It’s the third Major Championship of the year next month and the one which is the oldest of golf’s four big tournaments. Here is a look at everything you need to know ahead of the 2019 Open Championship.
Where Is It At?
The Open is back in Northern Ireland this year at what is considered as one of the best golf courses in the world at Royal Portrush. The last time the venue staged the Open was in 1951 when Matt Faulkner lifted the Claret Jug. This should be one of the best tests of links golf possible for the world’s leading players so it sure to make for a fantastic four days.
Who Is The Defending Champion?
Winning is hard.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 14, 2019
Two double bogeys in four holes.
Francesco Molinari now trails by 3. pic.twitter.com/73NzUzvrSc
Francesco Molinari won his maiden Major Championship at Carnoustie in 2018 where he shot two bogey-free rounds at the weekend to win seal the tournament by two shots ahead of Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner. Since then the Italian finished in a tie for sixth place in the US PGA Championship and ended the weekend in a tie for fifth at the US Masters back in April. The last player to win back-to-back Open Championships was Padraig Harrington who managed the feat in 2007 and 2008.
What are the Odds?
2016 Open winner McIlroy tops the betting at 7/1 with Paddy Power to win his second Claret Jug this year and it is easy to see why the bookmakers make him the favourite. The Northern Irishman will know the course very well having grown up not far from the venue. McIlroy will be bidding for his fifth Major Championship at Royal Portrush and he may have come into form at exactly the right time of the year as he was successful earlier this month in the Canadian Open in Ontario where he shot a 61 in his final round. Going into the last hole on the Sunday, McIlroy was in contention for 59 but he recorded a bogey on the 18th to miss out on the feat.
The American pair of Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods sit right behind McIlroy at 9/1 following their Major Championship success earlier this year. Former world number one Dustin Johnson is 12/1 for glory, while Molinari is 16/1 to defend his crown.
The Open Championship is very difficult tournament to predict and that is reflected by some of the players which has won it since the turn of 2000, including Ben Curtis in 2003, Todd Hamilton a year later, Stewart Cink in 2009, while not many saw Darren Clarke coming out on top in 2011. That said, this looks a brilliant opportunity for McIlroy to add to his Major tally. The Northern Irishman will be at home at the course and given the way he is playing lately, he could take some stopping. When he is firing, there really are no weaknesses in his game and his conditions do make it tough, McIlroy will not be one of the players who will struggle. The crowd are going to be right behind the 28-year-old in his bid for a second Claret Jug.
The action from Royal Portrush begins on July 18 and will be played through to July 21.