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Open Championship preview: Hoylake prepares for Claret Jug battle

The 151st Open Championship takes place at Royal Liverpool Golf Club this week and it promises to be an enthralling event as the 156-strong field eye the famous Claret Jug.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy lifted the trophy the last time Hoylake staged The Open in 2014 and he has been boosted by bet365 from +750 to +850 to claim the spoils again.

World number one Scottie Scheffler is priced at +750 to land his second Major, while Spaniard Jon Rahm is +1200 to get the victory that would leave him just one leg off completing the Grand Slam.

WhatThe Open Championship
WhereRoyal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, Merseyside
WhenThursday July 20th - Sunday July 23rd 
How to watchNBC, Peacock, and USA Network
OddsRory McIlroy +750, Scottie Scheffler +750, Jon Rahm +1200, Cameron Smith +1600

Forecast could play a part

Of the last two times The Open has been held at Royal Liverpool GC, the conditions have been chalk and cheese.

In 2006, champion Tiger Woods only used his driver once throughout the whole tournament because of how firm the course was playing, but Rory McIlroy used the big dog a lot more in his 2014 triumph as it was a lot softer.

This week's forecast is predicting some showers over the first two days before more severe rain and wind over the weekend, which should make for an interesting spectacle.

As is often the case when it comes to this Major, keeping your ball on the short stuff, solid course management and an on-song short game are three areas that will be crucial to success.

Open Championship course details

This will be the 13th time Royal Liverpool has hosted The Open, having first staged the event in 1897 when amateur Harold Hilton claimed the spoils.

Since McIlroy's win in 2014, there have been some changes made to the course, most notably the creation of the par-3 17th hole that has already divided opinion.

With some tees pushed back, the course now measures 7,383 yards and is a par 71, offering three par-fives; 11 par-fours and four par-threes.

Three to follow

Jason Day

Priced up at +8000, Jason Day looks like a solid each-way selection to add to the US PGA Championship he collected back in 2015 at Whistling Straits.

After enduring a tough few years both on and off the course, the Australian looked back to his best when ending a near five-year wait for a 13th PGA Tour title at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.

The 35-year-old has been particularly strong off the tee this season and he is ninth in total driving (distance and accuracy), while he is 22nd in strokes gained: off-the-tee and still possesses one of the best short-games around.

Padraig Harrington

Irishman Padraig Harrington may play the majority of his golf on the Seniors Tour these days, but he still mixes it with the best when appearing on the PGA or DP World Tour and is a lively each-way contender at +12500.

The 51-year-old, who is a two-time Open champion, has also seen his name thrown into the Ryder Cup mix for the event at Marco Simone Golf Club later this year and the chance to represent Europe again is something he would relish.

Harrington has said he will change his schedule if he is genuinely in captain Luke Donald's plans and a strong showing at Royal Liverpool GC would aid his cause.

Matthew Jordan

At even bigger odds of +20000, Matthew Jordan could be worth an each-way wager as he prepares to play at a course he has been a member of since an early age.

The Englishman should have far greater knowledge of this course than a lot of his rivals and he has been given the honor of hitting the opening tee shot on Thursday.

Jordan has been putting in some solid performances of late and he has an affinity for links golf, having won the 2017 St Andrews Links Trophy and the 2018 Lytham Trophy when an amateur.

The 27-year-old's short game has been in good supply this season, as he ranks ninth in strokes gained: around-the-green and 15th in sand saves, and he may just surprise a few this week.

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