The Open Championship

Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland

This week marks the 150th playing of the (British) Open Championship. The course rotation was set up so the Old Course would play host for this significant anniversary. The weather forecast appears ready to produce a firm and fast test this week and scores should be lower than normal for an Open Championship.

The world’s best golfers – including LIV defectors and Tiger Woods – are all in attendance with no notable absentees, unless you include the disinvited Greg Norman who was originally slated to attend the festivities as a former champion.

There is an exhaustive list of players who come into this tournament in good form. Rory McIlroy is playing some of his best golf in years and is certainly due for another major win sometime soon. Xander Schauffele is coming off three straight wins (if you count his 36- hole pro-am win) and is one of the top candidates in the “best player without a major” category. Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris have both proven to be consistent threats in the majors and despite a poor showing at the Scottish Open, Collin Morikawa is a player who can always grind himself into contention. Jordan Spieth’s game is ideal for Open conditions and his results have shown that he should always be a top pick on the links. Then you have U.S. Open Champ Matthew Fitzpatrick, PGA winner Justin Thomas and a slightly off-form Jon Rahm to round out the top contenders. And in the “don’t forget about me” grouping, you have another list including Cameron Smith, Shane Lowry, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau.

Who should win? – Rory McIlroy 10/1

When Rory is totally on his game, he is likely the best player in the world. He has been playing like that for the last few months and would dearly love to add to his career major total. In the expected conditions this week, his length off the tee will serve him well. His wedge game has been great this year so if his putter behaves – particularly inside five feet – this Open could be his.

Who could win? – Jordan Spieth 18/1, Will Zalatoris 30/1, Matt Fitzpatrick 20/1, Scottie Scheffler 20/1

If the course is set-up with tight pins in order to protect par, there is no-one better with the wedge game than Spieth. He always seems to be in the hunt at the Open and this year will be no exception. Zalatoris simply elevates his game for the majors. He played poorly last week but I expect to see him again in one of the final groups on Sunday. Now that Fitzpatrick has broken through with a major, he should start adding to his win total on the Tour. His newfound length will also be helpful this week. Scheffler has shown that unfamiliarity with any type of course is of no concern. He is just a great golfer who also seems to have little fear.

Longer shots to consider – Tony Finau 45/1, Brooks Koepka 55/1

Both these players have decent records in the Open over the past several years. Koepka still carries himself as a player to be reckoned with despite little recent success. It seems like Finau is given scant notice even when he is a stroke or two off the lead. That could change this week.

Who will win? – Tony Finau 45/1

With so many other players at the top of their games at the moment, Finau is a little under the radar this week. He has the length to contend here and by now he should have learned how to close out a big one. I have a feeling he will go out a bit early on Sunday, put up a low number and wait to see if it holds up. Oh and by the way, he will be the second player named Tony to win the Open at St. Andrews.

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