The Official Barstool 2023 Open Championship At Royal Liverpool Betting Preview

PAUL ELLIS. Getty Images.

Open Championship time!!!

Golf's oldest major is back and it's the last one of the year. Kinda wild how quickly major season comes and goes and we're about to go into an 8 month dark hole. Let's enjoy the heck out of it while we can.

This year brings us to Hoylake at Royal Liverpool. This is the 151st Open overall and the 13th hosted here. It's a classic in the Open rota, although there was a large gap where it fell out of the rota. The 2006 edition was Royal Liverpool's first Open since 1967, as the modern game outgrew the course and more importantly, the course didn't have the infrastructure in place to host all that comes with a major championship. Eventually, land was purchased to accommodate both a larger golf course and the throngs that come with an Open, so it was thrown back in the mix in 06.

Some guy named Eldrick won that tournament. When it returned in 2014, some guy named Rory won that one.

Of course, Cam Smith is your defending Champion Golf of the Year after out-dueling Rory at St. Andrews. Cam was making every putt in sight (including an iconic links up-and-down on the Road Hole) and Rory couldn't buy one. The difference was such that Cam Young was even able to make an eagle on 18 to jump Rory on the final leaderboard for a solo 2nd. But make no mistake, the story of that day will be the flatsticks of those two men.

Last year's leaderboard, along with the 2014 leaderboard where Rory edged out Rickie… plus recent Open winners dating back to Tiger's win in 2006.

2022 Open Championship Leaderboard

2014 Open Championship At Royal Liverpool Leaderboard

Recent Winners Of The Open Championship

The Course

David Cannon. Getty Images.

Royal Liverpool is classic links baby. Along the western shores of England in the seaside town of Hoylake, Royal Liverpool was designed in 1869 by Robert Chambers and George Morris, the younger brother of the infamous Old Tom Morris. Like any course of the era that is in the Open rota, it's been tweaked and re-designed and lengthened over the years, but it still maintains it's links-style character. Relatively flat but tons of mounds, pot bunkers, wispy fescue, all that good stuff. You're gonna see the putter out from off the green plenty, which is always a treat. Golf is more fun when it's played on the ground.

Playing this week under a modified routing, Royal Liverpool is a Par 71 measuring just south of 7,400 yards. That's right in the middle of the curve for length, but this course has historically played as one of the easier tracks in the modern Open rota. But that's not to say it's predictable, and that can certainly change this week.

In 2006, the wind that typically defends this course was virtually non-existent. That made for rock hard baked out conditions that saw Tiger infamously only hit one driver the entire week, as the rest of the field regularly rolled balls through fairways and into danger. Tiger found that without the typical wind gusts that could blow his ball wayward that hitting higher lofted 3-woods and irons was a better choice to keep the ball on the short stuff. Plus that version of El Gato Grande was hardly giving any distance back to the field with that strategy. Typical brilliance from the GOAT as he finished at -18.

In 2014 it was more of the opposite. The course was rain-soaked, soft, and gettable… which is where Rory thrives. Few as dangerous as him when he can bomb it high and throw darts, and that's exactly what he did. And he was at the peak of his powers back in 2014, which helped him to finish at -17.

It looks as though the course will land a bit more in the middle this week, partially due to weather and partially by design. More on the weather shortly. But it'll still be quite scorable all things considered. I expect the winning score to come in around -15.

Regardless, it's gonna be a heckin beauty to look at all week.

Best Hole - 18th, Par 5 609 Yards

Par 5 finishing hole baby. This one is a doozy and just might provide some fireworks down the stretch. Dogleg right with OB in the mix all the way down the right side of the hole.

That's a far cry from the ocean of a fairway we had on the 72nd hole last month at LACC, and make you think twice about trying to shorten the hole down that right side.

Plus one of my favorite traditions at the Open is the stadium-style grandstands surrounding the 18th hole. So classic. So timeless.

More on "Dun" from the Open Championship media guide:

The 18th, the members’ 16th, has seen two incredible winners in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy since its introduction as the closing hole in The Open’s routing. With changes for this year, the hole will almost certainly produce even more drama this time round. An intimidating tee shot awaits, as the Championship tee has been moved back around 50 yards and significantly further right, while the out of bounds down the right-hand side has ominously been moved 20 yards further left. The fairway now appears just a handful of yards wide from the tee, particularly with a necessary carry of 240 yards to reach the fairway and dangerous bunkers down the left. With the additional length, the out of bounds is also more in play for the second shot as the hole curves to the right. On the approach, numerous bunkers surround the green, with the three on the left particularly likely to come into play for those bailing out to the left. It is a fantastic finishing hole that could produce scores both high and low. 

The Coverage

Main TV coverage is as follows:

Thursday, July 20: 4 a.m.-3 p.m. (USA)
Friday, July 21: 4 a.m.-3 p.m. (USA)
Saturday, July 22: 5-7 a.m. (USA); 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, July 23: 4-7 a.m. (USA); 7 a.m.-2 p.m. (NBC) 

You're also going to get action on Peacock on Thursday and Friday from 1:30-4 a.m and 3-4 p.m. to bookend the coverage. Featured groups coverage and featured holes will be available all day on Peacock as well. Lots of golf from sun up to sun down.

The Weather

Classic Open Championship forecast. There's gonna be some wind, there's gonna be some wetness, but more than anything there's gonna be some unpredictability. We can try all we want to nail down what tee time waves are going to have the advantages, but right now one does not seem to have an advantage over the other. We'll see how that evolves as the week unfolds.

The Trophy

Warren Little. Getty Images.

It's one of the most iconic trophies in all of sports. One of the oldest too. Most simply call it the Claret Jug, but it's actual name is "The Golf Champion Trophy". How's that for a name? It's got some of the greatest players to ever play engraved on it. You can drink out of it too. That's a huge prerequisite for any great trophy. This is a surefire 10/10 trophy. 

Also, fun fact… they used to play for a Championship BELT. Somehow the custom came to be that if you won it 3 times in a row, it was yours forever. At one point Young Tom Morris won it for the 3rd straight year, so they just straight up didn't have a tournament the next year. Guy literally canceled the 1871 Open Championship. From there, the concept for the Claret Jug was born in 1872, but it wasn't ready yet for the 1872 Open… which Young Tom won. So they gave him a medal instead. Sure enough, some cat named Tom Kidd won the 1873 Open at St. Andrews and was the first Champion to be given the Claret Jug, and Young Tom passed away in 1875 at the young age of 24 having never won the Claret Jug. Tragic. 

The Board

Fresh off a W, Rory McIlroy opened the week as the betting favorite at around +650. Understandably so. The guy is obviously playing great golf, hit a disgusting linksy type of golf shot to win the Scottish, and won this tournament last time it was contested at Royal Liverpool. Oddly enough, that number has dropped to +800 while Scottie Scheffler has nudged past him to become the betting favorite at +750 at the

Scottie Scheffler has been my pick from the jump, and I'm sticking with him at +750. It's just unfathomable to me that he leaves the year 2023 without a major championship to his name. The tee-to-green game has just been so consistently insane, and so have the overall results. He's finished Top 12 in an astounding 19 straight events. There's been a lot of fuss about his struggles on the green, which is an easy conclusion to draw when that run only includes 2 wins (and none since THE PLAYERS in mid-March)… I'd say those criticisms are warranted but putting can run so hot and cold and can flip on a dime. 

What his recent run tells us is the rest of his game is going to give him a chance regardless. On top of that, he played his college golf in Texas and has thrived there in his pro career. Texas golf is known for its windy conditions, so Scottie shouldn't be out of his element there by any means. Plus he's a maestro around the greens… there's few I would take over him when it comes to making a key up-and-down. 

Picking the favorite may be weak, but it's hard to fathom him not being on the front page of the leaderboard come Sunday. We'll take our chances from there.

Other Plays

Scottie Scheffler Top 10 -120 - Is he more likely than not to Top 10? Answer to that in my eyes is an obvious yes.

Rickie Fowler To Win +2200/Top 5 +450 - I've always contended that Rickie's best shot at a major would be at an Open. He's a supreme player in the wind. Only missed one cut at an Open in 11 tries, has a couple Top 5's and is obviously playing his best golf in years. Maybe this is the one for ol Rick.

Xander Schauffele To Win +2500/Top 10 - Another guy who has put up consistent results that should break through with a big W here at some point. Finished T-2 at Carnoustie in 2018.

Shane Lowry To Win +4000/Top 10 - Shane's had a middling year, but something about then Open brings out his best… obviously a former winner but has also strung along 5 straight top 25's.

Ryan Fox Top 10 +700 - Kiwi has been a Euro Tour mainstay for years and is the reigning Alfred Dunhill Links champ. Can bomb it and roll it.

Thomas Pieters Top 20 +650 (300/1 to win if you want to sprinkle) - We all know what he's capable of. A little tough to project given he's on LIV and he's had a meh year, but the results are trending in right direction with a T-6 two weeks ago at LIV London.

Seamus Power Top 20 +700 (250/1 to win if you want to sprinkle) - Irish fella is simply way further down the board than where I would handicap him. He's capable of hanging with the big boys.

Robbie MacIntyre Top Lefty +125 - Did you think I wasn't gonna take some action on Lefty Bob this week?!? Almost hit the motherlode with a 100/1 pick on him last week, but still cashed a nice +750 Top 10 payday. Him, Brian Harman, and Phil are the only 3 lefties teeing it up this week. Phil will be a non-factor, and Bob's length (and obvious recent form) should have him beat Harman out this week.

American Winner +120 - It's a Ryder Cup year. Let's plant our flag.

That's what I got this week. Should be a helluva tournament.

Enjoy the Open.