On the case
By Dave Tindall Last updated: 17th July 2010
The picture became much clearer at St Andrews on Saturday.
And while we don't know his identity yet, it's a virtual certainty that we'll have a new name on the trophy on Sunday evening.
Tiger Woods, 12 shots back after a second successive 73, has blown his chance. And the nearest other former holders of the Claret Jug are veterans Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman, who are 13 shots in arrears.
So while we're in the process of re-writing the record books, it's surely the perfect time for the engraver's steady hand to carve out the name of an Englishman.
The man now poised to end the 18-year-wait is Paul Casey and I firmly believe he can do so.
I admit I have a vested interest - I cheekily backed the Englishman to win Sports Personality of the Year at 20/1 during Saturday's round.
The thinking was this. In a poor year for British sport - the usual World Cup flop, no Wimbledon win for Andy Murray and nothing from the athletes - it's been left to the golfers to bail us out.
And while Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell deserves huge credit for his US Open win at Pebble Beach, a Casey victory at the 'Home of Golf' would surely trump it and put him in pole position to win the Beeb award - especially with the Open being one of the corporation's showpiece events.
The bookies have cottoned on now and Casey is 8/1 for SPOTY - although those are still much better odds than the 11/4 Sky Bet make him to win the Open.
I'm also not too concerned that Casey has four shots to make up on Louis Oosthuizen.
The South African has played brilliantly over the first 54 holes but everyone has their comfort zone and Oosthuizen would still appear to be in it.
But Sunday could be a totally different story.
Casey, with a big crowd behind him, will be able to look Oosthuizen in the eye and bring the experience he's gained from previous majors to the fore. For the South African this is unknown territory.
Twelve of the last 14 winners have been in the top three going into the final round so Casey and Oosthuizen have the stats strongly in their favour.
Germany's Martin Kaymer comes next but with seven shots to make up on Oosthuizen he faces a much harder task than the normal third place man.
Lee Westwood is a further shot back, giving England another chance, but it's Casey who is primed to become the first English winner since 1992 and the first at St Andrews since 1990 - Faldo the champ both times.
Casey, in his press conference, described Faldo as "a hero of mine" before adding: "I would love to replicate what he did here."
Thanks to a wonderful exhibition of ball-striking on Saturday, he has a golden chance to do so.
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