The Open Championship Preview
The Open Championship kicks off tomorrow from the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake England. All eyes have been on Tiger Woods the past couple of days in Northwest England, and talk is of the bright green conditions of the course as compared to the dusty brown fairways the last time the Open was played here in 2006, and Woods last hoisted the Claret Jug. But while Woods may still be attracting the most attention, we’ll believe he’s the Tiger of old when we actually see it. With that in mind here are ScoreBoard’s top 5 players to watch this weekend:
1) Henrik Stenson –
Last year’s Open Championship runner-up, the Swede enters this week with top-7 finishes in his last 4 starts, including a tie for 2nd in his last outing in Germany. He tied for 4th last month at Pinehurst, and has the game and temperament to conquer Royal Liverpool.
2) Adam Scott –
Finished tied for 3rd last year and only a dramatic collapse kept him from lifting the Jug in 2012. He has top-10 finishes in each of his last 3 starts dating back to his playoff win at Colonial. His game should thrive on a course like Royal Liverpool that requires accurate tee to green placement.
3) Rory McIlroy
If only he could skip Friday’s round we’d have him as a cinch to be in contention on Sunday. But even with his recent 2nd round struggles he’s had a solid 2014 season, highlighted by his win at Wentworth. His top Open finish was third at St. Andrews in 2010, but when his game is on he’s better than most in the field this week.
4) Martin Kaymer
He bounced back onto the scene this year with his win at TPC Sawgrass in May and his demolition of the field last month at Pinehurst en route to his 2nd Major. He’s playing with extreme confidence and boats a solid Open record, including four top-35 finishes in each of the last 5 years, including a tie for 7th in 2010.
5) Jordan Spieth
Our home-town boy has shown no signs of letting down in this 2nd season on the tour, having contended at both the Masters and the Players Championship. He heads across the Pond coming off 8 top-20 in his last 9 starts. The 20-year-old made the cut in his Open debut last year at Muirfield, tying for 44th, and we expect him to improve on that considerably in his 2nd go-round.
Others to keep an eye on-
Ricky Fowler – The only player with top-5 finishes in the first 2 majors of 2014, he appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough win (and has no troubles adjusting to links golf).
Justin Rose – Enters Thursday with back-to-back wins, including a links layout last week at Royal Aberdeen. He’s the best long iron player in the field which should prove invaluable this weekend.