The 2018 Open Championship, sometimes referred to as the British Open, kicks off Thursday at Scotland’s Carnoustie Golf Links. The tournament is golf’s oldest championship and is considered by many to be the most prestigious title in golf. The Open takes golf back to its roots as the world’s best golfers face Britain’s barren coastal layouts with high winds, tall grass and deep bunkers. In fact, Carnoustie is widely believed to be the Open Championship’s most difficult course as it hosts for only the eighth time. A strong field featuring 78 of the world’s 80 top-ranked golfers promises an excellent competition on the storied links.
2017 Champion Jordan Spieth
World number 6 ranked golfer Jordan Spieth will look to recapture the form that saw his name etched on the Claret Jug at the 2017 Open Championship. Spieth has endured a slump from his high standards following last year’s win, but his pedigree cannot be denied. The Texan has won three majors, including the U.S. Open, Masters and Open Championship, all by the age of 23. However, his Open Championship win required an incredible final round performance.
Heading into the final 6 holes, Spieth was tied with fellow American Matt Kuchar. Spieth teed off on the 13th hole only to send his drive wayward and into the course’s practice range, resulting in an unplayable lie. Spieth then took an awkward shot from the edge of the range and settled for a bogey. However, Spieth then rallied and proceeded to score birdie, eagle, birdie and birdie on his next four holes. This final push would hand Spieth the title by three strokes. This year, Spieth will hope for a similarly clutch performance while battling Carnoustie’s layout.
The most intriguing aspect of this tournament field is that there are no clear favorites but many strong contenders. World number 1 Dustin Johnson looks to solidify his position in the golf ranking with another strong showing while a win from Justin Thomas could see the golfer leapfrog Johnson in the rankings. U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka is playing in his first tournament since his major win and looks to make a strong impression. Tiger Woods, a 3-time Open Championship Winner, makes his first tournament appearance in 3 years as he looks to regain his past glory. Other contenders include past champions Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington, as well as the 2-time runner up Sergio Garcia. Regardless of who comes out on top, fans should expect a close contest where course management will be key. The past 3 Carnoustie-hosted Open Championships have all ended in playoffs, so another tight finish will come as no surprise.