A British Open in Sandwich Means a Lot of Talk About the Weather

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The Wall Street Journal 15 July, 2021 - 07:45am 12 views

Who wins the British Open?

The 2020 British Open was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the reigning champion remains Shane Lowry of Ireland. In the 2019 season, Lowry won over Tommy Fleetwood by a six-stroke margin over Tommy Fleetwood. DraftKings NationBritish Open 2021: Past winners, who has won it the most times, why no 2020 winner

Who are the favorites to win the British Open?

Johnson is listed at 15-1 in the latest 2021 Open Championship odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while Mickelson is a 70-1 long shot. Jon Rahm is coming off his first major win at the 2021 U.S. Open and is the 7-1 favorite in the Open Championship odds 2021, while Bryson DeChambeau is next on the board at 14-1. CBSSports.com2021 British Open odds: Open Championship picks, top predictions by same model that nailed Jon Rahm's win

What time does British Open coverage start?

British Open TV coverage today Broadcast times: 4 a.m to 3 p.m. Sporting NewsBritish Open schedule 2021: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch on NBC, Golf Channel & stream online

For the first time in his career, at this Open, Spain's Jon Rahm will tee off at a major championship on Thursday morning without the burden of having never won one.

After winning his first at last month's U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Rahm will attempt to become only the seventh player -- and just the second in nearly four decades -- to win the U.S. Open and The Open in the same year at Royal St. George's.

"Yeah, I'm usually pretty good in golf history," Rahm said this week of the rare feat. "I know Tiger has done it. Might have been maybe Ben Hogan has done it, too, and not many more. I'm assuming Jack. Jack is always in all of those lists. It would be pretty incredible to win both Opens in one year. It would be amazing."

Actually, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer never did it.

Tiger Woods was the last player to do it, in 2000, and Tom Watson before that in 1982. The others -- Bobby Jones (1926 and 1930), Gene Sarazen (1932), Ben Hogan (1953) and Lee Trevino (1971) -- occurred at least a half-century ago.

"At least I did have a sense of relief after winning the first major," Rahm said. "I felt like for the better part of five years, all I heard is major, major, major just because I was playing good golf, as if it was easy to win a major championship."

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The Australian finished tied for 20th at Royal Portrush two years ago, his best finish in three Open starts.

In this edition of America's Caddie, Michael Collins travels to the UK to tour The Open Championship host town of Sandwich & talk to 3-time Open winner Sir Nick Faldo. Stream now on ESPN+

Varner will make his second Open start after he was added to the field on Sunday. He took the place of Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who was forced to withdraw because of a recent COVID-19 diagnosis.

The 23-year-old Englishman won the British Amateur, after trailing by 8 after 17 holes of the 36-hole match. As a result, he qualified for the Open Championship and next year's Masters and U.S. Open.

Read full article at The Wall Street Journal

The Open: Robert Lee was far from overwhelmed on his debut at Royal St George's in 1985

Sky Sports 15 July, 2021 - 11:02am

Robert Lee played his first Open Championship at Royal St George's in 1985 and has fond memories of his debut, particularly as he was in contention at the halfway stage along with a few Sky Sports colleagues....

I shot 68 in the first round, and that was my first ever round in an Open Championship. That had me tied for second, but incredibly I was four shots off the lead after Christy O'Connor Jnr fired a 64 - with a persimmon driver and balata - that is some score!

Just to get into The Open, I needed to play well at The Belfry the week before as there were three places up for grabs at the Lawrence Batley International Golf Classic. I played with David Frost in the final round, and I went into it thinking a 69 would be enough to get me to Royal St George's.

Sure enough, I was three under for the day playing the last hole, knowing a par would earn an Open debut. The 18th, at The Belfry, into the wind - I don't think you could play a harder hole with that much on the line.

I hit a good drive, needed a two-iron for my second, just missed the green to the right, but I chipped it to about three feet and holed the putt for my 69, and although I finished tied for 12th and nine shots behind Graham Marsh, that was enough to qualify for The Open.

I was pretty confident heading into my first major as I was in great form and shooting plenty of low scores, including a 61 in Monte Carlo. I had come so close to qualifying before, losing in play-offs and being high on the reserve list, and then I found the better way in was to play well in the tournament before!

For many young pros, playing at The Open for the first time, with huge crowds and a buzzing atmosphere, it can be an overwhelming experience. But I loved it, the more noise the better for me. I was in my element.

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In those days, crowds for golf tournaments tended to be a little sparse, so The Open was in a league of its own. When I've heard athletes from a variety of sports over the last 18 months talk about how tough it can be to perform without a crowd, I understand that totally.

The buzz and the hum around an Open is special, and if you embrace that, it's like a drug. And it was the same with the extra media attention I was getting. If you make some noise over the first couple of rounds, you expect that, but it didn't bother me at all.

I also got to play with Bernhard Langer in the third round, and he was the reigning Masters champion at the time. He was a hot property in golf, and always was a top bloke. We were actually level with each other midway through the round, but unfortunately I let a few shots slip coming in.

And we had a bizarre situation when play was suspended due to thunder and lightning. Back then, there were no buggies or trucks sent out to ferry the players back to the clubhouse, and we were miles away. But there was a house on the edge of the course, right where we were, and they invited us in to shelter in there! Nice coffee too!

Once we got back on the course, I came in with a 74 which left me six off the lead going into the final round, but that didn't mean I could "freewheel" it on Sunday. I've never quite understood that, the notion that there's less pressure on you after a bad round.

To me, there was less pressure the higher up the leaderboard you were. When you weren't playing so well, that's when I felt the pressure. If you've played poorly and think the next round doesn't really matter, you're entirely wrong, in my opinion.

I closed with another 74 and finished tied for 25th, so my first experience of The Open was a positive one. And when I look back on the halfway leaderboard, it's full of familiar names. I was up there, so was Wayne Riley, Tony Johnstone and Howard Clark, so we call it the "Sky Sports Leaderboard"!

Open memories are always great, everybody loves The Open. Having contended in several events earlier in the year, I was not daunted by the prospect of tackling Royal St George's at all. I got to the point where I was wishing I could do that every week!

You never forget your first Open, and mine was an awesome week. It was great fun, and something I look back on with nothing but good memories.

The Open: Lee Westwood confident of contending for major breakthrough at Royal St George's

Sky Sports 15 July, 2021 - 11:02am

Lee Westwood is confident that he can bounce back from a disappointing finish to the abrdn Scottish Open and contend for a long-awaited major breakthrough at The 149th Open.

The 48-year-old was within a shot of the halfway lead in the Rolex Series event and briefly topped the leaderboard during the third round at The Renaissance Club, only to slip out of contention with rounds of 71 and 72 over the weekend.

Westwood ended the week tied-35th and nine strokes back from champion Min Woo Lee, with the Englishman believing his game is in a good place ahead of the final men's major of the year.

"I feel like I'm playing well and obviously I've played well this year," Westwood said. "I played well last week. I was in the lead with 26 holes to go, and then a couple of pulls and a double bogey, par, double bogey and couldn't get any momentum going after that.

"When you are at 14 under with 26 holes to go and 18 under is winning it, you should fancy your chances then, but obviously I didn't manage to finish that one off. I kind of look back on last week and take the positives out of it, that the form is there and I'm playing well and I'm making birdies.

"Coming into this week, I've played here twice in the Open Championship, missed the cut both times. I had it in my head a bit of a mental block that I didn't like the golf course, but played it yesterday and really enjoyed it and loved the way it was set up.

"I'm positive and hoping I can find some form and get into contention. Like all links tournaments, you need a little bit of luck with the weather, and like golf, you need a little bit of luck, you need some good breaks."

Westwood has featured in every edition of The Open since his debut in 1995 and makes his 88th major start this week in Kent, where a failure to win would result in him breaking Jay Haas' record for most major appearances without a victory.

"I do care about that [the record]," Westwood added. "That's nice, that record. It shows I've been a good player for a long, long time. There's not many people who have played in as many major championships as me.

"I think everybody missed The Open Championship last year, watching it on TV or playing it. It's good to be back. It's a massive championship, my favourite of the year, and I'm delighted to be back and playing well and hopefully having a chance to contend this week."

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