Most of the talk in the lead up to the Open in centred on the usual suspects – Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood – and understandably so.
Woods recently became the only player with three PGA Tour victories in 2012, and the others are realistic British hopes and the top three in the Official World Golf Ranking.
However, with media pressure weighing heavy on Donald and Westwood, Woods’ inconsistency and McIlroy’s discord for the Open Championship, expect some other faces to feature.
Rickie Fowler is someone who could well contend. Last year, he surprised the golfing world by playing some phenomenal golf – which included a third round 68 in horrendous conditions – en route to a tie for 5th at Royal St George’s.
He showed a real maturity and some brilliant shotmaking to accompany his fine putting stroke.
Ian Poulter and Francesco Molinari are also in good form, with the latter playing his last 35 holes on tour in 19-under-par.
Raphael Jacquelin also warrants a mention, especially with odds of upwards of 150/1. The Frenchman came third last week at Le Golf National and showed an aptitude for the links last year, returning an 8th placed finish at Royal St George’s.
The big guns may well fire, but don’t be surprised if someone repeats Louis Oosthuizen’s achievement in 2010 – winning from outside the world’s top 50.