The 147th Open Championship gets under way early on Thursday morning at Carnoustie Golf Links on the east coast of Scotland. Carnoustie is the northernmost course in the Open rota and also considered the toughest. Nicknamed “Car-Nasty,” the famous links will stretch to 7402 yards, longer than any course in Open history.
“When the wind is blowing, it is the toughest course in Britain,” once said Sir Michael Bonallack. “And when it’s not blowing, it’s probably still the toughest.”
“It’s a difficult golf course,” said Australian Jack Newton, who lost in an Open playoff with Tom Watson at Carnoustie in 1975, “but no tricks to it.”
The lowest score at Carnoustie in the 2007 Open Championship was a 64 shot by Steve Stricker and Richard Green.
The 2018 field of 156 players will face coastal winds and a challenging terrain dominated by shades of brown. The only thing green at Carnoustie is the greens, noted ESPN senior golf writer Bob Harig. They’ll also encounter fast fairways and slow putting surfaces.
The opening tee shot will be struck by 60-year-old Sandy Lyle, a Scot and a two-time major champion, including the 1985 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s. Unless he can manage a top-10 finish, this will be Lyle’s final Open in a Hall of Fame career.
Three-time Open winner Tiger Woods will be playing in his first Open Championship since 2015 when he missed the cut at St. Andrews. Tiger will join Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Knox for the first two rounds. Woods finished 12th the last time the Open was contested at Carnoustie, in 2007.
Defending Open champion Jordan Spieth will play alongside world No. 3 Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnat on Thursday and Friday.
This will be the eighth time the Open has come to Carnoustie. On the most recent visit, Padraig Harrington beat Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Here are the previous winners at Carnoustie:
1931 Tommy Armour
1937 Henry Cotton
1953 Ben Hogan
1968 Gary Player
1975 Tom Watson
1999 Paul Lawrie
2007 Padraig Harrington
Open Championship Favorites
Americans have dominated recently, as ESPN’s Ian O’Connor reported:
“Since the start of the 2015 season, American players have won 10 of 14 majors and have gone 2-0 in the Presidents Cup and 1-0 in the Ryder Cup, a 2016 blowout at Hazeltine that signaled a seismic shift in the sport’s power structure. Of greater consequence, two-time U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka (age 28), Masters champ Patrick Reed (27), PGA champ Justin Thomas (25) and defending Open champ Jordan Spieth (24) arrive at Carnoustie as the first group of Americans in their 20s ever to have won five consecutive majors, according to ESPN Stats & Information.”
Current Open Championship Favorites and Betting Odds
(According to American bookmaker Bovada)
12/1: Dustin Johnson
16/1: Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose
18/1: Rory McIlroy
20/1: Jordan Spieth
22/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods
28/1: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson
30/1: Alex Noren
33/1: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
35/1: Patrick Reed
40/1: Paul Casey, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton
45/1: Marc Leishman
50/1: Hideki Matsuyama
60/1: Matthew Fitzpatrick
66/1: Russell Knox, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter
75/1: Thomas Pieters
80/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson
100/1: Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Emiliano Grillo, Zach Johnson, Thorbjorn Olesen
Noteworthy Open Groupings
Following are noteworthy groupings, including Thursday and Friday tee times. (All times Eastern.)
2:41 a.m./7:42 a.m.: Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Shane Lowry
3:03 a.m./8:04 a.m.: Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello
4:47 a.m./9:48 a.m.: Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Uihlein
4:58 a.m./9:59 a.m.: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
5:09 a.m./10:10 a.m.: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood
5:20 a.m./10:21 a.m.: Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed
7:31 a.m./2:30 a.m.: Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker
7:42 a.m./2:41 a.m.: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jovan Rebula (a)
7:53 a.m./2:52 a.m.: Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:04 a.m./3:03 a.m.: Dustin Johnson, Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman
8:15 a.m./3:14 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele
8:26 a.m./3:25 a.m.: Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace
8:37 a.m./3:36 a.m.: Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li
9:48 a.m./4:47 a.m.: Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Matt Wallace
9:59 a.m./4:58 a.m.: Ian Poulter, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka
10:10 a.m./5:09 a.m.: Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma
10:21 a.m./5:20 a.m.: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox
2018 Open Championship Details
Dates: July 19-22
Course: Carnoustie Golf Links
Yardage: 7402 yards
Purse: $10.5 million
Winner’s share: $1.89 million
Field: 156 players
Defending champion: Jordan Spieth
Tournament weather: The current forecast calls for highs around 60 degrees and light winds. There’s a chance of rain on Friday and Sunday.
2018 Open Championship TV Coverage
All times Eastern
Thursday, July 19: Golf Channel 1:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Friday, July 20: Golf Channel 1:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday, July 21: Golf Channel 4:30 a.m.-7 a.m.; NBC 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 22: Golf Channel 4:30 a.m.-7 a.m.; NBC 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
2018 Open Championship Live Streaming
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