Need fantasy-golf advice for the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland? Our Golfweek experts are here to help, providing their picks to win, sleeper players, DraftKings bargains and more.
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- Projected champion: Jordan Spieth. The weather could be rough, and a player is going to have some grit to win this week. You have to love the way Spieth always fights, regardless if his game is there or not. And he’s playing better than most think he is.
- Also like: Matt Kuchar. Great form of late (T-6 or better in four of his last five starts), and a solid ballstriker who, having just turned 38, is ready to land that first major. The last six champions at Troon have hailed from the U.S. – so why not Kuchar to extend the streak?
- Sleeper: Even after his solid showing (T-3) at the Scottish Open, Italy’s Matteo Manassero barely sneaked inside the top 400 in the world. But he’s playing well and has special feelings for this major, having performed so splendidly in his debut down the road at Turnberry in 2009. Four pro victories, and we forget he’s only 23, not to mention you have to always watch out for those last guys into the field. Also like Colt Knost to do well and play into the weekend.
- DraftKings bargain: Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo ($6,400) is an impressive young player who seems pretty poised on the world stage. Also like David Lingmerth ($6,700).
- Fade: Steven Bowditch. Only because Steven Bowditch would totally agree with the pick considering where his game is right now.
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- Projected champion: Shane Lowry. Ultimate “gut” pick, but he seems to like the big stage, clearly understands links and so long as officials have correct score for all to know, give him a look.
- Also like: Adam Scott, simply because he’s the best ball-striker in the game and his recent record in the British Open is stellar — four consecutive top 10s.
- Sleeper: There are more heralded English golfers right now, but Tyrrell Hatton is intriguing. He’s also been top 20 in six of his last nine starts and since he’s ranked 98th, he qualifies as a “sleeper.”
- DraftKings bargain: For $6,800 why not Padraig Harrington? He knows links and he knows how to handle foul weather.
- Fade: Picked Bubba Watson as a “fade” in the U.S. Open and he eventually did, into a share of 51st. Feeling is similar here, too, at a championship he has not embraced. Four missed-cuts in six starts, has broken 70 just three times in 20 rounds.
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- Projected champion: Branden Grace. Despite his less-than-stellar track record at this major (T-20 last year is his best result), Grace keeps knocking on the door at majors and his low, boring trajectory is ideal for Troon.
- Also like: Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen. One, if not both, of these sweet swingers is going to get hot with the putter and factor in the outcome.
- Sleeper: Steve Stricker (No. 177). It seems like every year someone in their late 40s or 50s makes a run at the Claret Jug.
- DraftKings bargain: Emiliano Grillo ($6,400). It’s the Argentine’s debut in this major but I like the way he hung tough at the WGC Bridgestone (T-14) and cut his teeth on the European Tour. He’s also made 8 of his last 9 cuts in stroke-play events (not counting the WGCs).
- Fade: Justin Rose. His season took a turn for the worse when he missed time with a back injury. MC at U.S. Open and T-46 at WGC-Bridgestone has me too concerned to pick him.
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- Projected champion: Shane Lowry. He was so close at the U.S. Open, so he’s in form, and he grew up playing links golf. If the weather forecast is correct and it’s going to be a wet week, then that will help Lowry’s cause. He won the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur in horrific weather.
- Also like: Chris Wood. He’s having a great season with a win in BMW PGA Championship, and he’s been close in The Open before. Dustin Johnson is also worth a shout if the weather is better than forecast. Remember, he led after 36 holes last year before fading in the wind.
- Sleeper: Paul Dunne. Why not? He came so close last year and he has a year’s experience under his belt.
- DraftKings bargain: Zander Lombard. Young South African out of same mold as Branden Grace. Only a couple of years removed from reaching final of the British Amateur at Royal Portrush, so enjoys links golf. A snip at $5,800.
- Fade: Bubba Watson. With his creativity he should revel on a links, but he’s missed four of his last seven cuts and his best finish is T-23 in 2012. He doesn’t seem to like seaside golf.
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- Projected champion: Lee Westwood. Five top-15 finishes in his last six worldwide starts. The sixth start? He was T-32 at the U.S. Open, where he held the lead before falling back late. He’s playing some of the best golf of his career and is still chasing his first major title. Would be a great story.
- Also like: Shane Lowry, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan. Lowry, of course, let the U.S. Open slip away, but will thrive in the conditions expected at Royal Troon. I can see Wood becoming a trendy pick this week, so bet on him while the odds are still good. Sullivan figures to win a Claret Jug at some point, why not this year?
- Sleeper: Alex Noren. Has been battling injuries the last few years and had to withdraw from last year’s British Open during a span where he missed nearly 20 weeks of action. He’s healthy now and the talent id definitely still there. Four top-12 finishes in last seven worldwide starts for the World No. 99.
- DraftKings bargain: Francesco Molinari ($7,000). He’s ranked No. 55 in the world and he’s made his last four British Open cuts (all at T-40 or better, including a T-9 in 2013). His current form is also good: made nine of last 10 cuts with four top 10s, including runner-up at French Open.
- Fade: Phil Mickelson. Yes, he was third here in 2004, but that was 2004. Mickelson has missed his last two major cuts and hasn’t won since winning the Claret Jug three years ago. I’m not saying Lefty can’t have a good week, but I don’t see him justifying the price you’ll pay for him in daily leagues, and I don’t think the odds are enticing enough to take a chance on him.
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DraftKings British Open salaries chart