2016 Open Championship: Rory raring to go at Royal Troon
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | July 13, 2016
2016 Open Championship
- Thursday, July 14th – Sunday 17th
- First tee-off: 06:35 BST
- Royal Troon Golf Club, South Ayrshire, Scotland
- Live on Sky Sports The Open
Will Troon see yet another American champions?
Golf’s oldest and arguably most prestigious Major The Open Championship returns for another year, and for the first time at Royal Troon since 2004, with all the top names in the sport to battle it out for the famous Claret Jug.
Zach Johnson is the reigning champion, and incredibly the sixth straight American to win on this course, in a run that goes way back to 1962 when Arnold Palmer claimed the title.
If you fancy a USA representative to triumph yet again at this Scottish links course, then take tempting odds of 13/8 with Coral.
Leading the charge for the Americans is recent US Open champion Dustin Johnson, who finally shook off the tag of being a nearly man to claim his maiden Major.
The South Carolinian finished tied-second here back in 2011, and is now the joint 9/1 favourite to double his tally.
McIlroy “focused” ahead of The Open
But he will be up against three superstars of the game in Rory McIlroy (11/1), Jordan Spieth (12/1) and Jason Day (9/1).
McIlroy won this competition in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, and so will be desperate to show that he still has what it takes to win a Major, despite not doing so since the PGA Championship two years ago.
When asked about the so-called ‘big four’, the Northern Irishman quipped: “Those guys are having a great run at the minute. But I’m happy where my game is. I can’t worry about other guys.
“If I focus on myself and make sure that I’m playing the best that I can, I’m pretty confident that if I go out and play my best golf I’m going to win more times than not,” he added.
“I’ve got four Major championships, and I’d love to add to that tally, just as those guys would love to add to their one or two Majors that they have and just keep going.”
McIlroy is actually the only one of the ‘big four’ to have triumphed at The Open, and so two-time Major winner Spieth is determined to get back to winning ways too.
Spieth aware of American history
On the history of American success at Royal Troon, the Dallas-born star said: “I noticed all the Americans. It was very cool to walk through the club halls and see that.
“You see so much history when you play The Open and it is fun. I enjoy it because we don’t have that type of history in the States.
“I remember Todd [Hamilton] winning in 2004, and what a shock it was and how he withstood the pressure to make putt after putt.
“I believe if I am in contention I can bring out my best stuff and take the trophy home. I can close it out. The ability to get in contention, I’m a bit hesitant tee to green. It is a matter of not making mistakes.
“The Claret Jug is something I have held in my hands… I was with Zach Johnson last year, the night he’d won it. I crave to have that trophy in my possession at some point.”
Willett, Westwood and Rose best English hopes
Justin Rose tops the market to be best Englishman, though, at 9/2, with the ever-consistent Lee Westwood just behind at 13/2.
The Open has a habit of producing winners in their late 30s-early 40s, with the likes of Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Stewart Cink and Padraig Harrington all lifting the Claret Jug since 2008.
So, 43-year-old Westwood, who’s finished in the top three in all four Majors before and second at the 2010 Open, is 45/1 to finally go all the way and lay his demons to rest.
Coral’s top tip: Willett is a tasty 4/1 shout to finish in the top 10.