The 2014 British Open is truly wide open with dozens of players coming in with a realistic chance of winning the third major of the year.
In the only Grand Slam tournament not on U.S. soil, international golfers like Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy are among the favorites to raise the Claret Jug this weekend. Meanwhile, Americans like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson should never be counted out in a major.
The course at Royal Liverpool provides the opportunity for plenty of birdies and eagles, so every player will need to be aggressive if they want to stay near the top of the leaderboard. No matter who wins, though, this is certain to be an exciting four days that you do not want to miss.
|Date||Channel||Time (ET)||Time (BST)|
|Thur, July 17||ESPN||4 a.m. - 3 p.m.||9 a.m. - 8 p.m.|
|Fri, July 18||ESPN||4 a.m. - 3 p.m.||9 a.m. - 8 p.m.|
|Sat, July 19||ESPN||7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.||12 - 7:30 p.m.|
|Sun, July 20||ESPN||6 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.||11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.|
Live Stream available on ESPN3; via ESPN Media Zone
|8:15 a.m.||Thomas Bjorn||Patrick Reed||Stewart Cink|
|8:26 a.m.||Tom Watson||Jim Furyk||Darren Clarke|
|8:37 a.m.||Luke Donald||Rickie Fowler||Sergio Garcia|
|9:04 a.m.||Tiger Woods||Angel Cabrera||Henrik Stenson|
|9:26 a.m.||Rory McIlroy||Hideki Matsuyama||Jordan Spieth|
|1:38 p.m.||Martin Kaymer||Jason Day||Zach Johnson|
|2:05 p.m.||Phil Mickelson||Ernie Els||Bubba Watson|
|2:27 p.m.||Adam Scott||Justin Rose||Jason Dufner|
A full list of pairings is available at TheOpen.com.
What They're Saying
Many of the eyes in Hoylake will be focused on Woods as the superstar looks to compete in his first major of the season. A pinched nerve in his back limited him to just one tournament in the past three months, which took place at Congressional Country Club.
Unfortunately, that resulted in just two rounds of mediocre play before missing the cut in the Quicken Loans National.
Despite this, he is extremely confident heading into the place where he won the 2006 British Open. According to the Washington Post, he has one goal this week:
It seems like a long shot for Woods to come away with a title, but you should never count out a player with his level of talent and drive.
Another veteran who feels good coming into the tournament is Mickelson, who is attempting to become the first golfer to win back-to-back titles at the Open Championship since Padraig Harrington in 2007-08.
The 44-year-old golfer feels like his 2013 win will help him win again, via The Associated Press:
I'm able to go there as a past champion, as opposed to a foreign player who has never been able to conquer links golf. I just go there with a whole different confidence level.
There's a fraction of the pressure that I felt before Open Championships from years prior, because once you've already won it, once you have held the claret jug and have won, it just feels different. You don't feel like you have to fight it. You don't have to force it.
If he can turn this confidence into more success, he will have a good chance of winning the sixth major of his career.
On the other hand, a top player who has not won too much lately is McIlroy. The 25-year-old star missed the cut at the 2013 event and has only one tournament win in the last two years. However, he believes he can be a contender based on his recent work on links courses, via Mark Tallentire of The Guardian:
If anything, I don’t think I’ve evolved that much as a links player, but I’ve been trying, especially the last few weeks, to play some shots, really practise hard on some of the shots that I might need this week. The Open is a tournament that is very important to me and my record hasn’t been as good as I’d like.
After a solid showing at the Scottish Open, McIlroy should have the confidence to at least challenge for the lead.
Predicted Winner: Adam Scott
As the No. 1 player in the world, it is not too much of a reach to bet on Scott. However, all of the signs are pointing to the Australian taking home the Claret Jug.
Brian Wacker of PGATour.com believes Scott will win based on his strong past performances in majors: "He was in contention at one point or another in the year's first two majors and there's no reason to think he won't be at Hoylake. After a couple of close calls at The Open, Scott will get his second career major championship."
Of course, this just scratches the surface. In his last 12 majors, Scott has finished in the top 15 in all but one of them, including a title at the 2013 Masters. This also includes a second- and third-place finish in the past two years at the British Open.
He has limited his number of tournaments in 2014, but he never misses a cut and is almost always in the top 10. He discussed his recent strong play to reporters, via The Open:
Adam Scott: "I'm playing some of the best golf of my life at the moment, so I've got to take advantage of it." pic.twitter.com/1ouwC0FU33— The Open (@The_Open) July 15, 2014
Scott has always been solid on the tee with his driving distance and accuracy, but he has improved his short game and now ranks 15 in the world in strokes gained-putting. With his dominant all-around game, he should be able to come through with a victory at Royal Liverpool.
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