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You'll Never Walk Alone 🫱🏻‍🫲🏼

Published 9 months ago • 11 min read

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I enjoy this week more than any other on the PGA TOUR. The contrast in climate, style of play, course design differences, and unpredictability of the weather all attract my attention. Ever since I was a kid, I would get up as early as possible to watch live coverage. In honor of the Open Championship, every free subscriber to Read The Line will receive the premium member newsletter. Enjoy the extra coverage for the season's final major championship.

Grant money!

Congratulations to Linn Grant for winning her first LPGA tournament the Dana Open by three strokes and becoming our ninth winner of 2023.

That's six wins in the past 11 weeks for Read The Line.

When friends and family ask you how we continue to win so often, you can tell them one of two things. Our success stems from reliable on-site, in-play, PGA expert coverage. The second is to say, "Just Read The Line!"

The Royals

I enjoy this week more than any other on the PGA TOUR. The contrast in climate, style of play, course design differences, and unpredictability of the weather all attract my attention. Ever since I was a kid, I would get up as early as possible to watch live coverage of the Open Championship.

The 151st Open Championship will be contested at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Set in the seaside town of Liverpool, the club is hosting its thirteenth Open. Royal Liverpool set in the small town of Hoylake, isn't a part of the full rotation for the championship. Prior to hosting in 2006, Royal Liverpool had not seen the Open since 1967. When Tiger wins (2006), the world watches and suddenly we are back to seeing that classic Hoylake Harry Potter clubhouse every decade or so.

The course was a par 72 in 2014 when the last Open took place here. We all remember Rory McIlroy torching the landscape with his driver and taking home the Claret Jug. Nine years later, Rory remains the man to beat, but the course has witnessed a couple of significant changes. The scorecard now reads par 71. The tenth hole is a par 4 (was a par 5) and the seventeenth hole is a brand-new par 3. All of this adds up to an attempt at keeping the world's best players in check for our oldest major championship.

Many of the media asked a year ago if St. Andrews was still fit to host an Open. Players ravaged the firm and fast landscape with driver, wedge, and putter. What a difference a year makes. St. Andrew’s design is famous for wide fairways and huge double green complexes. Royal Liverpool is quite the opposite. The fairways are framed in knee high fescue. The green complexes are about half the size of St. Andrews. Accuracy is a premium skill at Hoylake as proven by the last two winners.

Tiger famously won in 2006 by hitting one driver in 72-holes. England was hot and the turf conditions were extremely fast. Woods hit 86% of the fairways and 81% of his GIRs! Rory showed similar skill in wet conditions eight years later. The 2014 edition played very soft and eerily similar to what we expect from Royal Liverpool this year. Fresh off his birdie-birdie finish to win the Scottish Open, McIlroy has launched himself to the top of the betting board alongside Scottie Scheffler.

The field of 156 players will be competing for the game's oldest trophy. Set on the Irish Sea, Royal Liverpool stretches 7,383 yards. The course needs weather to control scoring. If we don't see the wind and rain continue this week, it may turn into a major birdiefest. Approximately and inch of rain is predicted to fall before Thursday. During the tournament, another .75" of rain is in the forecast. Although the temperatures will be in the low 60s, these guys will relish the receptive ground conditions.

As the storyline builds this week, the best ball strikers are about to take center stage. Fresh off seven straight top 5 finishes, can Scottie Scheffler close out with a win? The number one ranked player hasn't won the Open since Tiger in 2006. Will Rory break his nine-year major championship win drought? Eight of the last ten winners have played the week before the Open. Is Brooks capable of taking that killer mentality across the Atlantic, or will Schauffele, Cantlay, Hovland, etc. finally break through?

Six of the last ten Open Championship winners have been inside the top 10 of the OWGR. All ten from the past decade have been inside the top 40. Since 2000, 16 of the 22 Open winners secured a victory earlier in the season. Recent form has always played a huge role in determining the winner of this major championship. Not many would complain if Scottie or Rory won, they certainly deserve it. As I went through the course and conditions, I believe there are a couple others with a better chance for the Claret Jug.

Open Championship on TV:

  • Thursday - Friday 1:30 - 4:00am (Peacock), 4:00am - 3:00pm (USA)
  • Saturday 5:00 - 7:00am (USA), 7:00am - 3:00pm (NBC)
  • Sunday 4:00 - 7:00pm (USA), 7:00am - 2:00pm (NBC)
  • Complete details on PGATOUR.com​
  • All times EDT.

The Open starts in...

Count down to 2023-07-20T05:00:00.000Z

Norwegian Wood

What I love most about the test at Royal Liverpool is the careful balance between power and precision. Take for example Tiger who took firm conditions and chose not to use driver. Eight years later, Rory led the field in driving distance (328 yards) in route to winning. Links golf can provide such a wide variety of playing conditions. Based upon what we expect this week from Mother Nature I'm all in on the following skill set.

The winner will have a very strong week off the tee. Hoylake presents a couple of challenges unique to the major championship landscape. Fourteen fairways are lined with knee high fescue grass. With soft conditions, those amber waves of grain will be a huge problem. Looking at the course, most fescue sits approximately three to five yards from the edge of the fairway. Accuracy off the tee is priority number one.

As if the fescue alone wasn't enough, 11 of the 14 driving holes have fairway bunkers to contend with. Forty-one of the 84 bunkers sit on dogleg corners and near fairway runoffs. Compound the pressure on each tee shot and consider six holes have out of bounds in play. Very rarely do we see a course that applies this much pressure to driving. Very similar to Oak Hill, get the ball in play from the tee and the rest of your day becomes much more manageable.

Seven of the 11 par 4s will play over 450 yards in length. Two of the par 3s are over 200 yards and two of the three par 5s are over 600 yards. Long iron ability will separate you from the field. Consider the last two Liverpool champions Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Tiger is the best long iron player who ever lived, and Rory's long iron into 18 on Sunday at the Scottish Open was something legends are made of. This long iron test will be different than most we face over in the States. Royal Liverpool's layout rests alongside the River Dee. The new infinity green at the seventeenth reminds us just how close the players are to the coastline.

Players who position the clubface at the top of their backswing in a strong or "closed" position catch my eye. They can flight the ball much better in windy conditions. Swing dynamics play a role in this major championship more so than any other due to the changing conditions. The average green size at Hoylake is 6,400 sq/ft. Half the size of St. Andrews, players will be asked to be much more accurate on approach. The flat landscape keeps these greens from getting too crazy with undulations.

The guys who excel in proximity to the hole with a mid to long iron will differentiate themselves over 72-holes. With rain and wind predicted, green speeds will be slow. I believe this allows for weaker putters to contend. When everyone bangs the ball at the hole, putting touch is mitigated. Around the green acumen will come into play throughout the course of the entire tournament, but the level terrain will not amplify the need for an elite short game. Be a great ball striker and keep it out of the green side sand and your chances of contending are great.

Even though the conditions will be completely different than St. Andrews a year ago, the contenders will be similar. Certain players know how to play golf on the ground. They hit their landing areas and see a successful strategy for each and every shot. Just as we predicted Linn's win in Ohio last week, our course analysis will lead to more success. Similar to our success selecting Cam Smith last year (+2800). Get behind these four men and let's not just win back to back weeks, but also back to back Open Championships!

Outright winners - Open Championship

Brooks Koepka has a secret "major" weapon. The five-time winner still uses a specially designed driving iron from his incredible major run years ago. That club will keep him in the fairway and in contention. At LIV Spain, he led the field in length off the tee and was eleventh in driving accuracy. Second at the Masters, he won the PGA, and top 20 at the US Open. Brooks is healthy and as a result, that killer closer has returned. In eight Open Championship starts, he has four top 10s. Rory and Scottie are great, but the entire field fears Koepka on major Sundays.

There was a time when all Viktor Hovland did was win on coastal golf courses. What seemed like a slight is now an advantage to the young TOUR star. A proven winner from The Memorial, Hovalnd has three top 10 finishes in the last four majors. That includes a fourth-place finish at St. Andrews. Viktor wins in the wind because of his trajectory control. An impeccable driver of the ball and long iron player, his recent form fits every Open winner trend. The smiling Norwegian is ranked fourth strokes gained off the tee (SG:OTT) and second in proximity to the hole.

Collin Morikawa won the Open Championship in 2021 at Royal St. George’s. A very similar links style design, Morikawa’s ability to strike his irons within feet of their target is essential to winning the Open. Links golf is a ground game and hitting those correct landing areas off the tee and on approach is the key to winning. Collin is ranked top 20 on approach and off the tee. In the category of Good Drives Gained, Morikawa is first. That’s the measure of when you miss the fairway, how close are you. The media loves to malign his putting, but he has gained positive strokes on the green in four of his last five starts.

Four weeks ago at LIV Spain, Bryson DeChambeau finished runner up. Back to his “winning weight” on the PGA TOUR, the mad scientist is playing great. Fourth place at the PGA Championship, twentieth at the US Open and thirteenth at LIV London, the "longest" of the long shots can separate in a major championship with his off the tee play. DeChambeau also has a very underrated short game. Proven by two top 10 finishes in his last four majors, don't forget just a year ago amongst all the turmoil in golf he finished eighth at St. Andrews. Royal Liverpool is a strategy course. To succeed you need a plan, and (love him of hate him) when it comes to details in golf there is nobody better than Bryson.

One & Done

Cam Smith - Smith won two weeks ago at LIV London. Once again in incredible form heading into the Open, he spoke openly in the press room about giving up the trophy. He will contend again with that amazing short game and putter. I saved him all year for this week and just like last year it will pay off again! (Alt. Pick - Wyndham Clark)

(Last week: Matt Fitzpatrick MC $0)

Placements, Props, and H2H's... (PGA TOUR & LPGA)

Open Championship

Top 5 (B3):

  • Scottie Scheffler (+190)

Top 10 (B3):

  • Rory McIlroy (+100)

Top 20:

  • Brooks Koepka (+110 BR)
  • Collin Morikawa (+145 FD)

Top 40 (FD):

  • Bryson DeChambeau (+100)
  • Adam Scott (+110)

Tournament Matchups:

  • Viktor Hovland over Jon Rahm (BP)
  • Collin Morikawa over Rickie Fowler (BP)
  • Wyndham Clark over Tony Finau (BP)
  • Brooks Koepka over Tommy Fleetwood (DK)
  • Wyndham Clark over Robert MacIntyre (DK)

One week off...

The LPGA is playing the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Michigan. The annual team event draws little action other than outright boards and starts on Wednesday. We'll skip the LPGA and focus our entire attention on the fourth major for the men.

Have no fear, the women will return next week in France for their fourth major, The Amundi Evian Championship. Pictured is our ninth winner of 2022 Brooke Henderson who won in Evian last year!

* - Odds can change from site to site. Make sure you shop around before making each bet. Even though a bet is listed, it may have changed since the newsletter was published. FanDuel (FD), PointsBet (PB), DraftKings (DK), Sports Illustrated (SI), BetMGM (BM), bet365 (B3), Bet Rivers (BR), betPARX (BP)

DFS - PGA TOUR

Brooks Koepka (10,400)

While everyone takes Rahm, Rory, or Scottie, we will take the winner!

Patrick Cantlay (9,900)

Under $10k is a steal.

Wyndham Clark (8,700)

Wells Fargo and US Open Champion was excellent T2G in Scotland.

Russell Henley (7,400)

Incredible ball striking run gaining six strokes on average over his last five starts.

Ben An (7,000)

3rd place at the Scottish Open and 26th in 2014 at Royal Liverpool.

Padraig Harrington (6,600)

Two time Open Championship winner, and excellent recent form!

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Back with Chantel

Read The Line's Open Championship content can be seen on YouTube. Join Keith and Chantel McCabe for BetOnline's Tee to Green. Together they cover all the betting angles you'll need to know for the year's last major championship!


9 wins in less than 7 months.

Let's continue the climb together and get The Open!

Cam Smith was on our card last year, how about back to back Claret Jugs.

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