2018 British Open: Who will lift the Claret Jug at Carnoustie?
The world’s best golfers are heading to Angus in Scotland for one of the highlights of the British sporting summer, The Open. 2018 marks the 147th hosting of golf’s most historic tournament, but which player will be walking away with the prestigious Claret Jug at Carnoustie this Sunday?
Here are just a few of the main contenders as well as some interesting leftfield picks…
Case for: Undoubtedly the most consistent golfer around right now, Johnson’s 15 Top 10 major finishes showcase exactly why he is a worthy holder of the current No.1 ranking.
Case for: That elusive World No. 1 ranking is tantalisingly in his sights if he can lift the Claret Jug. Rose also has an eye for a good fairy tale script and has already said a win here would bring his career full circle 20 years after his career breakthrough at Royal Birkdale.
Case against: Rose has a surprisingly poor record on home soil, with 1998 still his best finish – when he was still an amateur.
Case for: Something of a late bloomer at elite level, a second place finish at the 2018 US Open and a current Top 10 ranking suggests the popular 27-year-old could be ready for his breakthrough moment.
Case for: A name you can confidently predict will be there or thereabouts come the final round. His second-place finish at the 2018 Masters shows he is creeping closer to that long-desired first major. Surely it’s time his consistency was rewarded?
Case against: Always the bridesmaid never the bride, Fowler deserves a Major but golf is a cruel sport. He still needs to seal the deal to avoid becoming his generation’s Lee Westwood.
Case for: The 28-year-old’s confidence will be through the roof after registering back-to-back US Open wins. Koepka also achieved two top 10 finishes on British soil.
Case against: With no one player dominating the sport, Koepka will be battling against history to snatch another major so soon after his last one. Only Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington have managed the increasingly rare feat of lifting back-to-back majors over the last decade.
Case for: The reigning champion and a multiple major winner. If Spieth catches fire at Carnoustie, he’ll take some stopping.
Case for: McIlroy has spoken this week of how the thin rough of Carnoustie will play to his driving strengths. Right course, right time for a player in need of a lucky break?
Case against: A four year major drought will surely be playing on the Northern Irishman’s mind.
Case for: The dream comeback story. A second-place finish at the Valspar Championship earlier this year suggests Tiger may finally be ready to prowl afresh. Familiar with Carnoustie’s unique challenges.
Case against: The dream comeback story. With focus on the dream. There’s still little to suggest one of the all-time greats is anywhere close to the peak of his powers. It’s now over a decade since his last major victory.
Case for: The 2017 USPGA Champion’s ding-dong battle with Dustin Johnson for the World No. 1 ranking continues apace, and a win in Scotland would surely go some way to helping Thomas reclaim top billing.
Case against: Thomas has been pushing his chances this week, speaking about his love for links golf, but it’s not been kind to him so far with an Open record of T53 and missed cut.
Case for: His form can be erratic, but if Mickelson can hang on the coat-tails of the leader going into the final round, Lefty is one player you would always back to mount a late charge.
Case against: It’s now five years since his last major. At 48, he would be one of the older winners of recent times, and a controversial outing at the US Open is still fresh in the memory.
Case for: A romantic pick as the last man to lift the Claret Jug at Carnoustie, back in 2007.
Case against: His starting price reflects his current form, with the word ‘Cut’ tending to accompany his name more often than not in recent seasons.
Case for: A calm head under pressure who always seems to feature in the final reckoning without taking that decisive step to major glory. Still hurting from last year’s second place finish, Kuchar will be desperate to cap an impressive career with the Claret Jug. A good each-way option even if he does fall just short again.
Case against: As with Fowler and Westwood, Kuchar’s career looks to be a story of missed opportunities as things stand. Does he have the mental strength to put past failures behind him?
Case for: A man with links pedigree, winning in 2010 and tying for second in 2015. A second-place finish at last year’s PGA Championship shows the South African is still capable of raising his game at majors.
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Image sources from PA Images
Who will you be backing at Carnoustie?
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