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The 150th Open Championship St Andrews - Preview.

 

What's more special than the Open Championship teeing off at St Andrews? The Open Championship teeing off at St Andrews for its 150th edition, that's what. 


The historic links course presents some unique challenges; nowhere has bunkers quite like it, and that stiff coastal breeze can make or break a round. There's also the atmosphere, which this year promises to be more electric than ever — a record crowd of 290,000 golf fans is expected to attend the Old Course to watch the practice rounds as well as the tournament itself, which gets underway on Thursday 14 July. 


Of course, there's also the history. Like the time Jack Nicklaus came from one back with three to play to win the Claret Jug in 1978. Or Seve Ballesteros' fist pumps on the 18th green in 1984. And who could forget Tiger Woods's dominant eight-shot victory to complete the career slam in 2000?


Add the fact that it's a landmark year and you have all the ingredients for a truly epic sporting occasion. 


What’s certain is that one player will write his own story at the 150th Open Championship. But who are the stars to look out for? We've picked out 5 to watch, read on for more...

150th Open Championship: 5 Players To Watch

Everyone's Talking About: Tiger Woods

Just when you think the story of Tiger Woods’s career is coming to a close, golf's most recognisable star goes and writes another astonishing chapter. 


Tiger recovered from back problems and personal issues to win his 15th Major at the 2019 US Masters — 11 years after he lifted his 14th title. Then, after sustaining career-threatening injuries in a car crash in February 2021, he completed another great comeback to make it through to the final round at Augusta in April. 


Now he's back at St Andrews where he won two of his three Open Championship titles. Given his recent struggles with injury (Woods withdrew after three rounds of May's PGA Championship and chose to sit out last month's US Open in Brookline), it may be the final time we see him at the Old Course. But does that mean we should write off his chances? If history’s anything to go by, absolutely not. 

Home Favourite: Rory McElroy

The 2014 Open champion hasn't played at St Andrews for 12 years. On that occasion, he started with a sublime 63, slumped to a second round of 80 in terrible conditions and battled back to finish joint third. 


After finishing second in this year's Masters — thanks to an astonishing final round of 64 which included a magical bunker shot on the 18th — McElroy will tee off as the favourite to win at the Old Course. And he’ll certainly have the crowd behind him. 

Defending Champion: Collin Morikawa

The American lifted his second Major at The Open last year, having won the PGA Championship in 2020. In claiming the prize at Royal St Georges, Morikawa became the first player to win on his Open debut since Ben Curtis in 2003. But how will he fare at St Andrews?


His preparation hasn't been ideal — he failed to make the cut at last weekend's Scottish Open. Although fifth-placed finishes at both the Masters and the US Open this year show he rises to the big occasions. 

In-Form Brit: Matt Fitzpatrick

The Sheffield-born star's epic win in the US Open at Brookline in June was surely one of the greatest final-round performances in recent history. 


Fitzpatrick shot a two-under 68 to beat world number one Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris in a tense battle that went to the final hole.


Can the 27-year-old do it again at St Andrews? The signs are good. Fitzpatrick impressed at last weekend's Scottish Open finishing tied for sixth place.

In-Form American: Xander Schauffele

The world number five has shown incredible form in recent weeks, winning his last three tournaments — including the Scottish Open. 


His best performance at the Open Championship came in 2018 at Carnoustie where he finished joint-second behind Italy’s Francesco Molinari. Can he go one better at St Andrews?

Outside Bet: Ryan Fox

The son of former All Blacks Rugby World Cup winner Grant Fox has shown impressive form on the DP World Tour in 2022, securing seven top 10 finishes in 14 tournaments. 


He's currently ranked fourth on the European circuit, and would be a good bet to significantly improve on his best performance in a Major to date — tying 16th at the 2015 Open.

 

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