The Open Championship returns to Turnberry this week, and it is sure to be an interesting week with many questions waiting to be answered: To what extent will the weather be a factor? Who will fall victim to the Ailsa course’s infamously thick heather? Who will hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday evening? These questions and more will be answered over the next several days, which promise to be filled with the drama that is The Open Championship.
As golf’s elite players prepare to take on one of golf’s supreme tests, many names are being thrown out as having a chance at winning the championship. Nike Golf is well represented at Turnberry this week — here’s the list of Nike Golf athletes in the field:
PGA Tour & European Tour: The Open Championship
From this list I propose the following five Nike Golf athletes as having a shot at the title:
With a T10 finish in the U.S Open and a T17 in the Accenture World Match Play this year, former Players champion Stephen Ames plays well in events with a strong international field. He finished T7 in last year’s Open Championship — perhaps this is the year he breaks through for his first major victory.
Paul also plays well in international events — his past performance in the Ryder Cup record is evidence of that. He finished T7 in last year at Royal Birkdale, and he’s had three wins and a second place finish (at the Accenture Match Play) so far this year. Although he missed the cut at the U.S. Open, we look for Paul to rebound with a high finish in this year’s Open Championship.
Although a bit of a dark horse this week, Francesco has played well this year on the European Tour. He finished T27 at the U.S. Open, and with five top10 finishes on the Euro Tour this year, look for Francesco to finish high on the leader board on Sunday.
David has been in the media spotlight since his T2 finish at the U.S. Open, but his better play has been lurking since early this year. It’s just a matter of time before the 2001 Open Champion puts 4 good rounds together again and regains his winning form — why not this week at Turnberry?
And then there’s Tiger. I’ll start with what might work against him: the weather and the accompanying luck of the draw, his unfamiliarity with the Ailsa course (he played it for the first time on Sunday), and his driver. If he leaves driver in the bag like he did at Hoylake (which by the way was the last time he won a major on a course he was playing for the first time), I think he has a pretty good shot at the Claret Jug. Tiger won in his last start at the AT&T — we’ll see if he can continue his winning ways at Turnberry.
It should prove to be an entertaining week at Turnberry, and we’ll have to wait and see if one of Nike Golf’s finest is the last man standing holding the Claret Jug on Sunday evening.