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The Open 2017: Ten year Trends point to Scott

Adam Scott fits all the trends this year
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Dave Tindall takes a close look at the make-up of the last 10 Open winners to see which player is most likely to lift the Claret Jug in 2017...


"The 37-year-old Australian, who sits 15th in the world rankings, was runner-up along the coast at Royal Lytham in 2012 and followed that with T3, T5 and T10 in his next three Open starts. He was T10 at the St. Jude Classic recently and took the wise move of coming to GB early to tee it up in the Scottish Open."

While the US Open has turned into the young man's major (Brooks Koepka was the sixth 20-something winner in the last nine years), the Open Championship is the one where guile and experience still counts for an awful lot.

Perhaps you'd expect that given that the tournament takes place on classic courses steeped in history - a contrast to Chambers Bay (where 21-year-old Jordan Spieth won the 2015 US Open) and Erin Hills (Koepka), venues which had never been used before at that level and were opened post-2005.

Royal Birkdale, on the other hand, was founded 128 years ago and will be staging its 10th Open Championship.

Henrik Stenson had the perfect profile for an Open winner when coming out on top in a thrilling battle with 2013 champ Phil Mickelson last year, but who is the best statistical fit for the 2017 edition?

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:


2016 - Henrik Stenson

Best previous Open finish: 2nd
Nationality: Swedish
Age at time: 40
World ranking at time: 6th
Last 3 starts: 13-1-WD
Played week before: Yes (T13 Scottish Open)


2015 - Zach Johnson

Best previous Open finish: 6th
Nationality: American
Age at time: 39
World ranking at time: 25th
Last 3 starts: 3-6-72
Played week before: Yes (T3 John Deere Classic)


2014 - Rory McIlroy

Best previous Open finish: 3rd
Nationality: Northern Irish
Age at time: 25
World ranking at time: 8th
Last 3 starts: 14-MC-23
Played week before: Yes (T14 Scottish Open)


2013 - Phil Mickelson

Best previous Open finish: 2nd
Nationality: American
Age at time: 43
World ranking at time: 5th
Last 3 starts: 1-MC-2
Played week before: Yes (Won Scottish Open)


2012 - Ernie Els

Best previous Open finish: Win
Nationality: South African
Age at time: 42
World ranking at time: 40th
Last 3 starts: 52-9-58
Played week before: Yes (T52 Scottish Open)


2011 - Darren Clarke

Best previous Open finish: 2nd
Nationality: Northern Irish
Age at time: 42
World ranking at time: 111th
Last 3 starts: 66-MC-46
Played week before: Yes (T66 Scottish Open)


2010 - Louis Oosthuizen

Best previous Open finish: MC
Nationality: South African
Age at time: 27
World ranking at time: 54th
Last 3 starts: MC-MC-20
Played week before: Yes (MC Scottish Open)


2009 - Stewart Cink

Best previous Open finish: 6th
Nationality: American
Age at time: 36
World ranking at time: 30th
Last 3 starts: MC-27-8
Played week before: No


2008 - Padraig Harrington

Best previous Open finish: Win
Nationality: Irish
Age at time: 36
World ranking at time: 13th
Last 3 starts: 17-36-4
Played week before: No


2007 - Padraig Harrington

Best previous Open finish: 5th
Nationality: Irish
Age at time: 35
World ranking at time: 10th
Last 3 starts: 51-54-MC
Played week before: No


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

- Three of last 10 Open winners were American
- Four 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

- Four of last 10 Open winners were in their 30s
- Four of last 10 Open winners were in their 40s
- Two of last 10 Open winners were in their 20s
- Eight 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

- Eight of last 10 Open winners had a top 20 in one of their previous three starts


Played week before

- Seven of last 10 Open winners (including all of the last seven) had teed it up the week before


Royal Birkdale trends


Since 1954, Royal Birkdale has staged nine Opens. There have been five American winners - Arnold Palmer (1961), Lee Trevino (1971), Johnny Miller (1976), Tom Watson (1983) and Mark O'Meara (1998), three Australian victories - Peter Thomson (1954 & 1965) and Ian Baker-Finch (1991) and one Irish champion - Padraig Harrington (2008).

The world rankings were only introduced in 1986 but had they been around earlier, Thomson (runner-up the previous two years and an eventual five-time Open champ), Palmer, Trevino, Miller and Watson would have been very high up. Baker-Finch was World No.25 at the time while O'Meara was 12th in the rankings.

In other words, every winner at Royal Birkdale - considered the fairest of the layouts on the Open rota - was a top 25 player.

As for their previous best finish in the event, all nine had previously had a top six at the Open. In fact, seven of the nine had finished in the top six the previous year.


What we're looking for?


Taking the strongest trends, the ideal fit for an Open champion for Royal Birkdale 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 three starts
- Played the week before (five of last six Open winners had played in the Scottish Open on a links course)
- Is not the defending champion (9 of last 10 have failed to win the following year)


Does anyone fit the bill?


Just one name comes through all those checks:

Adam Scott - available to back at [36.0] on the exchange.

The 37-year-old Australian, who sits 15th in the world rankings, was runner-up along the coast at Royal Lytham in 2012 and followed that with T3, T5 and T10 in his next three Open starts. He was T10 at the St. Jude Classic recently and took the wise move of coming to GB early to tee it up in the Scottish Open.

That's enough to make him the only man to tick every box but, as a bonus, it's good to see that there have been three Aussie winners in the nine Opens at Royal Birkdale. And... Scott played there in 2008 and posted a decent T16 after lying T4 after day one.

Also, six of the last 10 Open winners had bagged a top 10 in one of the first two majors of that season. Scott was T9 at The Masters.


Near-miss candidate: Justin Rose


Rose is 36, was famously T4 as an amateur in the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale and made the top four in the Irish Open last time. That latter result is interesting as it was also on a links course so, although it wasn't the week before like the Scottish Open, it still means that Rose has got in some very useful, competitive play at a links course in close proximity to the start of The Open. Previously the Irish Open had been played in May rather than July and sometimes on a parkland course so its relevance was diminished.


Others worth noting


Henrik Stenson only fails to qualify due to being the defending champion. However, Padraig Harrington was the holder of the Claret Jug when he came to Royal Birkdale in 2008 and won again so it can be done. It's also intriguing that seven of the nine Open winners at Royal Birkdale had finished in the top six the year before. Out of interest, the top six last year were: Stenson, Mickelson, J.B. Holmes, Steve Stricker, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton and a certain Rory McIlroy.


Recommended Bet

Back Adam Scott @ [36.0]


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