Talking points ahead of the 150th Open Championship
The 150th Open Championship gets under way on the Old Course at St Andrews on Thursday.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the talking points ahead of the final major championship of the year.
Can Tiger Woods contend for a third Open victory at St Andrews?
Woods was at the peak of his powers when he won his first Open title by eight shots at St Andrews in 2000 and returned five years later to lift the Claret Jug for a second time. The 46-year-old, who suffered severe leg injuries in a car accident in February last year, withdrew from the US PGA after a third round of 79 and missed the US Open to ensure he could play at St Andrews, where he practiced extensively for four days and dismissed rumours he was planning on retiring.
Will we see an historic low score?
Branden Grace created history when he became the first man to shoot 62 in a major during the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale, while Ross Fisher holds the course record at St Andrews following a 61 in the Dunhill Links three months later. Jack Nicklaus responded “So what?” when asked about fears of similar scores this week, while Rory McIlroy predicted that the firm and fast conditions would provide an adequate defence against some of the game’s biggest hitters.
Is it the last major for LIV rebels?
Officials confirmed late on Tuesday evening that LIV Golf’s application to be allowed to award world ranking points in its events had been submitted on July 6. That could be crucial to the future of the rebel circuit as a player’s world ranking is one of the main avenues into the majors, with the top 50 at various times of the year earning a place in the Masters and the Open, the top 60 getting into the US Open and the top 100 traditionally invited to the US PGA if not already exempt.
Can Rory McIlroy turn top 10s into an overdue win?
McIlroy finished runner-up in the Masters, was eighth in the US PGA Championship and fifth in the US Open this season, yet was never really in contention on the back nine in the final round of any of them as he seeks a first major win since 2014. An ankle injury prevented him defending his Open title in 2015 at St Andrews, where he shot a 63 in the first round five years earlier. “The only thing I remember about the 63 is hitting a six iron into three feet at 17 and missing the putt,” a relaxed McIlroy joked in his pre-tournament press conference.
How will US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick perform?
Fitzpatrick was not in the field the last time St Andrews hosted the Open in 2015, having only turned professional 13 months earlier, but the 27-year-old is rightly one of the favourites following his US Open triumph at Brookline. A tie for 20th at Portrush in 2019 is his best Open result in six appearances, but he warmed up for St Andrews with a tie for sixth in the Scottish Open and could take inspiration from his pairing with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds.
Adam Scott relishing chance to experience a career first at the Australian Open
The tournament sees men, women and golfers with disabilities competing on the same course at the same time.
Tiger Woods backs up Rory McIlroy and says LIV Golf boss Greg Norman ‘has to go’
Woods called McIlroy a ‘true leader’ as he spoke out about the Saudi-funded breakaway.
Tiger Woods withdraws from Hero World Challenge due to foot problem
The former world number one has not played since the Open Championship in July.
Tiger Woods to partner son Charlie in next month’s PNC Championship
Woods has not played since the Open Championship in July.
I want to fulfil my dreams – Adam Scott in no mood to lower expectations
Scott is seeking a third Australian PGA Championship title this week in his native Queensland.
Nicolas Colsaerts named a vice-captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The Belgian joins Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari on Luke Donald’s staff.
Ireland’s Ancient East: Golf attractions alongside stunning beauty of Kildare
Ireland has a rich mix of tourist attractions across its varied and beautiful terrain.
Rory McIlroy crowned top golfer in Europe despite Jon Rahm claiming Dubai title
The Spaniard’s two-shot victory over England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Alex Noren was his third in six years at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Leona Maguire shoots day’s best to tie Lydia Ko in chasing LPGA’s largest prize
Maguire is chasing her second title while Ko is close to claiming her second straight LPGA Tour player of the year.
Rory McIlroy edges ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in race to be European number one
McIlroy’s third round of 65 at the DP World Tour Championship put him back ahead of his rival in the rankings.