The third major championship of the year kicks off early Thursday morning with 156 of the best golfers on the planet looking to earn the title of Champion Golfer of the Year at the week’s end. The 146th Open Championship will be contested at Royal Birkdale, which will be hosting its ninth Open and first since Padraig Harrington claimed the first of his two Claret Jugs in 2008.
All of the top names are in Southport, England this week making the Open a difficult one to handicap. While the Open more than any other major can have its winner determined by the weather, the 2017 renewal of the world’s oldest major offers a unique experience in that there is no clear cut “better side” of the draw. The weather on Thursday is predicted to be good throughout with consistent wind between 13 and 16 miles per hour and sunny skies.
On the flip side Friday is expected to have poor weather throughout the day — perhaps with a respite for a few hours midday — but no one will escape adverse conditions for the entire second round if the forecast holds true.
With that in mind, we’ve pegged 10 guys from either side of the draw that have a better chance than most to hoist the famous trophy on Sunday evening.
10. Henrik Stenson
Last year’s Champion Golfer of the Year enters Birkdale with less-than-stellar track record, but one that bears monitoring as Stenson defends his first major championship. Stenson has missed five of his last six cuts on the PGA Tour ending at the U.S. Open, but has made his previous two cuts on the European Tour in the past three weeks. Can he capture the Claret magic again?
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