Key questions heading into Round 1 at The 147th Open
After weeks of analyzing and anticipation, it’s almost time for The 147th Open Championship to start. Here are five key questions heading into Round 1 at Carnoustie.
Can Tiger find major form? Woods is back for his 20th Open and first since missing the cut at St. Andrews in 2015. The three-time Open champion is coming off a T-4 at the Quicken Loans National, his third top-10 of the season. But so far Woods hasn’t played well in the first two majors. Will a new putter and a return to links golf be the antidote for a run at a 15th major? We’ll find out when he tees off Thursday at 3:21 p.m. ET.
What’s the winning strategy? With very little rain over the past month, Carnoustie’s fairways are lightning fast, but the greens are still receptive. The fescue is also not very thick, so several players are weighing a bomb and gouge strategy over a more conservative approach. Rory McIlroy said any player’s game plan could change in an instant depending on the wind. It will be interesting to see which strategy wins out. Either way, expect plenty more birdies at a course known as “Car-nasty.”
Will Jordan Spieth’s putter heat up? The defending Open champion has been struggling on the greens this year, and he has yet to find the winner’s circle in 2018. Two years ago, Spieth was ranked second in strokes gained: putting and this year he has dropped to 175th. After a few weeks off, Spieth said he feels recharged and ready to go. “I kind of attacked the places that really needed some strong work,” he said.
Can Patrick Reed keep rolling in the majors? Reed broke through for his first major win at the Masters, and he made a serious charge in the final round at the U.S. Open before cooling off and finishing 4th. The Ryder Cup star said his winning strategy has been to treat the majors just like any other tournament, and it seems to have paid off big time. Now can he keep it going at Carnoustie?
Will Europe’s stars shine? The Americans hold all four majors, the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. But Europe has plenty of stars lined up who are in top form. Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren and Paul Casey are all in the top 15 in the world and come into The 147th Open with plenty of momentum. Rory McIlroy won earlier this year at Bay Hill, but his putter cooled off quickly. A return to Carnoustie could do him some good, however. He finished as the low amateur in 2007.
This time next year, The Open will return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years. Be part of the biggest party in golf in 2019. Get immediate access to priority tickets for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush when you sign up today to join The One Club for free. Simply go to TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets