Over 150 competitors will tee off at Royal Liverpool this week, all believing they have what it takes to win the 2014 British Open.
In reality, this is one of the more wide-open majors we have seen in a long time. Some obvious names are top contenders to win, such as Justin Rose and Adam Scott, but anything can happen on a links course that features plenty of chances to post low scores.
According to Reuters, via Yahoo Sports, all of the golfers will be attempting to win their share of the £5.4 million or $9.19 million, a £150,000 raise in prize money from last year. While the exact breakdown will not be known until the end of the tournament, we do know the winner will receive £975,000 ($1.66 million).
A look at last year's distribution is available at TheOpen.com, but note that the numbers will be slightly increased.
Besides the money, the winner will also get a chance to spend a year with the famed Claret Jug. This goal is just one more factor that will help create an excellent tournament that will be competitive throughout.
When: Thursday, July 17, through Sunday, July 20
Where: Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake in Merseyside, England
Tee Times: For a complete list of tee times for the first two rounds, visit TheOpen.com.
Purse: $9.19 million
Winner's Share: $1.66 million
FedEx Cup Points: 600
A year ago, Phil Mickelson used a win at the Scottish Open to give him confidence and momentum heading into The Open Championship. It ended up making a big difference, as the veteran was able to come away with his first Open Championship victory.
Not only did Justin Rose win the Scottish Open this past week to show he can win on a links course, but he is also coming off a victory at the Quicken Loans National. The Associated Press, via PGA.com, takes a look at his ability to keep this streak going:
The big question now is: can he make it three in a row? Definitely, judging by his impressive body of work over the Royal Aberdeen links since Thursday.
Four straight rounds in the 60s. Imperious iron play in varying wind conditions. Brilliant putting, which has long been his weak point. The confidence of being a major champion stood out Sunday -- Rose was nerveless from the moment he rolled in a 12-foot putt on the second hole, the first of six birdies.
The 2013 U.S. Open champion clearly has the talent to come through with a victory. However, it is extremely difficult to post great scores at three tournaments in a row.
Add this to the fact that Rose has missed the cut in three of his last four starts at the British Open, and it is easy to doubt the golfer's ability to win at Royal Liverpool.
While Rose will be fun to watch, he is just one part of arguably the most interesting group at the tournament, as noted by Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com:
Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and Jason Dufner as a group at the Open. That's a long-iron extravaganza. Scotty might be the worst one!— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) July 14, 2014
Each of these three players won a major in 2013, which will likely push them to perform at their best in the first two rounds.
Of course, we have seen nothing but excellent performances from Scott recently.
According to Ryan Lavner of GolfChannel.com, the Australian explained, "I feel like I’m playing some of my best golf at the moment, and I don’t know how long that’s going to last. So I’ve got to try to take advantage of that and win all the events that I’d really love to win, and this is certainly one of them."
In 10 PGA tournaments this season, Scott has finished in the top 25 in all but one and has earned six top-10 finishes. He has also managed to get into the top 15 in 10 of his last 11 majors.
As a player who can perform well in all phases of the game, Scott will be difficult to beat. He has always been able to get onto the green in regulation, but his improved putting should make him a legitimate contender to win a title.
Few players in the world are capable of posting low scores as easily as Rory McIlroy. The problem has been inconsistency from round to round, which has prevented him from too much success over the past two years.
In 10 PGA tournaments this season, the young golfer has posted seven rounds of 66 or better. On the other hand, he also has five rounds of 75 or worse in that same span.
This up-and-down play was on display last weekend at the Scottish Open. McIlroy followed up a 64 in Round 1 with a 78 in Round 2.
He recently discussed this problem as a mental issue, via Paul Newberry of The Associated Press:
I have no problem shooting a low one on Thursday. There should be no reason I have any problem shooting a low one on Friday.
I just got it into my head. I may be putting too much pressure on myself, going out on Fridays and trying to back up a (good) score.
With two major championships on his resume, McIlroy clearly has the ability to win. All he needs now is the focus to get it done.
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