The 2021 Open Championship Power Rankings

Justin Thomas 149th Open Power Rankings 2021
Justin Thomas plays a shot from the 1st tee during a practice round for The 149th British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich, England on July 12, 2021. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS AFP via Getty Images)

Sadly, a riveting major championship season comes to a close this week, with the 149th Open Championship set to be held at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.

Largely due to international traveling, The Open was the one major in 2020 that was not made up at a different date. That means Ireland’s Shane Lowry has been the defending champion for two years. At Royal Portrush in 2019, Lowry made The Open a romp, winning by six strokes.

Lowry remains one to watch, but is he a real threat to become the tournament’s first back-to-back champion since Padraig Harrington in 2009?

Here is where we see him stacking up against a loaded field, looking to add 2021’s last piece of major championship hardware:

25. Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler 2021 U.S. Open
Scottie Scheffler chips from the rough on the 11th hole during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South Course on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Harry How via Getty Images)

It seems shocking that Scheffler is ranked 19th in the world, and has yet to play The Open Championship. While he is still looking for his first Tour victory, majors have kind of been his thing.

In just two seasons on Tour, the 25-year-old has finished inside the top 20 in all five of his major starts, and finished his last two inside the top 10.

Scheffler also finished third at The Memorial Tournament last month, and is coming off a T12 at the Scottish Open, where his second-round 63 tied the field low for the entire week. He is well ahead of the curve given that he finished fifth in last year’s FedExCup standings as a rookie.

Odds: 50-1
World Rank: 19th
2019 OPEN: DNP
2021 PLAYERS: MC
2021 MASTERS: T18
2021 PGA: T8
2021 US OPEN: T7


24. Joaquin Niemann

Joaquin Niemann Rocket Mortgage Classic
Joaquin Niemann and Troy Merritt prepare to tee off from the 4th tee during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 4, 2021 at the Detroit GC in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Gregory Shamus via Getty Images)

Many would be surprised to learn that the 22-year-old Chilean ranks inside the top five on Tour in scoring average. He is likely to win multiple majors in his career, and is getting really close to the point where the talk is more on his current self than his promise.

Two weeks ago, Niemann played 72 holes bogey-free at the Rocket Mortgage Classic… but then bogeyed the first playoff hole and had to settle for his third runner-up of the season.

His game is well-built for an Open, and we like his chances to contend in a major for the first time this week, although it will be just his second Open start. Not that lack of event experience hindered Ben Curtis all that much when The Open was held at Royal St. George’s in 2003.

Odds: 66-1
World Rank: 26th
2019 OPEN: MC
2021 PLAYERS: T29
2021 MASTERS: T40
2021 PGA: T30
2021 US OPEN: T31


23. Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson walks up the 18th fairway as fans cheer during the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on May 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It’s not often that someone teams up with Tom Brady in anything and loses, but that was Phil’s reality as the two of them were outdueled in the most recent edition of “The Match” by the duo of Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers last week.

So, what does that mean for Phil’s chances at The Open this week? Almost definitely nothing.

The 51-year-old seems to have reached a point where you have no idea what you’re going to get from him, but the facts are that he has won 45 Tour events, six majors, and despite long being considered “not an Open guy”, he won the 2013 edition at Muirfield by three strokes, was second to Henrik Stenson in 2016 at Royal Troon, and shared second-place to Darren Clarke in 2011 – the last time The Open was held at Royal St. George’s.

Oh yeah, and he won the PGA Championship two months ago.

Odds: 100-1
World Rank: 32nd
2019 OPEN: MC
2021 PLAYERS: T35
2021 MASTERS: T21
2021 PGA: 1st
2021 US OPEN: T62


22. Russell Henley

Russell Henley
Russell Henley reacts after making birdie on the third hole during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Harry How via Getty Images)

The three-time PGA Tour winner held the 54-hole co-lead at last month’s U.S. Open, but got unhinged on the Sunday front-nine, shooting a 4-over 76 and finishing T13.

Henley deserves credit though, for not letting that collapse hurt his results. In two starts since, he posted a T19 at the Travelers Championship and a T11 at last week’s John Deere Classic.

His irons have made the difference, evidenced by his third place ranking on Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green and 15th in greens in regulation.

Odds: 125-1
World Rank: 55th
2019 OPEN: DNQ
2021 PLAYERS: MC
2021 MASTERS: DNQ
2021 PGA: T71
2021 US OPEN: T13


21. Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood with Shane Lowry on the 13th during day one of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch GC in Lahinch, Clare. (Photo By Brendan Moran Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The 30-year-old is still 0-for in majors, and in PGA Tour events, but The Open has been a place of comfort for him, as he followed up a T12 in 2018 with a runner-up finish to Shane Lowry in the most recent edition.

Currently 35th in the OWGR, Fleetwood has mostly played well in 2021, but cannot seem to stop sabotaging himself with one awful round every week. In his T50 effort at the U.S. Open last month, he snapped an eight-event stretch on Tour with at least one round of 75 or worse.

He has played in Europe the past two weeks, and shot four rounds of 70 or better at the Scottish Open (T26), and nothing worse than a 72 in a T17 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open the week prior, so he has been trending positively.

Odds: 40-1
World Rank: 35th
2019 OPEN: 2nd
2021 PLAYERS: MC
2021 MASTERS: T46
2021 PGA: MC
2021 US OPEN: T50


20. Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau stands on the 17th green during a practice round prior to the start of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course on June 15, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey via Getty Images)

The 2020 U.S. Open champ by six strokes has not been in particularly great form as of late, with a T9 at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he made the cut on the number, his only top 10 in his last nine starts.

Two weeks ago, he shockingly missed the cut as the defending champion of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, parting ways with his caddie at the beginning of the week. He has since named a new one, and it remains to be seen what kind of effect it will have on his game.

DeChambeau’s ridiculous length is not as big an asset at Royal St. George’s that it would be at a number of other places.

He has been a disaster at the majors in 2021, absolutely imploding during a Sunday 77 at the U.S. Open, after he had grabbed the lead to finish T26, equaling his Sunday score at the PGA Championship. His Masters included three rounds of 75 or worse.

As talented as the world No. 6 is, it is difficult to see him getting into the mix if he continues to spray his drives the way he has the past two months. There’s too much trouble for him to get into.

Odds: 25-1
World Rank: 6th
2019 OPEN: MC
2021 PLAYERS: T3
2021 MASTERS: T46
2021 PGA: T38
2021 US OPEN: T26


19. Matt Fitzpatrick

Matt Fitzpatrick Scottish Open
Matt Fitzpatrick on the 11th tee during day three of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland. (Photo by Jane Barlow PA Images via Getty Images)

Among the English contingency in attendance at last week’s Scottish Open, Fitzpatrick was the high finisher, sharing runner-up honors with Thomas Detry, with Min Woo Lee winning in a playoff.

The 26-year-old will be hoping the strong result will start another streak like he had in February-March when he strung together four consecutive finishes of T11 or better.

He does rank an impressive 20th in the world right now, but his play has not yet translated in the majors, where a T7 at the 2016 Masters is his only top 10 in 25 major starts.

Odds: 33-1
World Rank: 20th
2019 OPEN: T20
2021 PLAYERS: T9
2021 MASTERS: T34
2021 PGA: T23
2021 US OPEN: T55


18. Adam Scott

Adam Scott
Adam Scott looks on during the pro-am prior to The Honda Classic on Mar 17, 2021 in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Don’t forget that Scott had a four-year stretch at The Open (2012-2015) where he finished 2, T3, T5, T10, and while it feels like he has not contended in a while, the man who turns 41 on Friday has been solid in 2021, with four results inside the top 16 in his last ten starts. Most recently, he shot four rounds in the 60s to finish T13 at the Travelers Championship.

Scott is a surprising 20th on Tour in driving distance and can still putt the lights out. He always seems to be lurking in this event.

Odds: 80-1
World Rank: 43rd
2019 OPEN: MC
2021 PLAYERS: T48
2021 MASTERS: 54th
2021 PGA: MC
2021 US OPEN: T35


17. Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed and his caddy before playing his second shot on the 18th hole during Day One of the Saudi International at Royal Greens on Feb 4, 2021 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/WME IMG/WME IMG via Getty Images )

The nine-time Tour winner has yet to contend into Sunday at an Open, but three top 20s in his last five attempts is not bad. Reed’s short game is an incredible equalizer/asset to him, and some of his recent outings have included a fifth-place finish at The Memorial and a T6 at the Wells Fargo Championship.

On the season, he has six top 10s, highlighted by a victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

Reed has been much better on the weekends than the first two rounds at the majors this year, which is something to keep in mind for betting purposes.

Odds: 40-1
World Rank: 9th
2019 OPEN: 10th
2021 PLAYERS: T22
2021 MASTERS: T8
2021 PGA: T17
2021 US OPEN: T19


16. Branden Grace

Branden Grace Wins Puerto Rico Open
Branden Grace celebrates after making a birdie on the 18th hole to win the Puerto Rico Open at Grand Reserve CC on Feb 28, 2021 in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The 33-year-old South African was a bit of a dud at the Scottish Open last week, especially given that he was coming in off back-to-back top 10s, which included closing the U.S Open with a field-low 67 to finish T7.

There should not be much worry that England is not a fit for him, given that he shot the lowest round in major championship history (62) in the UK four years ago.

Grace has made eight cuts in nine Open Championship starts, with a high result being a T6 in 2017. He won an opposite-field event in Puerto Rico in February, and has improved his world ranking from 147th to 62nd since January.

Odds: 50-1
World Rank: 62nd
2019 OPEN: T51
2021 PLAYERS: MC
2021 MASTERS: DNQ
2021 PGA: T38
2021 US OPEN: T7


15. Rory McIlroy

Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm
Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm on the 12th green during day one of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, North Berwick. (Photo by Jane Barlow PA Images via Getty Images)

It has been an extremely up-and-down 2021 for the four-time major champion McIlroy, who won the 2014 event by two strokes at Royal Liverpool.

The world No. 11 stuck around Europe the past two weeks, but did not answer any questions about the state of his game, finishing T59 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and missing the cut at the abrdn Scottish Open. Rory’s history at The Open is tremendous, though: his victory was the first of four consecutive top 5s.

As he looks to snap a majorless drought dating back to the 2014 PGA Championship, he will attempt to build off a promising T7 effort at last month’s U.S. Open, where he was just two off the 54-hole lead.

Even amidst his struggles, he ranks eighth on Tour in strokes gained: off-the-tee, and 11th in strokes gained: tee-to-green. 177th in driving accuracy is not a good sign for this week, however.

Odds: 16-1
World Rank: 11th
2019 OPEN: MC
2021 PLAYERS: MC
2021 MASTERS: MC
2021 PGA: T49
2021 US OPEN: T7


14. Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson plays a tee shot on the 8th hole during the second round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 25, 2021 in Cromwell, Conn. (Photo by Ben Jared PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

DJ’s best showing at The Open Championship came at Royal St. George’s in 2011, when he played in the final Sunday pairing and finished co-runner-up to Darren Clarke. Unfortunately for him, nothing about his current play is going to use the word “best”.

After looking unstoppable late in 2020, the 2021 calendar year has been a big dud. He missed the cut at The Masters, where he was the defending champion, missed the cut at the PGA Championship, and was T19 at the U.S. Open. His only top 10 on the year was a T10 at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.

He is back to No. 1 in the world, though, despite not playing last two weeks.

DJ can never be counted out, but his current play, and the fact that his results have been poor in four of his last five Open Championship, make it difficult to have much confidence in him.

Odds: 18-1
World Rank: 1st
2019 OPEN: T51
2021 PLAYERS: T48
2021 MASTERS: MC
2021 PGA: MC
2021 US OPEN: T19


13. Viktor Hovland

Viktor Hovland Leads BMW International Open
Viktor Hovland tees off on the 4th hole during Day 3 of The BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried on June 26, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Andrew Redington via Getty Images)

The 23-year-old Norwegian was forced to withdraw from last month’s U.S. Open after a bunker shot caused an unfortunate eye injury. However, Hovland appears to be past it, as he won the European Tour’s BMW International Open just two weeks ago.

On the season, Hovland has missed just one cut in 19 starts, with a win, two runner-ups, and two third-place finishes.

With one of the best tee-to-green games in the world, do not expect his best major finish to be from his amateur days (T12 at the 2019 U.S. Open). He will need to scramble better this week than he has been though.

Odds: 28-1
World Rank: 14th
2019 OPEN: DNP
2021 PLAYERS: MC
2021 MASTERS: T21
2021 PGA: T30
2021 US OPEN: WD


12. Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry Wins 148th Open Championship
Ireland’s Shane Lowry celebrates winning The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 21, 2019 in Northern Ireland. Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

The defending champion for two years now, the Irishman was absolutely dominant at the 2019 Open Championship, breaking the Open Championship 54-hole scoring record on his way to a six-stroke victory.

Lowry was largely underwhelming in his 2020 follow-up season, but has been excellent in 2021, with four top 10s in his last ten starts, including a T4 at the PGA Championship.

The 34-year-old undoubtedly has the confidence and excellent iron play to become the first back-to-back Open Champion since fellow countryman Padraig Harrington in 2008-09.

Odds: 40-1
World Rank: 44th
2019 OPEN: 1st
2021 PLAYERS: 8th
2021 MASTERS: T21
2021 PGA: T4
2021 US OPEN: T65


11. Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Cantlay tees off on the 6th during a practice round prior to the start of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines GC on June 15, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Harry How via Getty Images)

Nobody benefited more from Jon Rahm contracting COVID last month, as Cantlay outdueled Collin Morikawa down the stretch at The Memorial, to take the title and get his game out of a surprising funk.

In two starts since, the 29-year-old finished T15 at the U.S. Open and T13 at the Travelers Championship, giving him considerable momentum as tries to do what Rahm did at the U.S. Open, and get off the list of best players without a major.

Cantlay has made just two starts at The Open Championship: a T12 in 2018 and a T41 in 2019. He ranks fourth on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and currently leads the FedExCup standings.

Odds: 33-1
World Rank: 7th
2019 OPEN: T41
2021 PLAYERS: MC
2021 MASTERS: MC
2021 PGA: T23
2021 US OPEN: T15


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1 COMMENT

  1. Rory is ranked way too high. He’s no longer elite. DJ too has a pathetic record in those top events you listed.

    Koepka is best on big stage. Xander and Louis too.

    Rahm is easily best player in world tho. He’s just a bit weird and not charismatic so he doesn’t get promo like DJ, JT, Koepka and Rory.

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