Golf: The Open Championship preview

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Trevor Durham

July 16th, 2019

The oldest major championship in golf will display a deep field

The host of this year's final major is the Irish club of Royal Portrush. Who was the previous winner of an Open Championship last held at Royal Portrush? None other than mad Max Faulkner, in 1951, the only other time the Open was held at the Northern Ireland course. The Englishman fought hard to stay in red figures to win with a 3-under 285. Since the late Mr. Faulkner will not be barreling through the pub doors this weekend, who will?

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The familiar faces

The oldest major championship will display a deep field when the pegs meet the seedy turf Thursday. Once again Brooks "majors only" Koepka (+1000) will look to pick up not just his fifth major title, but also tabs at the local Kiwi's Brew Bar. Such a celebration that would undoubtedly find its way to the feeds of Brook's social media madness. The enigmatic Koepka is not playing his best right now, but it would be a drunken fool's errant swing not to make mention of his recent four major titles in his last nine starts. Couple that reality with having a Portrush local on the bag this week, the luck of the Irish might ring true for big-time Brooks.

We can't talk Northern Ireland without discussing the hometown hero, Rory McIlroy (+800). The 30-year-old has won four major titles, but it has been more than four years since his last. He didn't land any heavy blows at last week's Scottish Open, either, where he finished tied for 34th. But there is something powerful about home cooking and an unrelenting desire to put up a good fight. Whadaya say Rory?
During last year's eye-to-eye square up between Tiger Woods (+1800) and Francesco Molinari (+2500) in the final round of the Open, it was Francesco with the eye of the tiger. Surprisingly, neither the defending champion nor the "people's champ" are expected to last all four rounds this week, but as Rocky so confidently declared, "I didn't hear no bell. One more round..."

Little Mac with the biggest punch...

Bernd Wiesberger (+5000) is fresh off his Scottish Open victory, where he knocked out Benjamin Hebert in a late-round playoff. The 33-year-old Austrian is currently ranked No. 1 on the European tour and has 10 professional wins under his belt. Wiesberger is well worth the glass jar of halfpennies you've been saving since 1987. Fight!

When the wind blows and knuckles clinch...

Just as Royal Portrush was tamed by an Englishman 68 years ago, so too shall it be again as the Open Championship returns this week. Justin Rose (+2000) seems to always appear atop major leaderboards when the conditions are less than desirable. His only major win was at the 2013 U.S. Open, but more recently finished tied for third in this year's U.S. Open and knotted for a runner-up at the 2018 Open Championship. The man from London will ring the bell Sunday as he tips the Claret Jug. Cheers.

RAYMOND: The Open: Can Patrick Cantlay be the first winner since 1951 at Royal Portrush?

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