Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: British Open

The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale GC should prove tough. What do you need to know about the course?

Finally. It's here!

The Open Championship. Or the British Open. But we'll call it the Open Championship. Whatever. It's here, and we get a loaded PGA field to dissect for DFS on FanDuel.

The course is going to be as difficult as the field is, and there's quite a bit to go over. Let's get right to it.

Course and Tournament Overview

The Open always plays tough. Royal Birkdale is no different. In fact, in 2008, the last time it hosted the Open, it graded out as the toughest course on tour that year.

Here's a snapshot of the past 10 iterations of the Open. Take special note of the fact that only one of them played below par (and just barely).

Year Difficulty Rank Open Championship Course Par Yds Avg Score Avg O/U Par
2016 4 Royal Troon GC 71 7,190 73.161 2.161
2015 24 St. Andrews GC (Old Course) 72 7,297 71.714 -0.286
2014 10 Royal Liverpool GC 72 7,312 72.767 0.767
2013 2 Muirfield 71 7,030 74.478 3.478
2012 5 Royal Lytham St. Anne 70 7,086 71.983 1.983
2011 1 Royal St. George's GC 70 7,211 73.018 3.018
2010 5 St. Andrews GC (Old Course) 72 7,305 73.069 1.069
2009 2 Turnberry (Ailsa) 70 7,204 72.593 2.593
2008 1 Royal Birkdale GC 70 7,173 74.869 4.869
2007 5 Carnoustie GC 71 7,361 73.381 2.381

As for the setup, we have a 156-player field with the top-70 and ties making it through after 36 holes. There's no second cut, either.

Past Results

Though the Open hasn't been held at Birkdale since 2008, we can still take some general knowledge from recent Opens.

In 2016, Henrik Stenson ran away with the title. Well, at -20, he beat Phil Mickelson (-17) by three strokes. J.B. Holmes finished third at -6. So, yeah.

Zach Johnson won in 2015, with Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen tying for second. Jason Day and Jordan Spieth tied for fourth.

Rory McIlroy won the 2014 Open. Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler were tied for second, Jim Furyk finished fourth, and Leishman and Adam Scott tied for fifth.

Of course, the Open draws in big names, but the big names win this event and contend for the top of the leaderboard. Keep that in mind if you find yourself scrounging for value picks to round out your roster.

Key Stats

You'll always be good to weight strokes gained: tee to green and birdie or better rate, as well as strokes gained putting, but these are the stats that look to be most important for Royal Birkdale this week.

Key Stats for The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale GC
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Strokes Gained: Approach the Green
Driving Accuracy
Bogey Avoidance
Par 4 Scoring

It seems as though the ideal checklist is to hit the narrow fairways and then just make up strokes from there rather than bombing it down the fairway.

Factor in the possibility of heavy winds, and you can even bump up play around the green. If everyone struggles to hit greens in regulation because of wind causing accuracy issues, players with the best around the green game could fill the top of the leaderboard. That's the stat that really jumped off the page back in 2008 at this course.

Other than that, you shouldn't expect scores to go low with how tricky the course plays -- or should play, at least -- and avoiding bogeys gets an extra nod this week.

Event History Studs

We'll give a little extra weight to 2008 here, and players who played well at the Open that year include some interesting names.

Padraig Harrington ($5,600 on FanDuel) won in 2008 (and in 2007 for what it's worth). Ian Poulter ($6,200) was the runner-up. Stenson ($8,700) tied for third. Paul Casey ($7,800) and Steve Stricker ($6,500) tied for seventh. Adam Scott ($8,600) was 16th, and Phil Mickelson ($7,600) was 19th, as was Alex Noren ($8,000).

As for guys with strong Open form overall, there's Sergio Garcia (5, 6, 2, 21, cut, 9, 14, 38, 51 at Birkdale, 2) since 2007. He's $9,400 on FanDuel.

Scott ($8,600) has finished 43, 10, 5, 3, 2, 25, 27, 27, cut, 16 at Birkdale, 27 since 2007.

Dustin Johnson ($10,400) was 9, 49, 12, 32, 9, 2, 14, cut since 2009. Zach Johnson ($6,500) was 12, 1, 47, 6, 9, 16, 76, 47, 51 at Birkdale, 20).

Stenson won in 2016 and was 40, 39, and 2 the three prior years. He also was 3rd in 2008 and 2010 and 13th in 2009.

Fowler ($9,600) has three top 15s since 2010: 14 in 2010, 5 in 2011, and 2 in 2014, with just one missed cut (2013) in that span.

Mickelson, since 2011, was 2, cut, 1, 23, 20, and 2 last year. McIlroy ($9,800) finished fifth last year and won in 2014 after a missed cut, 60, 25, 3, and 47 since 2009.

Justin Rose ($8,700) was 23 in 2014, 6 in 2015, and 22 in 2016.

Charl Schwartzel ($7,000) finished top 20 five times in his past seven tries at the Open. He was 18 last year, 68, 7, 15, cut, 16, and 14 in that span.