The 147th British Open will tee off bright and early Thursday morning from Angus, Scotland at Carnoustie Golf Links where the best in the world will battle for the year’s third major championship.
Carnoustie — or “Carnasty” as it’s been affectionately dubbed — has hosted two of the four highest scoring Open Championships since World War Two, with Gary Player winning with a score of 289 in 1968 and Paul Lawrie claiming the Claret Jug with a cumulative score of 290 in 1999. That 1999 Open, where Jean Van De Velde famously imploded with a triple-bogey seven on the final to lose to Lawrie, had an aggregate score of 2,660-over-par.
The best players in the world will be tested by both the course and the elements this week at Carnoustie, and as is typically the case at the British Open, the player that can best adjust their game will walk down the 18th fairway on Sunday with the championship in hand.
Here are five golfers who have the best chance to win the 2018 British Open:
Rickie Fowler — He’s got to win one eventually, right? Fowler has nine top-10 finishes at major championships in his career and two top 10s in eight career Open starts. Carnoustie is known as the hardest course in The Open rotation and Fowler is the type of player that can grind it out on a tough course. Fowler’s short game will serve him well if he gets in trouble this week and his putter will take him to his first major victory.
Rory McIlroy — McIlroy hasn’t played nearly as poorly of late as people think. The Northern Irishman missed the cut at the 2018 U.S. Open but came in 18th the following week at the Travelers Championship and it could have been better had his putter not been ice cold. He finished 28th two weeks ago at his home event, the Irish Open, and has been solid in his British Open career. In his last five Opens, McIlroy has an average finish of 3.3 with a missed cut and a DNP mixed in.
Patrick Reed — The 2018 Masters champion followed his win at Augusta National by making a run at the 2018 U.S. Open title before ultimately falling short to Brooks Koepka. Reed has posted top-10 finishes in each of his past three majors. While he doesn’t have a great record at The Open, he has a 12th and 20th place finish to go along with two missed cuts in four starts at golf’s oldest championship. Reed has the inventiveness, imagination and shot-making ability to take home the Claret Jug.
Alex Noren — The Swedish star came in tied for sixth at last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale and enters the week in fantastic form. In his last five starts, Noren has posted results of 17, T-3, T-23, T-25 and a win at the French Open. He has all the skill to win a major and could break through this week at Carnoustie.
Tiger Woods — We know, we know, you’ve heard this before. But really, this is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year. The baked out fairways at Carnoustie will allow Woods to shelve his driver, which he’s struggled to hit, and put on a stripe show with his irons all week. The course setup also plays to Woods’ strengths. Only two holes play right to left and the slower greens should help Woods’ putting struggles. Look for him to be there on the weekend.
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