Rooting For History: Storylines For Spieth, Oosthuizen, Morikawa

Jordan Spieth 149th Open Championship Royal St Georges
Jordan Spieth plays a shot on the 8th hole during Day Three of The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 17, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt via Getty Images)

The final round of The 149th Open Championship gets underway tomorrow morning at Royal St George’s Golf Club. It’s the PGA Tour’s final major of its 2020-21 super season that saw six major championships contested, following the COVID-interrupted 2019-20 campaign.

Unless something wild and unexpected happens, there will be no two-time major winner as many predicted. Jon Rahm is the only player within five shots who’s already won a major this season. But the Spaniard would not only have to overcome a five-shot deficit, he’d have to leapfrog five players which includes three major winners – a tall task.

With that, here are the three most likely winners and their storylines heading into Sunday.

1. Louis Oosthuizen (-12)

Louis Oosthuizen Leads 149th Open Championship Royal St Georges
Louis Oosthuizen walks across the 18th green during Day Three of The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 17, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington via Getty Images)

A career that launched with a win at the 2010 Open Championship, but has been defined primarily by near misses in the majors, including two more runner-ups in 2021, a second Claret Jug for the classy South African would make for a happy ending to the super season… Oosthuizen could also become just the fourth Open winner to hold the outright lead, wire-to-wire. The others were Tom Weiskopf (1973), Tiger Woods (2005), and Rory McIlroy (2014)… Would be one of only 85 players in the history of the game with multiple major titles, and one of only 28 players to win multiple Claret Jugs.


2. Collin Morikawa (-11)

Collin Morikawa 149th Open Championship Royal St Georges
Collin Morikawa on the 18th green during his third round on day 3 of The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, England on July 17, 2021. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN for AFP via Getty Images)

A second major at 24 would put Morikawa in some heady company. He’d be the first player to win two or more majors in his debut… He’d join Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Open and PGA before 25. Two major wins in just 8 starts would be the fewest since Bobby Jones (1926 Open)… Two majors in his first two full seasons on the PGA Tour… Would join Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, and Brooks Koepka as the only players in the last 20 years (since 2000) to win majors in consecutive seasons… Would be one of only 19 players in history to win both The Open and PGA Championship.


3. Jordan Spieth (-9)

Jordan Spieth 149th Open Championship Royal St Georges
Jordan Spieth during day two of The Open at The Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England on July 16, 2021. (Photo by Richard Sellers for PA Images via Getty Images)

The one-time Golden Child, who had three majors at 23, could cap off his 2021 comeback season with a fourth career major, and second Claret Jug. Sports fans love a comeback story, but a tale of reclamation en route to history would be next-level emotional… Would become one of only 31 players in history with four majors or more, including active stars Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka… Would be one of only 28 players to win multiple Claret Jugs… One of only six players with multiple Open wins, along with a U.S. Open and Masters.


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