As the British Open prepares to take place on the mythical course of St. Andrews on Thursday, excitement is in the air.
Recognized as the cradle of golf, this course has greatly influenced the development and popularity of golf over the years. Also, thanks to it that a round of golf has 18 holes.
The first British Open was played at Prestwick in 1860, with a field of 8 players.
This week, 162 years later, we play the 150th edition of this prestigious tournament with a contingent of 156 players from all continents.
Record crowds are expected to mark this anniversary this week as the R&A has planned several events. Also, invited all the former champions, except the Australian Greg Norman. It’s just to avoid any counter-verse that could overshadow the Open.
Many personalities from the world of sport will also be part of the party.
Venerable Jack Nicklaus, a three-time Open winner, is also on hand this week. He said he was very honored when asked if he would agree to become an honorable citizen of St. Andrews.
Only three Americans are part of this very select club. The other two are Bobby Jones (1958) and Benjamin Franklin (1759).
We will also be entitled to one of the few outings of Tiger Woods, which is probably not unrelated to the fact that we expect record attendance this week.
With the St. Andrews course relatively flat, Tiger should have less trouble walking all four rounds.
He knows this course well on which he won the first of his three British titles.
I think he might surprise many because he is well prepared. He also knows what strategy to use to win the famous Claret Jug.
Who will win the British Open 2022?
Very clever one who can predict the eventual winner because, as in all major tournaments, the candidates for great honors are many.
On the side of the Americans, we must lean towards Xander Schauffele, who seems in great shape for a few weeks.
After winning the Travelers Championship 2 weeks ago, he repeated the feat last Sunday with another victory at the Scottish Open.
Does he still have enough reserves to win the Open? I feel like he’ll be in the race until the very end.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is another logical candidate. He doesn’t have any weaknesses in his game and knows how to win.
Patrick Cantlay, 4th in Scotland last Sunday, is also in good shape and has all the assets to win a first Major.
Jordan Spieth, 2nd in 2021, also has all the creativity to put down such a course. The defending champion Collin Morikawa too.
Finally, Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris cannot be removed from the equation. Because they can raise their game a notch during the big meetings.
On the European side, we must favor Rory McIlroy, who is having an excellent season. In full possession of his means, this player can dominate like no one else.
I also like the chances of Jon Rahm and Matthew Fitzpatrick. The two strong golfers under pressure, have the talent to win in St. Andrews.
We must also consider Viktor Hoveland and Shane Lowry, especially if they are off to a good start. They have already proven themselves, and the talent is there.
Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann immediately come to mind among the international players most likely to win the Claret Jug.
Both excel on rolls, which should be a must-have asset on the wavy greens of St. Andrews. Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott could also shuffle the cards next Sunday.
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