Figure 1 Will we see a new champion this year?
The fourth and final golf major of the year is upon us. It has been a tumultuous year in golf, to say the least, but now we can all get ready to enjoy the oldest golf tournament in the world. It is the 151st edition of The Open Championship, otherwise known as The Open, or The British Open.
Whatever you call this competition, it is always an intriguing few days on the golf course, this year held at the Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, Merseyside. Golf fans from across the world will be tuning in to see who will win the prestigious title. The odds for the British Open are available for anyone interested – but who might win? Read on to find out everything you need to know about one of golf’s major championships.
What is The Open?
First played way back in 1860, The Open is the oldest of all the majors and rounds off the grand slam season. The competition is organized by the R&A and was originally held at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. From 1872 the course has been rotated around a number of courses and now takes place at one of five links courses in Scotland and England.
It is nine years since The Open was held at the Royal Liverpool, when Rory McIlroy beat the field by two shots. The Northern Irishman looked like he was going to triumph for a second time last year, before allowing Cameron Smith to come through and win by just one stroke. This year’s Open is scheduled to begin on July 20th.
The 2023 Majors So Far
With a lot of golf headlines being made off the fairway this year, we have also been blessed with some top-drawer action at the three majors to date. Jon Rahm shot a three-under 69 in the final round to come through to win the Masters in April. Brooks Koepka finished joint second in the end, after he fell apart in the final round to allow Rahm to come through. Phil Mickelson also tied for second after being ten shots back before the final day. In doing so he became the oldest player to ever finish in the top five.
May saw the Oak Hill Country Club in New York host the PGA Championship, where Brooks Koepka made up for that disappointment at the Masters and win his third title. He joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to achieve that feat in the stroke-play era. More controversially, the American also became the first member of LIV Golf to win a major golf championship. They had been banned from entering before then.
A month later it was the Los Angeles Country Club’s turn to host the US Open. Rory McIlroy did his best to win yet another prestigious major title, but the champion ended up being the outsider, Wyndham Clark. Clark had never finished higher than 75th at any major championship and had missed the cut at the two previous US Opens. He finished ten under par and beat McIlroy by just one stoke.
Favorite to Win in 2023
So, can Rory McIlroy put the disappointment of last year at The Open – and that close result at the US Open – behind him and win his fifth major? He is the favorite to win at the Royal Liverpool, even though he is currently enduring a nine-year major championship drought.
McIlroy actually missed the cut at the Masters but is fancied to do well back in the United Kingdom. He won the CJ Cup, part of the PGA Tour, in October and will need to reclaim the magical form of a few years ago to come through and win this prestigious title again.
Up until around 18 months ago, Scottie Scheffler had never won a PGA Tour title. He was named the Rookie of the Year in 2019-20, but an actual tournament win had eluded him. Well, a lot has changed since then. Scheffler now comes into this British Open as the number one ranked golfer in the world, with six PGA Tour wins under his belt.
The most memorable of those was obviously the 2022 Masters, although he did tie for second at the US Open in the same year – and repeated the trick at this year’s PGA Championship. Such consistent form now sees the American go into most tournaments as one of the favorites and the 2023 British Open is no different.
Another familiar face on the favorites list is the 2023 Masters champion Jon Rahm. That was the Spaniard’s second major title and he has been enjoying a very successful year so far. If he were to win the 2023 Open Championship, he would be the first player to win two majors in a year since Brooks Koepka in 2018.
Speaking of which, the American golfer is another player fancied to do well this month. He has already won five major titles – all within a six-year period. But he has never claimed the British Open, having won the PGA Championship three times and the US Open twice. In fact, the best he has ever done in this tournament is to tie for fourth back in 2019.
Figure 2 This will be the 151st Open Championship
Koepka has continued to be successful since joining LIV Golf in 2022 and is regarded as one of the best players in the world. Although McIlroy, Scheffier and Rahm are expected to deal with the Royal Liverpool links course more successfully than Koepka, it would not be a surprise if the American golfer ended up claiming this title as well.
The Open 2023
The weather in the UK has been very warm in the early weeks of summer, so golf fans will be hoping that nothing can ruin what promises to be a spectacular four days in Liverpool.
Whether Rory McIlroy does end his title-winning drought or not, we are sure to see fierce competition in a sport that is still working through the mess caused by the ongoing struggle between PGA Tour players and those that jumped ship for LIV Golf. They may all be under one roof now but that particular subplot only adds another level of interest to the upcoming major.