The Open has seen some high profile and popular winners over the past 10 years, but are any of these likely to contend this year and, if so, who?
Darren Clarke won so memorably last year at Royal St George’s but, sadly, it would be a complete shock if he defended his title. He hasn’t recorded a top ten since his 2011 triumph, and has missed the cut in four of his last five starts in Europe.
Aside from Clarke, however, the omens look good for past champions.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 champion, has recorded two victories already this season, along with a second placed finish at the Masters. He leads the tour in greens in regulation, sits 11th in putts per round and has one of the most rounded games of anyone in the field.
Despite two years in the golfing abyss, 2008 and 2009 champion Padraig Harrington has shown signs in recent weeks he is almost back to his best. He finished 8th at the Masters, and hasn’t finished outside the top 15 in his last five starts. Memories of the US Open, where he was in contention coming down the stretch, will only add to his positive frame of mind.
Tiger Woods, the 2005 and 2006 champion, is 6/1 favourite with most bookmakers. He is the only PGA Tour golfer to win three times this season, and looked back to his former best in the first two rounds of this year’s US Open. Consistency is still an issue for Woods, but all the facets of his game are returning, and if he continues his recent trend on the PGA Tour, he will be celebrating his 15th major come Sunday.