The 147th Open Championship – the oldest major in golf and the third of the season – tees off on Thursday in Scotland at the brutally challenging Carnoustie.
Jordan Spieth is the defending champion. He won his first Open Championship a year ago at England’s Royal Birkdale, his third major title overall. He’s shooting to become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to successfully defend the Open title. Harrington, as it was, won his first Open at Carnoustie in 2007 before repeating a year later at Birkdale.
So, who are the players you should be watching this week? We asked three people who should know better than anyone – three caddies that are on the ground working this week at Carnoustie.
To protect their identity, the caddies have submitted their five respective picks anonymously.
Let’s take a look at who our caddies picked and why:
- Dustin Johnson, “It’s easy. He’s the No. 1 player in the world.”
- Tiger Woods, “He’s hitting that driving iron really well and it’s going to come in handy here.” (Another caddie said of Tiger, “He’s playing really well. If that putter cooperates, it could be, ‘Hello, world. I’m baaaaack!”)
- Rickie Fowler, “He’s a great putter. That’s always a key in the majors.”
- Rory McIlroy, “He’s due. He has one Open title but hasn’t won a major since 2014.”
- Tommy Fleetwood, “A great ball striker who has been one of Europe’s best players the last couple of years.”
- Austin Cook, “He’s got three top 10s this season, including a win. He missed the cut at the Masters and didn’t play in the U.S. Open, so he’s hungry for another opportunity in a major.”
- Xander Shauffele, “He’s arguably the best ball-striker on Tour and he’ll be able to hit that driving iron under the wind off every tee.”
- Jordan Spieth, “He hasn’t won since last year’s Open, but make no mistake – he hasn’t forgotten how to win. And he shows up in the majors.”
- Francesco Molinari, “Have you seen how he’s playing lately? The man is hot. Red hot. A win at Quicken Loans followed by a T2 at John Deere.”
- Rory McIlroy, “Because, well, he’s good.”
- Dustin Johnson, “He’s the best player in the world. He can adjust to any weather and playing conditions. He’ll be a factor by week’s end.”
- Kevin Na, “He just won two weeks ago by five strokes. He’s had a week off to recharge. He’s got one of the best short games on Tour and that’s going to be so important at Carnoustie.”
- Jon Rahm, “He’s a great ball striker and with his rise the last few years, a major just feels like the next logical step.”
- Rory McIlroy, “A multiple major winner and he putts well on slow greens.”
- Brooks Koepka, “He’s coming off a second consecutive win in the U.S. Open and he’s got Northern Ireland’s Ricky Elliott on the bag.”