The oldest and greatest of the four majors, the Open Championship, is now the final one of the four to be staged. The event was the only one of the four majors to be lost to the pandemic last year. Often known as the British Open it has been two years since the famous Claret jug was lifted by Shane Lowry.
The Open Championship is always staged on a links course, with Royal St George’s in Sandwich Kent this year’s venue. The course is a par 70 with a yardage of 7,206 yards. Royal St Georges is a distinctive links course and a tough test for any golfer.
Notable withdrawals already
Already this year there have been notable withdrawals from the event. Former champion Zach Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and two times Masters champion Bubba Watson are all out due to Covid-19.
As many as five of the last seven Open winners had won in one of their five previous starts. Having good previous Open Championship form is a huge advantage with 14 of the last 15 winners recording a prior top ten.
The field will be led by world number one Joh Rahm. The Spaniard has already won the US Open at Torrey Pines just last month. Rahm is a wonderful exponent of a links course and has already won the Irish Open twice on a links layout.
Rahm the man to beat
Having taken a little time off for the small matter of fatherhood, the Spaniard has hit a rich vein of form. Finishing six clear of the field at the Memorial Tournament before being forced to withdraw prior to round four. The Spaniard was a contender at last weekend’s Scottish Open where he shot four rounds in the 60’s.
The 2014 champion Rory McIlroy missed the cut at Royal Portrush in 2019. Despite still not looking back to his best he has an excellent Open record.
Owning a pair of US Open and USPGA Championships, Brooks Koepka is a major specialist. Although he missed the cut at the Palmetto Championship, his last three starts make impressive reading. A second at the USPGA, fourth in the US Open and fifth at the Travelers Championship. He certainly has a huge chance once again in this event.
Spieth looking for further succsess
The 2017 winner Jordan Spieth is a rejuvenated player after a long spell ion the wilderness. If he can continue to make progress and get back to his old self, he could well feature highly.
American Xander Schauffele hasn’t won in over two years but must surely come good at some stage. Another American who can’t be discounted is Justin Thomas who is beginning to get to grips with links golf.
Among the brits fancied to go well at Sandwich must be Tyrrell Hatton who has won four of his last 32 starts. The 29-year-old brit has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, BMW PGA Championship and Abu Dhabi Championship.
Lee Westwood is another player who thrives on British majors. Westwood is the type of player who could go well around this type of course. Another consistent brit is Paul Casey. Always around the leaderboard with two strong finishes in the last two majors.
It has been a long wait for the British public to come and see the best golfers in the world competing. I am sure the two year wait will be worth it and we will witness four days of compelling golf.