How did the big guns fare at The Open 2017? Our player ratings and grades from Royal Birkdale.
The Open 2017 Player Grades from Royal Birkdale
Jordan Spieth (A+)
It was an A-star performance pretty much from start to finish. Yes, there was that poor start to the front nine, but what a response. Incredible resilience and mental toughness from a man who’s still just 23 years old. His response to falling behind Matt Kuchar after the drama on 13 was this tee shot on 14, arguable the shot of the tournament.
Tommy Fleewood (B+)
Not far off making an A, even though he wasn’t at his best here, especially when firing a 76 in the opening round. What was impressive was his response on Friday when was set to miss the cut. His 69 in the toughest of conditions was as good a round as any during the whole week, given the pressure he found himself under as home favourite – and he backed it up with a classy 66 on Saturday. He closed with a 70 and got the standing ovation he deserved.
Ian Poulter (B+)
Poulter was less than complimentary about his own performance on Saturday, when a good score was there for the taking. He followed his excellent opening two rounds with a disappointing 71, and couldn’t make any inroads on Sunday. Overall, it was an excellent performance from Poults, who came through qualifying to tee it up at Royal Birkdale – and it was great to see him back.
Rory McIlroy (B+)
Rory McIlroy would probably give himself an E for Saturday’s round when the course was benign. In truth, he made a couple of mental errors which cost him dear. At Birkdale, we saw the best and the worst from the four-time Major winner. Unfortunately the worst was very bad, as he displayed when opening his Open campaign with five bogeys in six holes. Then, on Saturday, he came unstuck badly at the 10th and racked up a double. But, Rory being Rory made it thrilling to the very end. An A+ for fight, because the recovery from +5 to -5 was very special.
Justin Rose (C)
The 1998 Silver Medal winner is not firing on all cylinders – but he’s not far off. The putts don’t seem to be dropping when the all-round game looks in good enough shape; this is backed up by the stats: 28 putts in round one; 32 in round two; 28 in round three; and 33 in the final round.
Jason Day (C)
The former world number one turned a few heads when he donned some eye-catching Nike Golf shoes on the opening day. A 69 on Thursday put the Australian in a good position, but he was out of sorts in the second round when he closed with three sixes. He was back in business with a bogey-free 65 on Saturday, before throwing in some uncharacteristic mistakes once again a day later.
Jon Rahm (C)
It’s hard to criticise a man who, just two weeks ago, won the Irish Open by six strokes, but Royal Birkdale has not been kind to the Spaniard. The damage was done when his second round started with three straight bogeys, and four more followed on the back nine. He’ll enjoy better days on the links and it’s important to remember he’s still just 22. However, there remains a question mark over his temperament, which was not helped by another rules controversy here. Closed the weekend with a pair of 70s.
Dustin Johnson (D)
The world number one was not at his best at Royal Birkdale – he hasn’t been for some time. He gave himself hope on contending on Sunday when he shot a bogey-free 64, but his challenge was over after he doubled the 1st and carded further dropped shots at the 2nd and 4th.Phil Mickelson (E)
You’d have got long odds on Mickelson not making a single birdie in the first round – but he endured a frustrating day, carding a three-over 73. You still fancied the 2013 Open champion to go significantly lower on day two, but after a fast start with a birdie on the 1st, a triple on the 3rd ended his hopes of competing for a second Claret Jug. He went on to card eight more bogeys and slumped to a seven-over 77. MC.
Twitter went slightly crazy on Saturday night after…
Rickie Fowler (B); ; Hideki Matsuyama (B); Henrik Stenson (B+); Sergio Garcia (C)