Golf Open Preview

Steve Mitchell-US Presswire

The Fall Series on the US Tour continues this week with the Open. The sub-plot of the tournament is that it is an opportunity for those players outside the top 125 in the Money List to secure their playing privileges for next year. After this week there are just two more tournaments in 2012 and the cut-off will be determined once those events have taken place.

The issue is complicated by the fact that Justin Leonard and Retief Goosen will retain their cards even if they finish out of the upper band. This is because they have won enough career money to keep their cards regardless of where they finish in the Money List.

This means that two players who do make the top 125 will lose their cards and face the Qualifying School or compete next year on sponsor’s invitations. John Daly is one player who gets invites but this is only fitting for a player who has won two major championships.

The host course this week is the CardeValle Golf Club in California. Decent weather conditions are expected which means there should be plenty of birdie and eagle opportunities on this par 71 track. However, the greens are above average in size which means bogey avoidance will be a key skill.

The course is about average in length by modern standards so means length off the tee will not be an important skill. The accuracy disciplines will be the key to low scoring. In the two years that CardeValley has staged the event the winning score has been 15 and 17 under so on a par 71 track players will probably need four rounds in the sixties to contend.

Nicolas Colsaerts is an interesting competitor. He was the best player on the first day of the Ryder Cup and won the World Match Play Championship earlier this year so is proven in that format of the game. He was an obvious choice for a Ryder Cup wildcard pick and he justified selection.

Ben Curtis (pictured) is another intriguing entrant. The 2003 British Open winner is an excellent putter and he used his skills on the greens to figure in the Player’s Championship against the strongest field of the year. The course will suit Curtis and that makes him a leading contender this week.