This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Carnoustie Golf Links (7,402 yards, par 71)
$1,890,000 and 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner
Setting the Stage
CARNOUSTIE, ANGUS, SCOTLAND – Hogan, Player and Watson survived to win at Carnoustie, regarded as one of the world's toughest links challenges. But in the near quarter century that followed Watson's 1975 victory, Carnoustie fell out of the Open rotation and into despair as the hotel in town shut down. Propelled by Jean Van de Velde's dramatic 1999 collapse on the 72nd hole where he rolled up his trousers to hit out of Barry Burn, Carnoustie again came to the forefront of elite courses. In 2018, "Carnasty" will play host to its eighth British Open, attracting the world's best players to one of the world's toughest venues. If the wind should blow with any strength, expect par to be a good score and potentially a winning one. In the seven previous British Opens at Carnoustie, four have produced winnings scores over par, while the best winning score was a mere 7-under by Padraig Harrington in 2007. Expect this year's British Open to be the Scottish equivalent of the tough U.S. Open at Shinnecock a month ago.
Recent Past Champions
2017 – Jordan Spieth (Royal Birkdale)
2016 – Henrik Stenson (Royal Troon)
2015 – Zach Johnson (St. Andrews)
2014 – Rory McIlroy (Royal Liverpool)
2013 – Phil Mickelson (Muirfield)
2012 – Ernie Els (Royal Lytham & St. Annes)
2011 – Darren Clarke (Royal St. Georges)
2010 – Louis Oosthuizen (St. Andrews)
2009 – Stewart Cink (Turnberry)
2008 – Padraig Harrington (Royal Birkdale)
Key Stats to Victory
• Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• World Ranking
No one conquers Carnoustie, it's more about survival
It's been widely publicized how many would-be champions Carnoustie has bedeviled over its last seven British Opens. The famous Barry Burn that meanders through hole 18 makes it one of the toughest final holes in Open history, especially when wind prevails. The course is not a typical going out, coming in British venue, which means holes navigate in many directions and players experience many angles of crosswind. Given the warm, dry conditions Scotland received this year, Carnoustie will play as a firm, baked out golf course that become ruthless if winds pick up. Players will need to hit quality tee shots that can pierce the wind and runout on the fairways. From there, it's all about distance control and knowing where to land approaches to end up with reasonable birdie looks. Focus on players with strong strokes gained: tee-to-green stats and high world rankings as this difficult test should lend itself to the best players surviving. Many are saying it's a wide-open field where many players can win, but I believe an accomplished champion will be crowned this week.
Yahoo Value Picks
Best of the Best
Dustin Johnson, $47 – There's not much holding Johnson back – he loves links golf, he won recently at the St. Jude Classic, he contended in a major recently (U.S. Open) and he's motivated to win a British Open for the first time. Perhaps his only (slight) weakness is his putter at times, but the rest of his game more than covers for this.
Rickie Fowler, $46 – A top-10 at last week's Scottish Open confirms his good form and his ability on links courses, while his demeanor and patience show his potential to get it done under major pressure. He still seeks that first major victory, but he appears to be mentally and physically ready to make a run at it.
Justin Rose, $44 – Rose is riding the coattails of four consecutive top-10s worldwide after a T9 at the Scottish Open last week. Rose is one of two players inside the world's top-10 rankings who has played Carnoustie before, giving him a nice leg up in the course knowledge department. His steady ballstriking and overall body of experience on links courses make him a top-3 favorite this week.
Tiger Woods, $31 – Woods is ranked 71st in the world, but everyone knows he should be much higher in the ranks given his resurgence this season. He hasn't won a tournament since 2013 or a major since 2008, but Tiger should bode well on a firm Carnoustie where he can hit long irons off the tee and let his stellar approach game do the talking. Consider his Open win at Hoylake in 2006, where he did a similar feat.
Tyrell Hatton, $30 – The Englishman is making his seventh British Open start after a solid top-10 at the Scottish Open last week. Though his success at the season's third major has been non-existent, he did win the 2016 and 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championships that rotate to Carnoustie for one round. He's underrated and therefore a good value on Yahoo this week.
Thomas Pieters, $22 – The long-hitting Belgian enters his third British Open this week after posting top-40s at his first two, a sign he's comfortable playing links-style golf. At just $22, the youngster who posted a top-10 last week is worth a strong look to fill out your lineup.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week (based on $200 standard salary cap)
Only the strong survive Carnoustie, so securing as many top-ranked players as possible is key to this week's Open. Guys who have shown great ballstriking (strokes gained: tee-to-green) should prosper in any conditions, but especially if the wind blows. Nab a few hopefuls near $20 but then load up on high-caliber talent and you could be well in the money this week.