18 July 2023
It’s one of the, if not the biggest week in the golfing calendar, as the world’s greatest golfers, qualifiers and leading amateurs come together to compete for the prestigious Claret Jug and Champion Golfer of The Year title.
The 151st edition of the Open Championship returns to Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, which has hosted the tournament on 12 previous occasions, the first of which was in 1897. It is the second most used English course on The Open circuit, behind Royal St.George’s.
Previous winners around the famous links include; Rory McIlroy (2014), Roberto Di Vicenzo (1967), Bobby Jones (1930) and 5-time winner ‘JH’ Taylor (1913).
In 2006, Tiger woods successfully defended his title at Hoylake following his win at St.Andrews in 2005, in what would be his 3rd time lifting the trophy.
2006′ itself was a very poignant championship, as it was the final time Seve Ballesteros – 3-time Open Championship winner and golfing legend – would compete, with his son Javier on the bag as he bid farewell to The Open.
All eyes this year could be on the in-form Rory McIlroy. His outrageous 2-iron stinger to seal The Genesis Scottish Open on Sunday has already been classed as ‘probably one of the shots of my career’ by Rory himself. Seeking that 5th Major crown, he could be the man to beat on a course that gave him his first Claret Jug.
Cameron Smith, last year’s winner, returned the trophy earlier this week and vowed ‘it won’t be long until we’re drinking out of it again’ as he looks to become the first man since Padraig Harrington (2007 & 2008) to successfully defend his title.
Masters Champion Jon Rahm, US Open Champion Wyndham Clark and USPGA Champion Brooks Koepka will be looking for their 2nd Majors of year in Liverpool, in what is a true links golf test.
Former winners in the field include; Morikawa, Mickelson, Lowry, Harrington, Spieth, Clarke, Oosthuzien, Cink, Stenson, Els, Z.Johnson and Francesco Molinari.
Some familiar faces however will be notable absentees, 2017 Masters Champion Sergio Garcia missed out by three shots in qualifying, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood opted against the qualification route whilst Webb Simpson & Matt Kuchar have dropped outside the automatic qualification spots.
Some of the featured groups to keep an eye on are:
Round 1 Featured Groups Tee Times
9.03am: Jordan Spieth | Matt Fitzpatrick | Jason Day
9.36am: Patrick Cantlay | Brooks Koepka | Hideki Matsuyama
9.47am: Scottie Scheffler | Tommy Fleetwood | Adam Scott
9.58am: Wyndham Clark | Cameron Smith | Xander Schauffele
10.09am: Shane Lowry | Rickie Fowler | Robert MacIntyre
2.48pm: Justin Thomas | Tony Finau | Viktor Hovland
2.59pm: Rory McIlroy | Jon Rahm | Justin Rose
You can find all the tee times here.
The course itself has changed since the last visit in 2014, with a somewhat controversial 17th Par 3 addition, that has sparked some negative comments from players and caddies, with one labelling it a ‘monstrosity’. Several pundits have also criticised the hole, claiming we could see plenty of 6,7 or even 8’s.
The first hole is typically one of the most difficult around Hoylake, without the addition of thousands of spectators, the worldwide media and pressure that comes, especially on Sunday.
Regardless of the outcome – it’s set to be another sensational four days of high-drama, excitement and world-class golf!
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