Open Championship 2018 stats: Ten year trends point to Rose

English golfer Justin Rose
Justin Rose ticks all the right boxes ahead of this year's Open Championship
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Dave Tindall looks at the make-up of the last 10 Open champions to try and find this year's winner...

"The 37-year-old Englishman, who sits 3rd in the world rankings, was T4 as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998, T6 at St Andrews in 2015 and T12 at Carnoustie in 2007. He won the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial at the end of May, was T10 at the U.S. Open two starts ago and honed his links skill by playing in the Scottish Open at Gullane."

Although it's 11 years since the Open Championship was last played at Carnoustie, plenty of strong trends emerge from the 10 editions that have taken place since.

One is that experience counts for more in this major than any other.

Brooks Koepka became the seventh 20-something in the last 10 years to win the US Open when defending his title at Shinnecock last month. The oldest winner in that period was just 32.

By contrast, seven of the last 10 Open winners were 36 or over and three were in their 40s.

So who is the best statistical fit for Carnoustie this year?

To help work that out, here's a look at the last 10 Open champions and how they shaped up at the time of their triumphs:

2017 - Jordan Spieth

Best previous Open finish: 4th
Nationality: American
Age at time: 23
World ranking at time: 3rd
Last 2 starts: 1-35
Played week before: No
Won that season: Yes

2016 - Henrik Stenson

Best previous Open finish: 2nd
Nationality: Swedish
Age at time: 40
World ranking at time: 6th
Last 2 starts: 13-1
Played week before: Yes (T13 Scottish Open)
Won that season: Yes

2015 - Zach Johnson

Best previous Open finish: 6th
Nationality: American
Age at time: 39
World ranking at time: 25th
Last 2 starts: 3-6
Played week before: Yes (T3 John Deere Classic)
Won that season: No

2014 - Rory McIlroy

Best previous Open finish: 3rd
Nationality: Northern Irish
Age at time: 25
World ranking at time: 8th
Last 2 starts: 14-MC
Played week before: Yes (T14 Scottish Open)
Won that season: Yes

2013 - Phil Mickelson

Best previous Open finish: 2nd
Nationality: American
Age at time: 43
World ranking at time: 5th
Last 2 starts: 1-MC
Played week before: Yes (Won Scottish Open)
Won that season: Yes

2012 - Ernie Els

Best previous Open finish: Win
Nationality: South African
Age at time: 42
World ranking at time: 40th
Last 2 starts: 52-9
Played week before: Yes (T52 Scottish Open)
Won that season: No

2011 - Darren Clarke

Best previous Open finish: 2nd
Nationality: Northern Irish
Age at time: 42
World ranking at time: 111th
Last 2 starts: 66-MC
Played week before: Yes (T66 Scottish Open)
Won that season: Yes

2010 - Louis Oosthuizen

Best previous Open finish: MC
Nationality: South African
Age at time: 27
World ranking at time: 54th
Last 2 starts: MC-MC
Played week before: Yes (MC Scottish Open)
Won that season: Yes

2009 - Stewart Cink

Best previous Open finish: 6th
Nationality: American
Age at time: 36
World ranking at time: 30th
Last 2 starts: MC-27
Played week before: No
Won that season: No

2008 - Padraig Harrington

Best previous Open finish: Win
Nationality: Irish
Age at time: 36
World ranking at time: 13th
Last 2 starts: 17-36
Played week before: No
Won that season: Yes

Trends of past winners:


Open form

- Nine of last 10 Open winners had registered a top 6 in the event previously
- Six of last 10 Open winners had registered a top 3 in the event previously

Nationality

- Four of last 10 Open winners were American
- Three of last 10 Open winners were Irish/Northern Irish
- Two of last 10 Open winners were South African
- One of last 10 Open winners was from Continental Europe

Age

- Three of last 10 Open winners were in their 30s
- Four of last 10 Open winners were in their 40s
- Three of last 10 Open winners were in their 20s
- Seven of last 10 Open winners were 35 or over

World ranking at the time

- Eight of last 10 Open winners were in the world's top 50
- Seven of last 10 Open winners were in the world's top 30
- Four of last 10 Open winners were in the world's top 10

Current form

- Seven of last 10 Open winners (including six of the last seven) had posted a top 20 in one of their previous two starts
- Seven of last 10 Open winners had won earlier that season

Played week before

- Seven of last 10 Open winners had teed it up the week before. Make that eight if counting Harrington playing in, and winning, the Irish PGA Championship.

Carnoustie trends

Starting in 1931, Carnoustie has staged seven Opens. There have been three American winners (Tommy Armour, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson), a South African (Gary Player), an Englishman (Sir Henry Cotton), a Scotsman (Paul Lawrie) and an Irishman (Padraig Harrington).

Six of those seven champions have won at least three majors!

As for their previous best finish in the event, five of the seven had all posted a top 10 in the Open (Lawrie included) before. Legends Hogan and Watson won on their Open debuts!

With Carnoustie winners having such a pedigree along with the fact that five of the last six Open winners (Spieth, Z Johnson, McIlroy, Mickelson and Els) had already won a major, let's add another stipulation: the player needs to be a previous major winner.

What we're looking for?

Taking the strongest trends, the ideal fit for an Open champion for Carnoustie is as follows:

- Has had a previous top 6 in an Open
- Is 35 or over
- In world's top 30
- Has a top 20 in one of their previous two starts
- Played the week before (five of last seven Open winners had played in the Scottish Open on a links course)
- Has won this season
- Is a major winner
- Is not the defending champion (10 of last 10 have failed to win the following year)

Does anyone fit the bill?

Just one name comes through all those checks:

Justin Rose - available to back at [19.0] on the exchange.

The 37-year-old Englishman, who sits 3rd in the world rankings, was T4 as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998, T6 at St Andrews in 2015 and T12 at Carnoustie in 2007. He won the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial at the end of May, was T10 at the U.S. Open two starts ago and honed his links skill by playing in the Scottish Open at Gullane.

That's enough to make him the only man to tick every box but, as a bonus, six of the last 10 Open winners had bagged a top 10 in one of the first two majors of that season. Rose was T10 at Shinnecock.

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