An unusually dry summer has Carnoustie playing hard, fast, and highly unpredictable. Players who have competed at the revered Scottish links course in a previous British Open Championship — or two — arrived this week planning to hit few if any, drivers.
An unusually dry summer has Carnoustie playing hard, fast, and highly unpredictable. Players who have competed at the revered Scottish links course in a previous Open Championship — or two — arrived this week planning to hit few if any, drivers.
By midweek, a few of the world’s biggest hitters had changed their tune, saying they planned to let it rip as often as possible with the rough low and laying up fraught with its own perils. The unpredictability — will Carnoustie live up to its “Car-nasty” reputation or yield abnormally low scores — leaves the 147th Open a wide-open affair entering Thursday’s opening round.
History of The British Open Championship
The British Open Championship, also known as The Open Championship, has a rich history, with prestigious golf clubs such as Royal Troon Golf Club and Royal Birkdale Golf Club hosting the event. Royal Troon, founded in 1878, has hosted the Open Championship multiple times, boasting a challenging course and a stunning location adjacent to the Firth of Clyde. Royal Birkdale, another iconic venue, has also hosted the Open Championship ten times, offering a world-class golf experience and significant prize money for the winners.
There have been 10 different winners over the past 12 major tournaments dating back to Zach Johnson’s victory at the 2015 Open. And we could see a repeat of the 1999 event at Carnoustie when Paul Lawrie won his only major title in a playoff after Jean van de Velde triple-bogeyed the 72nd hole. Which begs the question: Who are the five players most primed to make the Claret Jug their first major trophy come Sunday?
Best 5 Players in The British Open Championship
Rickie Fowler, United States
Most every conversation regarding the best player yet to win a major begins and ends with Fowler. He has two more chances to claim that elusive first major before he turns 30 in December, and The Open (2014) is one of three majors he already owns a runner-up finish at. Fowler has shown good form of late, with a missed cut at The Players his only finish lower than a T-21 in his past eight events as he enters the week ranked No. 7.
That includes a second-place finish at the Masters, T-8 at the Memorial, T-20 at the U.S. Open and a solo 12th at the Quicken Loans National before crossing the pond early to get acclimated to the U.K. and tying for sixth at last week’s Scottish Open. Fowler is regularly in contention come Sunday at majors, but he has to prove he can put past failures close behind him. And that means avoiding the big numbers that too often dot his card.
Francesco Molinari, Italy
Known as one of the world’s elite ball strikers, the time is ripe for the 35-year-old Italian. He has never finished higher than a tie for ninth at The Open (2013) and rarely has been a factor on the weekend at majors. But there’s also no hotter golfer on the planet entering the week. Molinari has two wins and two runner-up finishes in his past five worldwide starts.
After missing the cut at The Players, Molinari won the BMW PGA Championship, finished second at the Italian Open, tied for 25th at Shinnecock Hills in the U.S. Open, and dominated the Quicken Loans National with an eight-shot victory before tying for second at last week’s John Deere Classic.
Tommy Fleetwood, England
Fleetwood is a very popular pick to end the American run of five consecutive major title victories and become the first Englishman to claim a major since Danny Willett’s unlikely comeback victory at the 2016 Masters. Fleetwood enters the week ranked No. 10 in the world and has become a fixture on Sundays at majors.
He first made a worldwide name for himself by tying for fourth at the 2016 U.S. Open. He rallied to tie for 27th at Royal Birkdale in 2017 and tied for 17th at this year’s Masters before claiming solo second at last month’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, finishing one shot shy of Brooks Koepka. Fleetwood insisted this week that he is more comfortable in the limelight than he was this time last year, when he was chasing his first major just outside of his hometown. While the course is playing vastly differently this week, it is also worth noting that Fleetwood fired a 63 at Carnoustie during last year’s Dunhill Links.
Branden Grace, South Africa
He’s not the biggest hitter at 5-10 and 175 pounds, but that’s not required this week. Grace is a bulldog of a player who just also happens to be the only player in history to shoot a 62 in a major championship, which he did during the third round at Royal Birkdale last year.
Grace hasn’t teed it up since last month’s U.S. Open, where he tied for 25th. But he does tend to show up around the first page of the leaderboard in major championships, and especially on links-style courses. He was squarely in the hunt on the final nine holes of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay before sailing a tee shot out of bounds and finished tied for sixth at Royal Birkdale — his seventh consecutive time making the cut at The Open.
Tyrrell Hatton, England
The last Englishman to win The Open was Sir Nick Faldo in 1992. That’s somewhat baffling with the likes of Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood taking yearly aim at the Claret Jug. Hatton isn’t a household name as a 100-1 shot, but he is a feisty player with a sharp all-around game and another who is well-versed in how to cope with the ever-changing conditions at The British Open Championships.
The 26-year-old finished fifth at The Open two years ago, and he is the top-ranked player in the world in total putting. Hatton is currently ranked No. 23 in the world, and after a string of three missed cuts, he quietly tied for sixth at Shinnecock Hills before returning to Europe and tying for 16th at the HNA Open de France before a T-9 in a strong field at the Scottish Open. And if you’re looking for a true dark horse, countryman, and 72nd-ranked Eddie Pepperell finished second in that event. –Derek Harper, Field Level Media
British Open Championship Venues
Prestwick Golf Club
A historic course in Scotland, has the distinction of hosting the first 12 British Open Championships, cementing its place in golf history.
Carnoustie Golf Links
Another renowned British Open Championship venue is considered one of the toughest courses in the world, often providing a significant challenge for even the most skilled golfers.
Royal Troon Golf Club
located in Troon, Scotland, was founded in 1878 and has the distinction of hosting The Open Championship nine times, with the most recent event taking place in 2016. The club is renowned for its challenging course and picturesque location along the Firth of Clyde.
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Situated in Southport, England, has hosted The Open Championship ten times since 1954, with the most recent event held in 2017. The club is known for its stunning sand dune-lined course, which has been consistently ranked as one of the top golf courses in the world.
British Open Championship Best Plays
One of the best British Open Championship plays took place at the Old Course at St. Andrews, where Tiger Woods delivered a phenomenal performance in the 2000 Open Championship. Woods dominated the final round, finishing with a record-breaking score of 19-under par, eight shots ahead of his closest competitor. Despite the challenges presented by World War II, amateur golfers have also made their mark in the British Open, with Bobby Jones winning the Claret Jug three times in the 1920s.
British Open Championship 2023
The 151st edition of the British Open Championship, taking place from 16th to 23rd July 2023 at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, promises to be an exciting and competitive event. Golf enthusiasts can expect to witness some of the world’s top golfers battling it out on the challenging course, displaying their skill, precision, and determination to claim the prestigious Claret Jug. The historic Royal Liverpool Golf Club, with its rich tradition and stunning coastal location, will provide a picturesque backdrop for the tournament.
As always, the British Open Championship will feature a diverse mix of seasoned PGA Tour professionals and gifted amateur golfers, all competing for the esteemed titleand would be getting the golf champion trophy. Today’s spectators and viewers can anticipate exhilarating moments, memorable shots, and a one-of-a-kind ambiance that sets The Open Championship apart as a truly exceptional event in the realm of golf. Participants will be striving to secure not only the top honor but also the coveted second and third prize positions, further intensifying the competition.
Gears and Equipment Commonly Used
I know you are thinking about what players are using in the Open Championship, well we listed these things just for you. Best equipment that was highlighted in the games.
Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls
The choice of many PGA Tour professionals, Titleist Pro V1 golf balls have been a popular choice in the British Open Championship and golf ball for seniors, offering exceptional distance and consistent flight.
TaylorMade M5 Driver
Known for its impressive performance on the PGA Tour, the TaylorMade M5 Driver has been used by several players during the British Open Championship, helping them achieve long drives and consecutive draws.
Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Balls
These golf balls have been highlighted in the British Open Championship for their soft feel, excellent spin control, and consistent performance, making them a favorite among many PGA Tour golfers.
Scotty Cameron Putters
Trusted by numerous PGA Tour professionals, Scotty Cameron Putters have been used in the British Open Championship to help players make crucial putts, especially on the challenging final hole.
FootJoy Pro/SL Golf Shoes
Offering superior comfort and stability, FootJoy Pro/SL Golf Shoes have been a popular choice for PGA Tour players competing in the British Open Championship, helping them maintain their footing on the course’s various terrains.
Credits: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports