Thursday, July 19, 2007

Open Chapionship Picks

2007 Open Championship Picks

The Open Championship begins today Carnoustie Golf Links. Carnoustie is the only one of the Open rota courses I have played. It generally is considered the toughest of the Open courses, but it has been softened considerably after a brutal Open in 1999.

I had the privilege of playing Carnoustie 23 years ago today with my grandfather. Our caddy was the reigning boys amateur champion, who was 17 like me at the time. I played really well with a score of 78 or 79 and earned a little respect from the caddy.

The course is playing at 7,400 yards, but the ground is not nearly as firm as normal. This will encourage low scoring, weather permitting. I expect a winner around 274 (-10).

Tiger Woods: #1 player in the world with 15 career majors has finished first or second in the last four majors and is two-time defending champ at the Open. He is the odd-on favorite, but I predict his putter will only give him a top three finish.

Phil Mickelson: #2 player just finished second in last week's Scottish Open, but he has a dismal record at the Open. I don't think he breaks that pattern this week and finishes in the top 40.

Ernie Els: Past champion and #4 in the world, but his game is just not there yet. This is consistently his best major and he has lots of experience in Europe, so I predict a top 15.

Vijay Singh: #6 player in the world would seem to have the right game for an Open. The greens are not as tricky as the other majors, so he can get by with his average putting, but I cannot ever remember Vijay doing well in bad weather. Top 30 finish.

Henrik Stenson: #7 player in the world and probably the best Euro today. He has the game to be the first Swede to bag a major, but it probably won't be this week. Still, I give him a good shot at a top 10. Watch out for him in 2008 at the majors.

Sergio Garcia: Dude is fantastic tee to green, and he putted better at the Scottish Open. He has a string of good finishes at the Open and is a past British Am champ. I think he might contend, but getting the professional major monkey off his back will be tough. Top 7 finish.

Stewart Cink: This guy's game is made for majors - decent length, super accuracy, and great putting. He is better suited for a US Open, but he gets a top 15.

Retief Goosen: Has fallen out of the top ten for the first time in a long time, but he is at home in Europe. Calm demeanor will help with the strange bounces of links golf. Top 20 finish for the Goose.

Angel Cabrera: The current US Open champ can play and is at home in Europe. He is long and reasonably straight. His only weakness is a sometimes balky putter. Carnoustie's greens are fairly flat, so that will not expose his putting. I would not be surprised if he contends on Sunday, but I predict a top 15.

Jim Furyk: I picked the #3 player in the world to win the US Open, and he came up one shot short. He is deadly accurate off the tee and is one of the best putters in the world. He is the only player as mentally tough as Tiger, so I am predicting Furyk to sip (beer, I bet) from the Clarey Jug Sunday evening.

Note - I attempted to post this early Thursday morning, but it did not go up. I have not changed a thing from my pre-tourney predictions.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Same Old Song

The Roanoke Times has announced it is following its sister paper, the News & Record, down the path of staff cuts. Both publications are owned by Landmark Communications, and it appears declining ad revenues are the cause of cuts at both papers.

As more eyeballs go to newer media forms, traditional media outlets will continue to struggle to find replacement revenue for declining ads. I wonder at what point newspapers will have to choose between closing operations or accepting profit margins more in line with the rest of the world.

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010