The Open Championship is finally here! Play at the Royal Liverpool starts in three days. It will be very difficult for the pundits to contain themselves before the first three pros tee it up on Thursday.
This is the 12th time that Royal Liverpool has hosted the Open Championship in its 143 year history. Each time The Open Championship comes to town, Merseyside, England, turns into the Mecca of Golf.
The real question for this year’s event is whether Justin Rose can maintain the four-year trend of the Scottish Open champion winning The Open Championship. He definitely has the game to keep the winning back-to-back Open streak alive, however the rest of the world-class field might not agree.
All covet winning this Major. It represents the history of golf, unparalleled anywhere. Yes, the other Majors are prestigious, but The Open has a regal aura unmatched by all. If a player can master this 7300 yard course, they will have demonstrated that they belong in the history books as one of golf’s great players.
There are 17 past champions playing this year and some of the notable contenders are Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke. Some fan favourites like Tom Watson, John Daly, and Sir Nick Faldo are playing, but will not likely be at the top of leaderboard on Sunday. Regardless, the past champions are always entertaining as they use their battle hardened years of experience to stand on the podium of victory one last time.
This year, The Open Championship is host to one of the toughest fields of 2014. There are many multiple champions, not just this tournament, but of all the Majors. Often overlooked are the European professionals. Routinely playing on links style courses, these professionals have the course management skills to make a run for the Claret Jug. However, do they have the staying power to last four pressure packed days of intense scrutiny?
The ones to watch, such as Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell, and Rickie Fowler, all have the game and desire to win.
It would be short-sighted to try to narrow the list of potential champions, therefore, I am sticking with my earlier choice. Rory McIlroy is the man to watch as he breaks the current four-year streak of back-to-back Open winners. Except for the second round of craziness at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, McIlroy played like a champion. He is still The Grateful Golfers’ pick to raise the Claret Jug.
Selection: Rory McIlroy.
The Grateful Golfer, Pundit Arena.