GOLF BRITISH OPEN
FANTASY GRACE PERIOD
By James Dalthorp III
BEAST DOME NATION.
British Open Fantasy Grace Period. Listen, you don’t have too many big weeks left this year where golf will be an absolute BEAST to watch in 2021. This week should excite you as an authentic sports fan. It checks all the boxes we can possibly check right now: Major. England. A turning point in pro golf.
Lucky for you, I have played with one of the most recent champions of this very event. In 2004, I played a Monday qualifier for the PGA Tour’s L.A. Open at Riviera and got paired with none other than Ben Curtis. Not only did he win the Open that year, he went on to have a great career.
IT’s going to be hard for me not to be biased based on my experience with Ben Curtis. I actually won a bet on him finishing in top 10 that week. When he won, it hit such a nerve that I never got paid. Why did Ben go overseas for the first time as a pro and win in one of the wildest underdog stories? Ball flight.
Ben flights it low with the driver. He is the best chipper I’ve ever seen. He’s smart and tactical. He conquers difficult courses with his mind. This, after all, is a major championship.
British Open Fantasy Grace Period
Here’s my top pick to look at for this years open: Branden Grace.
In 2018’s Open, Franceso Molinari, Shane Lowry, and Branden Grace were paired together early in the event. Molinari won, Lowry won in 2019, and then 2020 got skipped.
Look, this guy covers all the bases. Some might argue that the South African is not on the level as fellow major champs Charles Schwartzel and Louis Oostuizen. No, this guy is REALLY good. That country produces some absolute monsters in this game. From Gary Player to Ernie Els, this new generation is better than any may ever be.
Grace has the record for the lowest round ever in a major – and he’s extremely accomplished but hasn’t quite broke that major barrier. He’s coming off two very solid top 10 finishes and he tends to be a very streaky player. Ride the wave.
On top of all that, Grace is 38th on the PGA Tour in scrambling. That is unbelievable if you consider that he is not an American who has not played a regular schedule at most of the courses he plays. Guys who go to new venues and mix it up have a harder time scrambling. Course knowledge is a big factor. That’s a fearless move.
Grace is 33 and accomplished. Much like the major winners we’ve had so far this year, COVID has grounded some of the players who were otherwise in trouble of burnout or maybe losing out to the young stars. Matsuyama, Mickelson, and now Branden Grace. Book it.