The 150th Open Championship gets underway on Thursday morning. This year’s Open is set to be played on the Old Course at St Andrews. The Open is the final major championship of the year, and it could be one of this summer’s most exciting tournaments.
The ongoing disagreements between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour are still surrounding the sport this weekend, but the tournament will feature incredible storylines to follow until Sunday.
Tiger Woods Returns to St Andrews
The Old Course has seen some of Tiger Woods’ most memorable moments. Woods has won the Open three times, two of which came at St Andrews.
Woods was expected to play at the U.S. Open earlier this month at The Country Club in Brookline but decided against playing, in part to prepare for The Open. He also played in the Masters earlier this year, and played three rounds of the PGA Championship before withdrawing from the tournament.
Over the last month, Woods has been preparing for the tournament in Europe. Earlier this week, he, Rory McIlroy, and Paul Lawrie were made honorary members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
While he may not be one of the favorites at The Open, Woods’ return to the Old Course will be one of the biggest stories of the weekend. His Masters win in 2019 was one of the most memorable moments in recent golf history, and he will hope to create a similar moment this weekend.
McIlroy, Spieth, and Schauffele, Among Others, Favorites at The Open
Xander Schauffele won the Scottish Open last week as several of the world’s Top 10 players played in the tournament to help prepare for The Open. The win has made him one of the favorites this weekend, where he is hoping to win his first major championship. Schauffele has played well in The Open in the past, finishing second in 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links.
McIlroy is the favorite in the tournament, and for good reason. He didn’t play in the Scottish Open, but he has finished in the Top 10 at every major tournament so far this year, including second at the Masters and fifth at last month’s U.S. Open. He has already won an Open Championship, winning the 2014 tournament at Royal Liverpool.
Like McIlroy, Jordan Spieth is a former winner of The Open who has been playing well over the past few weeks. Spieth finished in the Top 10 of the Scottish Open and was in contention to win for much of the weekend before a two-over par round Sunday.
Spieth played well last week and has been solid on the tour this year, and is 12th in the World Golf Ranking, but he missed the cut at the Masters and was outside the Top 30 at the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship earlier this year to win his second major championship. However, he has never finished in the Top 10 at The Open and he missed the cut at the Scottish Open last week after finishing tied for 37th at the U.S. Open.
Thomas’ fellow major tournament winners this year, Scottie Scheffler and Matthew Fitzpatrick, will both have a chance to win this weekend. Fitzpatrick finished sixth at the Scottish Open, continuing his momentum after winning the U.S. Open last month. Scheffler missed the cut last weekend but finished second at the U.S. Open and 13th at the Travelers Championship.
In June, Jon Rahm finished tied for 12th at the U.S. Open after a disappointing Sunday. Rahm finished third at The Open last year, but he missed the cut at the Scottish Open. Collin Morikawa, who won the tournament last year, also had a great performance at the U.S. Open, but also missed the cut last weekend.
Another interesting storyline to watch will be Will Zalatoris, who has finished second at both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship this year. He will hope to win his first major at St Andrews this weekend.
Groups to Watch This Thursday and Friday
One of the best groups of the first two days of the tournament, Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, and Xander Schauffele, tees off at 4:58 a.m. Thursday morning. They are followed by Shane Lowry, who won the 2019 Open, along with Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland at 5:09 a.m.
Zalatoris begins his tournament alongside Tony Finau and Hideki Matsuyama at 5:20 a.m. Scheffler, Joaquin Niemann, and Tyrrell Hatton tee off at 8:26 a.m. Two of the best groups of the tournament are set to start at around 10:00 a.m. Woods, Fitzpatrick, and Max Homa tee off at 9:59 a.m. before Spieth, Rahm, and Harold Varner III follow at 10:10 a.m.
Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns, and Mito Pereira tee off at 10:21 a.m. about an hour before the final group of Thursday begins play at 11:16. The 150th Open should be an excellent final major tournament of the year.