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BlogIrish Open Preview and Picks

Irish Open

May 28th – 31st, 2015

Royal Country Down G.C.

Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,186

Purse: $2.8 million

with $439,633 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Mikko Ilonen

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 15 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Golf Rankings, with three from the top-ten, #1 Rory McIlroy, #7 Sergio Garcia and #9 Rickie Fowler. The rest are #16 Martin Kaymer, #26 Lee Westwood, #27 Jamie Donaldson, #30 Victor Dubuisson, #35 Thongchai Jaidee, #39 Danny Willett, #40 Graeme McDowell, #43 Anirban Lahiri, #44 Miguel A. Jimenez, #47 Bernd Wiesberger and 50 Shane Lowry.

The field includes 19 of the Top 25 on this year’s European Tour Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #1 Rory McIlroy, #2 Danny Willett, #3 Hun An Byeong, #7 Thongchai Jaidee, #8 Miguel A. Jimenez, #9 Anirban Lahiri, #10 Ross Fisher, #11 Bernd Wiesberger, #12 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #13 Tommy Fleetwood, #14 George Coetzee, #15 David Howell,  #16 Andy Sullivan, #17 Marc Warren, #19 Gary Stal, #20 Alex Noren, #21 Lee Westwood, #24 Martin Kaymer and #25 James Morrison.  The only five players missing are #4 Justin Rose, #5 Louis Oosthuizen, #6 Branden Grace, #18 Henrik Stenson, #22 Ashun Wu and #23 Charl Schwartzel.

The field includes eleven past champions: Mikko Ilonen (2014), Jamie Donaldson (2012), Simon Dyson (2011), Ross Fisher (2010), Shane Lowry (2009), Richard Finch (2008), Padraig Harrington (2007), Stephen Dodd (2005), Brett Rumford (2004), Soren Hansen (2002) and Sergio Garcia (1999).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Irish Open field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Irish Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Irish Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

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Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Irish Open

Player BMW PGA Colonial Open de Espana Wells Fargo The Players Mauritius Open Cadillac Match Play Shenzhen Intern. Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston
Rory McIlroy
(377.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
T8
(75)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP
Byeong-Hun An
(263 pts)
Win
(198)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(261.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(198)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
71
(0)
Miguel A. Jimenez
(259.33 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(230.33 pts)
T6
(90)
DNP T33
(17)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Francesco Molinari
(221 pts)
5
(105)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
Sergio Garcia
(220.33 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(28)
DNP T2
(150)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
T37
(4.33)
James Morrison
(205.17 pts)
T11
(58.5)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP
David Howell
(205 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP
George Coetzee
(165 pts)
T74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(164 pts)
T38
(18)
DNP 6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(157.33 pts)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(75)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Julien Quesne
(151.67 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Chris Wood
(147.67 pts)
4
(120)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Thongchai Jaidee
(144.33 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
55
(0)
DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(133.5 pts)
T27
(34.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP
Thomas Aiken
(130.5 pts)
T35
(22.5)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP DNP 4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Gregory Havret
(122.5 pts)
T11
(58.5)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Peter Uihlein
(121.17 pts)
T27
(34.5)
DNP 69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Soren Kjeldsen
(99 pts)
T18
(48)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(97.67 pts)
T38
(18)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
Alex Noren
(95 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP
Maximilian Kieffer
(93.5 pts)
T27
(34.5)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Shane Lowry
(84.33 pts)
T6
(90)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Richie Ramsay
(82.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP 7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Irish Open

Player BMW PGA Colonial Open de Espana Wells Fargo The Players Mauritius Open Cadillac Match Play Shenzhen Intern. Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston
Sam Hutsby
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Moritz Lampert
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Mark Tullo
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Oliver Fisher
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Daniel Brooks
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Johnston
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Morten Orum Madsen
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Oliver Wilson
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Soren Hansen
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Jbe Kruger
(-31 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

This event is still around thanks to the European Tour, which has propped it up for almost a decade.  This year is a bit different since Rory McIlroy has worked very hard to get more players to play.  This is the 72nd time it’s being played and returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 2012 and to Royal County Down for the fourth time. 1939 was the last time the Irish Open was held on Royal County Down, which many say is the purest links course in the world.  Front nine is along the sea with the first 16 holes played in dunes, this is a driving course in which most of the fairway areas are blind from the tee.  So look for a combination of a player that does well on links courses, who has a solid tee to green game.  Also must be mentally tough to keep his ball in play and be able to play under any conditions the elements throw at him.

Just like Cypress Point, which has 17 great holes and a bad finish, Royal County Down has the same reputation as 17 and 18 haven’t been very good finishing holes.  In a way it’s a shame that they don’t flip the nines, the front nine would be a great finishing nine and would be very scenic on television.  The club has worked hard to make 17 and 18 better holes, so we will just have to wait and see what the players think.

McIlroy has done a good job in getting friends to play.  Rickie Fowler, who played in the Walker Cup held at Royal County Down in 2007 has made the trip.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the BMW PGA Championship.

Key stat for the winner:

  • Frankly it’s a guess since there hasn’t been a European Tour event on the course since 1939.  Now the course did hold the Senior British Open in 2000, ’01 & ’02 and the winners had one thing in common.  All of them (Christy O’Connor, Jr., Ian Stanley and Noboru Sugai) were great shotmakers and terrible putters, which makes sense.
  • The greens at Royal County Down have very little undulations and since it’s by the sea, the greens won’t be as fast as last year’s site, Fota Island.
  • The course is short, could it be overpowered?  At 7,186 this course is short as there are only three par 4s over 450 yards.
  • So can a long hitter like Rory have his way with the course?  Probably not.  Remember most of the tee shots are blind with deep bunkers lining the fairway.  These bunkers aren’t like the one’s in America that players can still get on the green, if you hit it in one of Royal County Downs fairway bunkers, your looking to just get it back into the fairway.  Also just like Colonial, ten of the long holes are dogleg, so long hitters could hit it through the fairways.  So you aren’t going to get a long hitter overpower it.  Now as I say this, one thing to keep in mind is that there are three par 5s that are very easy to reach in two so a player like Rory  could play them in 10 under par.  Also the par 4, 16th will be driveable, so right there is four holes that long hitters will have a field day on.
  • Rough is up and will play a factor for those that don’t hit it in the fairway.  The course will also play fast and firm, so at 7,168 it will play a lot shorter.  Still the guy that hits fairways and greens will be on top.
  • Guess what will play a big factor this week?  The weather.  In looking at the long range forecast the players will not see the sun as each day will be cloudy, wet and windy.  Sunday is suppose to bring the worst, rain and wind up to 30 mph so it will take a different type of player to do well.

 

 

Who to watch for at the Irish Open

Best Bets:

Sergio Garcia

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Played three times, last was 2000 when he was T10th, Won in 1999 and T60th in 1998

Love him for this week, he plays great on links courses, is a great shotmaker and one of the best players in terrible weather. You can just about bet the farm on him this week.

Francesco Molinari

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T32 T10 8 DQ CUT T7 T56 T43

This guy has been knocking on the door of victory for weeks now. Only a matter of time, yes he can play links golf and in poor weather.

Rickie Fowler

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

Played in the 2007 Walker Cup winning three of four points so he must like the course if he came over from the states. I like his chances because he is hot and still has memories of winning the Players.

Best of the rest:

Rory McIlroy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT T10 T34 T35 T50 7 CUT

Again question several things, first that he is the unofficial host and may be doing too much. Also have never seen him play well in bad weather and the course may be too tricking for him. But just remember this, he won at Hoylake that does have lot’s of blind shots. Also played in the 2007 Walker Cup so he does like the course so it’s a toss-up on Rory for the week.

Danny Willett

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 T10 CUT CUT

Played in 2007 Walker Cup so knows the course. Has seven top-tens on links courses so that will help him.

Lee Westwood

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T30 T3 T21 T5 T11

Loves playing links golf and he has gone out of his way to play this week. His game could be perfect for Royal County Down so don’t be surprise to see him on the leaderboard.

Jamie Donaldson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T10 Win T45 T21 13 CUT CUT CUT CUT

Knows how to win on links courses and bad weather. Good shotmaker, think the course is perfect for him.

Solid contenders

Miguel A. Jimenez

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T21 T49 T31 T11

This guys game is perfect for anyplace and under any conditions. Can he win, damn right he can.

Thongchai Jaidee

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T18 T20

Played well last week could carry over to this week.

Shane Lowry

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T5 T51 CUT T21 Win

Grew up playing links golf, he won the Irish and his game is good right now.

Ross Fisher

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T22 T10 T17 Win T50 T24 CUT T5

Loves this event, has four top-tens including a win in 2010.

Long shots that could come through:

Alexander Levy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT

Was the medalist at U.S. Open qualifying, he knows how to play well on links courses.

Emiliano Grillo

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T53 T44

This guy is playing great golf and should be ready to go for this week.

Richie Ramsay

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T16 T65 T9 CUT

Grew up playing links golf this could be a great place for him.

Worst Bets:

Padraig Harrington

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T14 CUT T7 CUT 2 CUT T31 Win 11 T5 T2 CUT

How sad it is because he loves this place and would love to win his national championship again. But the shoulder is getting worst and he is really struggling with the pain. Have to wonder when he will have surgery on that shoulder.

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