Original article published 17 October 2022
Golf’s biggest names descend upon St Andrews next week looking to win a very special 150th Open Championship.
And, with the battle for the Claret Jug shaping up to be a blockbuster, we pick out five to follow at the home of golf in Scotland.
The Open Championship
The Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland
Thursday 14th - Sunday 17th July
How to watch
Sky Sports and follow via bet365's Live Golf Tracker
|Odds||Rory McIlroy 9/1, Jon Rahm 12/1, Scottie Scheffler 14/1, Justin Thomas 16/1, Collin Morikawa 20/1, Matthew Fitzpatrick 20/1|
Rory McIlroy is yet to win a Major since his victory in the 2014 PGA Championship, but the 33-year-old will arrive at St Andrews well fancied for this year's Open Championship.
Despite his eight-year wait for another Major, McIlroy has been the model of consistency this season, with form figures of 2-8-5 across 2022's Masters, USPGA Championship and US Open.
The Northern Irishman was victorious in this tournament back in 2014, beating Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia by two shots at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, while he finished third the last time he played the Open at St Andrews back in 2010.
He has been victorious twice on the PGA Tour this season, with wins coming at the RBC Canadian Open and The CJ Cup.
Given his rock-solid Major form this year and clear liking to the course, it is not hard to see why punters have latched on to McIlroy to end his eight-year drought.
Since winning the 2021 US Open, Jon Rahm has been near the head of the market in almost every tournament he has entered.
The Spaniard beat Louis Oostehuizen by one stroke to claim his first Major title and also has 13 other professional wins to his name, including this year’s Mexico Open.
Third in this tournament last year, Rahm ranks second in the greens in regulation stats for the 2021/22 PGA Tour season.
He is a long driver, but will need to be careful as there could be plenty of wind around at the exposed St Andrews set-up.
World number one Scottie Scheffler has experienced a meteoric rise in the last 12 months, culminating in him winning four tournaments out of six entered earlier in the year, including the Masters at Augusta.
Scheffler was making his Open Championship debut last year when he finished tied for eighth. In total his Majors record is rock solid, with five top 10s in his last six entered.
After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Scheffler managed finishes of 2-18-2-13 in his next four tournaments, so is clearly in good form.
For many the proposition of such a solid, all-around golfer at a double-figure price may be too much to resist.
Justin Thomas was something of a forgotten man between his two Major wins, but put himself firmly back into the conversations over the top golf players in the world with a play-off victory over Will Zalatoris at the 2022 USPGA Championship.
Thomas had been victorious in the 2017 edition of the same tournament and is a 17-time professional winner, 15 of which have come on the PGA Tour.
However, JT does not have a strong record at the Open Championship, finishing inside the top 40 just once in five attempts and missing the cut twice.
Any backers of Thomas for glory at St Andrews will have to hope his record is simply a misnomer and that his good recent form will put him right in contention.
At the recent JP McManus Pro-Am Thomas did finish with a 67 to finish on 5-under par, which will comfort those considering supporting him.
The defending champion, Collin Morikawa, won on debut last year and is arguably the brightest young star on the PGA Tour.
Morikawa beat Jordan Speith by two strokes at the Royal St George's Club last year, adding to his Major tally after winning the 2020 USPGA Championship, which he also took on debut.
The American made his first 22 cuts on the Tour, a record beaten only by Tiger Woods and his accurate iron play has earned plaudits from plenty of observers.
Morikawa also topped the DP World Tour Championship in November last year and contended in two of the three Majors this season, finishing fifth at both the Masters and US Open.
The former world number one amateur will be buoyed by the knowledge that there have been 15 back-to-back winners in the 150 year history of the event, most recently Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008.