Alongside the green jacket, this is the one that so many players want – the Claret Jug.
The Open Championship is one of the oldest events in the world and has produced some of the greatest moments in sporting history.
This year’s course, Carnoustie, has received the nickname ‘Carnasty’ – after Jean Van De Velde’s memorable demise.
He was three shots clear, on the 18th on the final day but struggled on the ‘barry burn’ and dropped shots, which led to local lad Paul Lawrie becoming champion.
On this 7,402 yard course, we’re expecting strong winds, heavy rain, pot bunkers to be found and long swirling putts to be made.
The par 71 contains countless strategically placed pot bunkers in the fairway and around the green. Find these and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be fighting for a bogey.
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Although the venue for The Open changes each year, making it tough to predict a winner, the one thing each tournament has in common is a links course.
Only two of the last 13 winners didn’t have a Links victory to their name before their win (Henrik Stenson and Zach Johnson)
What we learnt from previous winners
- Only two of the last 13 winners didn’t have a Links victory to their name before their win (Henrik Stenson and Zach Johnson)
- 12 of the past 13 winners had at least a top 6 at The Open before their victory
- 11 of the past 14 winners had a victory in the year they lifted the Claret Jug
- One top 8 in one of their 6 events leading up to The Open
This has resulted in us whittling it down to these stars, whose form suggests they could be in for a big shout to win the tournament.
The world Number One is hardly a surprise. On his day he’s pretty much unstoppable. He has 3 top 10’s at previous Opens, including a T2 back in 2011.
His only problem is what he sometimes does with a driver and if even just 2 or 3 bad sprays off the tee will cost him the tournament.
The past 3 Open starts for Rory have resulted in a win, T5 and T4.
That proves how classy he is on any links track and whilst he struggled at The US Open a few weeks back, he has shown enough at the BMW PGA and Memorial to be heavily considered.
Justin Rose weirdly only has two top 6’s to his name in The Open.
Despite that, he must be considered because his form in 2018 has been so incredible. 5 top 10’s and a win at the Fort Worth Invitational. Plus he’s English and we thought it was coming home?
Defending your US Open is a feat not many have achieved and the way he did it was just so impressive. So surely he couldn’t possibly go onto win two majors in a row?
Well, his links history is eye catching – 2 wins and 6 top 10’s in 20 outings – plus his experience on the Challenge and European Tours give him such a unique advantage over the majority of PGA Tour players.
Underestimate this freak of golfing nature at your peril.
Jason Day has never missed a cut at The Open but only has one finish inside the top 10. He finished agonisingly 1 shot behind the playoff mark of -15 after missing a 15-footer for birdie on the 18th.
His 2018 has been so consistent as well, with 2 victories and a further two top 5 finishes.
The first non-major champion on this list so far, but Alex Noren is knocking on the door. He’s been playing outstanding golf for well over a year now.
A win on his last outing at the French, plus a further four top 3 finishes in 2018 is some record.
Whilst he only has two top 10’s in majors, they’ve both come at The Open. Plus he has the most links wins out of any golfer in the field since 2010 with 4 victories.
Paul Casey has been very impressive in 2018, finally getting a win on the PGA Tour for the first time in 9 years, however there are still question marks over his bottle when it gets to the crunch.
He threw away a final day lead on his last outing at the Travelers to finish T2 and that will deter many. But he’s English and as we’ve already said, it’s coming home, isn’t it?
The final player that makes it through the trends is the mercurial Phil Mickelson. How he’s still doing it at his age is beyond us, but the guy keeps producing magic.
On paper his driving should be too erratic to compete at Opens but he’s managed to win and record three top 3’s over the years.
However he only just sneaked in because of a T5 at the Wells Fargo 6 events ago, so if he doesn’t record a top 10 at The Scottish Open this week, he wouldn’t be on this list.
Don’t forget to check back on our final picks and preview, which will be out next Monday. Hopefully it’ll be a day the whole of England are nursing hangovers after a certain match on Sunday…