing this week are Americans Steve Stricker and Charles Howell III.
This Will Win You a Bar Bet
St. Andrews has hosted The Open 27 times, the most of any course in the rotation. This will be the 12th Open at Royal Liverpool.
Inside the Ropes
Since Hoylake is hosting only its second championship since 1967, course history is irrelevant this week. In 2006 Tiger Woods destroyed Royal Liverpool by bagging his driver and using long irons off the tee. He hit driver once on the week and finished 18-under. His strategy was simple: avoid the bunkers at all costs. He did. He won by three shots and missed The Open tournament record by one shot (19-under, Nick Faldo, 1990, St. Andrews).
The major defenses of seaside links courses are usually wind, weather and rough and NONE of that was a factor in 2006. Woods’ strategy worked because the weather was hot and dry and the wind was non-existent. The ball was running for days in the fairway. The rough was crispy and anything but penal and without wind, the course was exposed to near-record scoring.
This year, from the photos I have seen on Twitter, Royal Liverpool is quite lush and green. I hardly recognize it from 2006 and that’s why I feel course history can be thrown out this week. Also, the course has been altered plenty since the last championship. The last time 95 sand traps were in play. This time there will be just 82 as 13 have been removed and replaced mainly will swales.
The course layout remains the same but there have been multiple changes to the track. On No. 1, the rough on the left side of the fairway has been replaced by “broken ground”. Hole No. 2 has added a new tee which adds 14 more yards. Hole No. 4 has relocated bunkers left and right of the fairway to make the driving more difficult. Remember, the first four holes in 2006 all played OVER par for the week. That’s a tough start. The final major change on the front side is at No. 7 as a new tee and 27 extra yards have been added.
The back side has seen Nos. 11 and 13 add swales beside the green to toughen the approach shots. Nos. 12 and 14, the two hardest holes from 2006, will remain tough as No. 14 adds a new bunker on the right side of the fairway to punish errant tee shots. Gee, thanks. The 17th has also added fairway bunkers to put a premium on hitting the fairway. The final hole, the par five 18th, has added a new swale on the back left to repel approach shots that are not up to quality.
Royal Liverpool begins with a bang but there are some scoring chances before getting to Nos. 12 and 14. The finishing holes will be exciting as well as No. 15 is the shortest hole on the course, only 161 yards, and played under-par in 2006. This is followed by first of two par fives in the final three holes as No. 16 should be another scoring chance because the prevailing wind at the player’s back. The fourth-hardest hole in 2006 was No. 17 and it doesn’t sound like it will play any easier in 2014. Playing into the prevailing wind, No. 17 has also added fairway bunkers that will just make it that much more difficult to score. Coming home is the second par five in the final three holes but birdies and eagles won’t be the order of the day. No. 18 was hardest of the four par fives in 2006 as OB right will be in the player’s minds. Players better take advantage of Nos. 15 and 16 because Nos. 17 and 18 are beasts.
This week I’m looking at players who have had successes at major championships, premium ball-strikers, weather players and grinders. The Open is the hardest to handicap because essentially eight different tournaments can possibly be played over four days. Morning waves and afternoon waves each day, because of the seaside links and weather, can change at the drop of a hat. It was probably at The Open where the phrase “luck of the draw” was originated. If a player is on the wrong side of the draw due to weather, it’s just plain unlucky. That’s why it’s plain difficult to project!
Call to Order
Here they are, ranked for your pleasure.
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Justin Rose (B): With victories in his last two starts worldwide (Quicken Loans & Scottish Open), there’s no doubt who is the hottest player is entering the week at Hoylake. Rose broke on to the world scene as he finished T4 as an amateur in 1998 at The Open but has had minimal success since. Similar to Mickelson, Rose wasn’t a big fan of links golf until recently as this was his first Scottish Open since 2011 and only his third appearance since 2005. Rose has MC in his last two Opens but there’s no doubting he’s in excellent form entering the week.
Adam Scott (A): In the last 14 majors, he’s won and added seven other top 10s. The last two Opens he’s blown a four-shot lead with four holes remaining to finish second to Ernie Els in 2012 and was T3 last year. Similar to Rose, he’s bread and butter is his power and accuracy with his tee ball and approach shots. He gears his entire schedule annually around the dates of the majors. His last three starts on TOUR before his planned hiatus before Hoylake saw him win in a playoff at Colonial, T4 at Memorial and T9 at Pinehurst. He’ll turn 34 on Wednesday.
Henrik Stenson (A): The Swede is another big-game hunter evidenced by finishing second, third, T14 and T4 in his last four majors. He’s completed his last six at T21 or better as he looks to become the first man from Sweden to win a major. His form entering the week would usually put him at the top of the pile as he’s been T14 or better in six of his last seven events worldwide including four top-five finishes. His “worst” start over that stretch was T34 at THE PLAYERS. The top three are loaded this week.
Martin Kaymer (B): The German has picked up victories at THE PLAYERS and the U.S. Open and added T12 at the BMW PGA at Wentworth and T12 last time out at the French Open. His current form is much more interesting than his history at the Open (one top 10 from six) and his confidence should be limitless. I just hope he didn’t have too many Spaten Optimators after watching Die Mannschaft win the World Cup last weekend! He’ll look to join Padraig Harrington as the last player to win back-to-back majors.
Rory McIlroy (B): His only MC this year was at the Irish Open so go figure. He’s 10-for-10 on TOUR with every finish inside the top 25. His only win on the season came the week after announcing he was no longer engaged as he came from behind to win at Wentworth. He fired 63 at St. Andrews to open in 2010 before following it with 80. He still finished T3 with an 80 on his card! He’s put a new Nike 2-iron in his bag according to pictures on Twitter and had rounds of 64-68-67 last week en route to T14 at Royal Aberdeen. I left out his 78 in round two…When he’s at his best (Kiawah, Congressional) nobody is his league. He has a perennial seat at this table four times a year.
Sergio Garcia (C): After limping off and WD with a knee issue at Wentworth, gamers wondered if Garcia could build off his pair of thirds during the early spring. He showed no effects of the knee as he was T35 at Pinehurst and then T2 the next weekend at the Travelers, which included a pair of 65s. He followed that with a jaunt across the pond the following weekend where he closed with 65 at the BMW International in Germany. He’s made 13 of 17 cuts at the Open and seven of those have gone for a top 10. Along with Lee Westwood he carries the mantle of playing the most majors without winning.
Jordan Spieth (B): He made his first appearance at The Open last year after his dramatic first victory on TOUR at the JDC the week prior. He has proven time and time again over the last year that he belongs in this part of the column every week. He’s played his way in and I don’t see anything holding him back this week. He’s from Texas so a bit of wind isn’t going to bother him and since Hoylake has only been played once before, the other players aren’t going to have a course-horse advantage over him like they did at Augusta. Oh, he finished T2 in his first trip there; and T2 at THE PLAYERS, another course where guys SHOULD HAVE had an advantage.
Phil Mickelson (A): He finished 11th for the third time in his last six events last week at Royal Aberdeen. Sadly for most gamers that did NOT include the U.S. Open (T28). His other two finishes were MC and T49. His masterful 66 on Sunday last year to win the Claret Jug reminds us that he needs to be respected in this event. Without the pressure of “having to win at the home of golf” on his shoulders I expect another very solid finish this week.
Zach Johnson (B): After MC in his first three trips to The Open he’s now rattled off seven on the bounce including T9 and T6 the last two years. Is it a coincidence that he’s also torched the JDC the week before? I doubt it. Hot golf is hot golf and Johnson has taken his talents across the pond and embraced the EXACT OPPOSITE golf that he needs to play at TPC Deere Run. He’s been a summer golfer for the last few years and I don’t see that changing this week.
Graeme McDowell (C): Coming off his victory at the French Open, GMAC is one of the few who hopes the weather will NOT cooperate this week in Wirral. He said as much after his come-from-behind win outside Paris that he embraces the challenge when the weather is an irritant. After not finishing outside of the top 12 in the majors in 2012, he’s MC in three of his last six. The good news is he’s five of his last six on the links with four T34 or better including T5 in 2012.
Matt Kuchar (A): Since his rebirth in 2010, he’s made the weekend in 16 of his last 18 majors including T9 and T15 in his last two Opens. His low ball flight should be an advantage this week and his lights-out short game will keep him lurking around the first page of the leaderboard on the weekend.
Dustin Johnson (B): One can argue, quite easily in my opinion, that he’s currently the best American without a major title. Now that he’s turned 30, it’s time to start delivering on the big stage as he’s learned PLENTY of lessons. He was leading on the back nine at the Open in 2011 before knocking a shot OB. That was after his summer of frustration in 2010 when he fired 82 on Sunday at Pebble Beach and THAT INCIDENT at Whistling Straits. Another superior player in poor weather, Johnson also won’t mind howling winds this week. His T4 at the U.S. Open was solid and he took three weeks off after his T31 at the Travelers to be rested and ready for this week.
Rickie Fowler (A): With new swing changes in the making it’s an absolute credit to Fowler for enjoying his roller coaster ride in 2014. In 17 events he’s missed seven cuts but is the only player on the planet to finish in the top five in the first two majors (T5, Masters; T2 U.S. Open). He was also third in the WGC-Match Play. After his T5 at Augusta he rattled off MC, T38, T77, MC and MC before T13 the week before his U.S. Open runner up. He added to that run with T8 last week at Royal Aberdeen so it looks like he’s poised to improve on his MC last year. Don’t forget he was T14 in his first Open and T5 in his second! #LinksyBaby
Brendon Todd (C): Dismiss him at your own peril this week as he tees it up for only his second major. This time last year he was bouncing back and forth from the Web.com Tour to the PGA TOUR and his consistent play has paid off in spades. He was T17 at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst so he’s obviously not bothered by his country’s national championship. That was his worst finish in five starts after his maiden victory at Byron Nelson. #legit
Billy Horschel (B): Another Yank who is flying below the radar, Horschel has been in very solid form over the last few months. Since MC in New Orleans he’s racked up T26, T15, T6, T23 and T11 his last time out at Congressional. I like that his T26 was at Sawgrass; his T15 was at Memorial; T6 at TPC Southwind; T23 at Pinehurst and T11 at Congressional. Those are NOT easy tracks and those are very solid finishes. His ball-striking has been off the charts and that will come in very handy this week at Hoylake.
Robert Karlsson (C): This isn’t the Swede that will be garnering the most attention this week but his recent form should push him up most fantasy boards in weekly games. Since June 1, he’s racked up three T8s or better in five events. The other two finishes were T22 and T44. He closed last weekend at Royal Aberdeen 67-66 so he’s on point heading to Royal Liverpool.
Lee Westwood: I’m surprised as well that he’s not in the section above but his recent form doesn’t merit inclusion. Since his T6 at TPC Sawgrass, which he loves, his only finish in four world-wide events is T35. He MC at FESJC, the U.S. Open and last week at Royal Aberdeen. With three top threes or better in his last five Opens, I won’t dismiss him but my confidence level has dropped a notch. He’s not getting any younger and has already disappointed at Pinehurst.
Francesco Molinari: He’s made four cuts in a row in the last four majors and that run started with T9 last year at Muirfield. It’s the second-longest streak of his career. He four of his last six with all four being T26 or better and he’s one of the better ball-strikers on the continent.
Jimmy Walker: According to his wife, the FedExCup points leader battled the flu last week at Royal Aberdeen, hence his less-than-solid T41. After MC in both The Open and PGA last year, Walker has started the 2014 majors portion with T8 at Augusta in his first try and T9 in his first U.S. Open since MC in 2002. The Texan should be encouraged if conditions deteriorate as he’s had plenty of practice in a stiff breeze.
Ian Poulter: After multiple tweets about his wrist over the last few days, Poulter let the Twitterverse know Tuesday morning that he just “Jared it” and that an old cyst has come back. His diagnosis: “no tendon or damage”. His recipe for success: “painkillers”. In his last six Opens he’s finished second, MC, T60, MC, T9 and T3 last year. He had been playing quite well before his MC at Royal Aberdeen but this injury is cause for concern.
Hideki Matsuyama: Speaking of injuries, Matsuyama has had back and wrist issues bother him over the last year and maybe it’s because his wallet is too heavy! He led gamers down a primrose path in May as he progressively got hotter with finishes of T38, T23, T10 and his first TOUR victory at Memorial. He was even par through 36 holes at Pinehurst before 74-74 on the weekend knocked him back to T35. After a summer of T10, T6 and T19 in last year’s majors, the young Japanese has MC at Augusta and finished T35 at Pinehurst. I would have no problem endorsing him as a support player this week but I’m not building my team around him.
Brandt Snedeker: After MC in his first three Opens, Sneds has led after 36 holes in 2012 and was T11 last year with a 79 on Friday. After racking up T9 at Pinehurst, T11 at the Travelers and T21 at Congressional in his last three outings, he went out and hired Butch Harmon to be his new instructor. Just as the ship was turning around…Anyhow, Harmon is a proven pro but I’m not sure if I want a guy with BRAND-NEW SWING THOUGHTS in a major championship. Maybe his first swing thought to Sneds this week will be: DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING for the last month and last two years over here and we’ll tinker when we get home.
Ernie Els: He’s 20 out of 23 at the Open with 13 top 10s, including five of his last nine.
Miguel Angel Jimenez: He’s made five straight on the bounce at the Open and eight of his last nine. It’s not hard to figure out why: he hits the ball very straight. In those last five, he’s finished T13, T27, T25, T9 and T13. The wise old owl is a wise investment this week to fill out a roster, age be damned.
Form Fliers/Longshots/Pipe Dreams
Paul Casey (C): After five of six in the top 25 from late April to early June Casey threw up T56 at the U.S. Open and headed back to Europe for his summer. Trying to find a way onto the Ryder Cup team seems to be his priority and his game is trending in the right direction heading into this week. After that T56 he’s posted T33, T22 (with a 63) and T14 last week that included 65 on Sunday.
Thomas Bjorn: I can’t leave out the man who is leading the Race to Dubai as he’s made four of his last five cuts (MC, French Open). He has played 10 weekends from 16 at the Open and has five top 10s to his name, his last coming in 2011. He’s a grinder that keeps it in play in the fairway and on the greens.
Kristoffer Broberg: I’ll keep this one simple: in his last four events on the Euro Tour he’s been T3, MC, T12 and he was second last week to Justin Rose. Sure, he’s never played in an Open before but neither had Ben Curtis! Curtis also didn’t enter on that kind of form.
Kevin Na: Similar to Broberg, Na is on a bit of form as well as he lost in a playoff to Matsuyama at Memorial and backed that up with T12 at Pinehurst and T13 last week at JDC. Not a bad run in three of his last four!
Angel Cabrera: After winning his last time out at Greenbrier, it’s safe to say that his shoulder is no longer bothering him and his game is in fine shape. He was T11 last year after MC for three straight. As usual, big risk, big reward with the Argentine!
Oliver Fisher: After MC at Pinehurst, the young Englishman has played his last three events T26, T12 and T9 (with a 77!!) last week at Royal Aberdeen. Every year a young Englishman seems to pop out of nowhere to stick his nose in the fight. I’m also keeping an eye on Matthew Fitzpatrick to fill this void!
Freddie Jacobson: It’s no surprise that this expert grinder has made six cuts from his last six events at The Open. He’s also 12 of his last 13 on TOUR so that short game of his is clicking.
Thongchai Jaidee: After his win at the Nordea Masters in early June he backed that up with T5 at the BMW in Germany and T2 at the French Open.
Danny Willett: He’s trending the wrong way as he’s finished T3, T8 and T11 in his last three on the Euro Tour. This will the third Open for the Englishman. He was T15 last year. Yes, please…
Shane Lowry: The Irishman’s season didn’t really start to fire until his T15 in Spain in the middle of May. He backed that up with solo second at Wentworth and has added T12 at the other BMW in Germany and was T4 last week at Royal Aberdeen.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello: My Spanish surprise this week as RCB has made 14 of 15 cuts this season in Europe and six of those have resulted in top 10s.
Charley Hoffman: He’s 11 for his last 12 on TOUR and is coming off T3 at Quicken Loans his last time out. This has been his best season on TOUR since 2010 so ride that hot hand.
Matt Baldwin: In his last four on the Euro Tour he’s finished T3, MC, T5, MC. So this week is obviously T7…
Mikko Ilonen: He won the Irish Open in late June and followed that up with T16 last week at Royal Aberdeen. He must like the area!
Stephen Gallacher: The Scot won earlier in the year at the Dubai Desert Classic and has rattled off three top fives in his last six starts in Europe. He set the course record last Sunday with 63 at Royal Aberdeen to close T4. He has two top 25s in his last three starts at the Open. Hmmmmmm.
Justin Leonard: In his last seven he’s finished MC, T16, T8, MC, MC, MC and T13.
Darren Clarke: He’s 17 of 22 including four of his last five. If he gets in the mood, he can obviously find the weekend.
Bubba Watson: I prefer him on his home turf when it’s 80 degrees and there is no wind. He has made three cuts on the bounce at The Open but none have been better than T23. He has MC, T31 and T16 in his last three on TOUR but did win the Masters for the second time earlier this year.
Jim Furyk: After a fourth, T12 and T5 fun in the latter part of the first decade of the 2000s, Furyk’s best finish in his last five trips is T34 twice.
Luke Donald: Here’s another confounding set of history: T5, T11, MC, T5 and MC. With T49, MC and T16 in his last three I have no idea which Donald is going to show up. In a field like this, I’ll take my chances somewhere else.
Jason Dufner: He has a round of 66 and 67 in his last two visits to the Open. He’s finished T31 and T28. Coming off back-to-back MCs, I’ll leave him to my competition this week.
Jason Day: Another month, another injury plus his record at THIS major is the worst of them all. He withdrew from the Travelers in late June because of this thumb issue so I’m out.
Tiger Woods: He says he's fine. He says he's won when he's been like this before. He sounds like he's going to play well. Where I have to take him this week doesn't make any sense because there are players of his caliber in better form who havent been on sick leave. If he falls to me late, I'll play him but I'm not putting my weekly roster around him. I think. Whatever. When I don't feel it, I fade it.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.
SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.
McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek
OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.
HTOC: Er, Jordan Spieth, solo second.
Sony: Hudson Swafford and Will Wilcox both finished T8. Both played on the Web.com Tour last year and are rookies on TOUR this season.
Humana: Patrick Reed won. He’s 23. You need to pay attention.
FIO: Ryo Ishikawa, 22, bagged another top 10 finish. That’s his sixth in his last 10 events on TOUR or the Web.com Tour. He’s an alternate this week as of Monday afternoon.
WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama is 21. In 11 events the last two years, he’s hit the top 25 in NINE of them, including T4 last week. #ALLRIGHTYTHEN
Pebble Beach: Er, Jordan Spieth, T4. Patrick Reed, 23, finished T13 and he’s won twice since August. Golf is good hands, again.
Riviera: Harris English won’t be 25 until July. He was T10; Spieth was T12.
WGC-Match Play: Victor Dubuisson is 23 and was second. Jordan Spieth was T5. #youthmovement
Honda: Russell Henley is now the fourth player on TOUR under 25 with two wins. He joins Patrick Reed, Harris English and Rory McIlroy in this very elite club of pups.
WGC-CC: Patrick Reed is 23. He’s now won three times in eight months on TOUR.
Puerto Rico Open: Rookie Chesson Hadley, 26, took home his first title on the big boy circuit.
Valspar: Chesson Hadley backed up his first win with T14 on a tough, tough Copperhead Course. Scott Langley, a second year player from Illinois (see above) was third.
API: The young Japanese lad Ishikawa racked up another top 10 (T8) this week. Yep, he’s still just 22.
Valero: He’ll be remembered for all of the wrong reasons but Andrew Loupe, 25, finished T4 in only his eighth start on TOUR. #slowgolfclap
Shell Houston: Russell Henley’s T7 shows him heating up before heading back for another crack at Augusta.
Masters: That Jordan Spieth guy was T2.
RBC Heritage: John Huh, T3, is a TOUR winner but is only 23 years old. Remember?
Zurich: The winner was 22-year old Seung-Yul Noh. He fits this column to a T.
Wells Fargo: Defending champ Derek Ernst was T30. He’ll turn 24 on May 15.
THE PLAYERS: That pesky Spieth was tied for the 54-hole lead and finished T4.
HPBNC: T16 was the best the youth could muster with John Huh, who turns 24 on Wednesday.
Colonial: Second-year player David Lingmerth poked his head up again with T5 to lead the youngsters. Hideki Matsuyama, who co-led after 54-holes, finished T10.
Memorial: Matsuyama must be a quick study. He was the 54-hole leader at Colonial yet finished T10. He took it deep this week with his first victory on TOUR, in a playoff, nonetheless. #impressive
FESJC: Brooks Koepka continues to rack up non-Member points and his T19 this week added to that.
U.S. Open: For the second consecutive week Koepka has the spotlight and deservedly so after T4. With Matsuyama, Spieth and Koepka, the future looks quite bright for the TOUR.
Travelers: Bud Cauley (remember him?) and Scott Langley were T11. Langley held the 36-hole lead.
Quicken Loans: Spieth and Reed both were T11. John Huh was T19.
The Greenbrier: Even though it is his third year on TOUR, Cauley is just 24. No point forgetting about him now as he’s bagged T11 and T4 in two of his last three.
JDC: Er, that Spieth guy again, T7.
Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 6ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at The Open Championship and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.