The long-anticipated 147th Open Championship is set to commence at Carnoustie tomorrow, with the world’s leading golf players competing for the coveted title and generous cash prize.
This notoriously difficult course typically pushes competitors to the limit and this year will be no exception, as we look forward to one of the most open and evenly-matched championships so far. Here, we take a look at some of the top contenders for this year’s title.
Jordan Spieth, USA
Jordan Spieth won the 146th Open last year at Royal Birkdale with a score of 268, becoming the first player since Jack Nicklaus to win three majors before turning 24. The defending champion has not won a single title since then, despite almost securing a second Masters Crown in April. In fact, Spieth has struggled to maintain any momentum or form this year so far, culminating in a failure to make the cut at the U.S. Open.
Still, Spieth’s impressive final round at the Masters in April is a reminder of his inherent class and there are few putters as equally composed or assured on the tour. These facts coupled with his proven pedigree at last year’s championship make him a clear contender for the title this time around.
Rickie Fowler, USA
Fowler, a veteran of 33 major golf championships, also impressed in the Masters earlier this year, missing out on the top spot by just one stroke. He followed this up with a superb performance at the US PGA Championship during the summer, finishing in third and showcasing a winning consistency.
He’s set to tee-off as one of the early favourites in Carnoustie, having previously finished in second at the 2014 Open and warming up for this year’s event with a solid sixth-place showing at the Scottish Open last weekend. Ultimately, Fowler is one of the best players never to win a major, despite some remembering him more for his colourful attire than his championship-winning potential.
Dustin Johnson, USA
Johnson is somewhat of an enigma in the golfing world; despite his consistent brilliance on the tour, he struggles to compete at the business end of majors. He may have secured top-ten finishes in both the Masters and U.S. Open this year but he was nowhere near adding to his 2016 U.S. Open Crown in either tournament.
While this is likely frustrating for such a talented golfer, it’s only a matter of time before Johnson earns himself a second major title. He’ll certainly start as one of the favourites at the Open Championship, particularly given the fact he has earned two wins on the American tour this season so far.
Jon Rahm, ESP
Spanish star Rahm has earned a reputation as one of the best young players in the sport and the world number five deserves nothing less than to cement this with his first major golf title. The only issue with Rahm is that he often struggles to control his emotions under pressure, which has so far prevented him from transferring his impressive tour success into major titles.
However, there are signs that he may finally be starting to curb his errant emotions after trying for fourth place in an extremely impressive Masters showing in April. He has two tour wins to his name so far this season, having prevailed in the U.S. and then on home soil at the Spanish Masters. Rahm is also an accomplished links player, with his Irish Open win at Portstewart last year as testament. He represents a good outside bet at Carnoustie and we’d certainly expect him to continue improving in later major championships.
The Last Word
Ultimately, any one of these contenders could win at the Open Championship. This is going to be one of the most keenly contested events in living memory, and we can certainly expect some surprises before the tournament is over.