British Open Predictions 2013: Why an Underdog Is Destined to Win at Muirfield

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2013

GULLANE, SCOTLAND - JULY 16:  Justin Rose of England hits a shot ahead of the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield on July 16, 2013 in Gullane, Scotland.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The 2013 edition of the British Open from Muirfield Golf Links in Gullane, Scotland is setting up to be one of the best events in years, and the fans at home should expect an underdog to shock the field and walk away with the Claret Jug.

This year will mark the 142nd time the Open Championship has taken place, and while the greatest players of all time have thrived in this tournament, there have also been a fair share of long shots who have been victorious.

For every Tiger Woods or Tom Watson win, there is a Todd Hamilton (2004 champion), Tom Lehman (1996 champion) or Ian Baker-Finch (1991 champion) who has shocked the world and won their first and only major under the adverse conditions of the European weather.

That should give hope to every player entering the tournament this week.

With history on their side, the course at Muirfield will be a great equalizer for these golfers. The links course is one of the best in the world and is viewed as one of the best spots to hold the British Open, having been host 15 times, per the USA Today.

The course this year will play 7,245 yards in length, per the Muirfield’s official website, and will be a true test of the players’ ability to contend with the ever-changing winds and the tough conditions if they miss the fairways or greens.

Just as Merion Golf Club took the players at the 2013 U.S. Open to their limits with its long, rough and unforgiving setup, Muirfield will force golfers to be patient and hit smart shots. If they start trying to overstretch their abilities, the course will bite back.

Muirfield’s links are the perfect embodiment of what the British Open is all about. With a difficult course that can be taken advantage of by golfers playing well in all facets of their game, the Open Championship is the chance for any man on any given day to seal his place in history.

Add in the depth of the field at the 2013 British Open each year—the biggest international golf event of the season—and the favorites will be dealing with names they don’t often hear playing the best golf of their lives.

As golf fans, trying to find the players flying under the radar that could find success is part of the fun. While tour veterans like Miguel Angel Jimenez and Vijay Singh have the patience needed to dominate Muirfield, there is another star who deserves respect.

PGA legend Fred Couples.

Couples is entering his first British Open since 2006, per Brentley Romine of Golfweek, and while the rust may be a factor, the lack of pressure will result in a phenomenal showing from the Senior PGA Tour star.

The Claret Jug represents the longevity of the event, and when an underdog like Couples tames Muirfield to take the British Open Championship, there shouldn’t be anyone surprised.

Finishing Order Predictions

The 2013 British Open is the perfect setting for underdogs like Jimenez and Singh to thrive, but it will be Couples in his first Open Championship since 2006 who steals the show.

Here are my predictions for the top five finishers:

1. Fred Couples
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Miguel Angel Jimenez
4. Vijay Singh
5. Ernie Els