The fourth and final major of 2022 is upon us, as the (British) Open Championship, also known as the 150th Open, gets underway this week at the historic Old Course at St. Andrews.
The iconic golf course, which sits on the east coast of Scotland, will host The Open for the 30th time, with the first edition played in 1873.
A field comprised of the game’s biggest names, including 15-time major winner Tiger Woods and defending champion Collin Morikawa, will be teeing it up at what is considered the home of golf.
Woods and world No. 8 Morikawa will be joined by a bevy of top-ranked stars including all of the other names in the top 10 (in order): Scottie Scheffler (1), Rory McIlroy (2), Jon Rahm (3), Patrick Cantlay (4), Xander Schauffele (5), Cam Smith (6), Justin Thomas (7), Viktor Hovland (9) and Matt Fitzpatrick (10).
Other familiar names who are considered serious threats to host the Claret Jug include Sam Burns, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Will Zalatoris, Hideki Matsuyama, Tony Finau, Shane Lowry, Abraham Ancer and Jordan Spieth, among others.
Tournament: The Open Championship
Dates: July 14-17, 2022
Where: St Andrews, Scotland
Course: Old Course at St Andrews
Distance: Par 72, 7305 yards
Format: 72-hole stroke play (36 cut)
Winning Share: $2,500,000
FedExCup/OWGR Points: 600/100
Defending Champion: Collin Morikawa
How to Follow The Open Championship
Television: Thu: 1:30-4 a.m. (Peacock), 4 a.m.-3 p.m. (USA); Sat: 5-7 a.m. (USA), 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (NBC); Sun: 4-7 a.m. (USA), 7 a.m.-2 p.m. (NBC)
Open Championship History
The oldest of the four majors, The Open Championship has humble roots that date all the way back to 1860. The inaugural tournament featured a small handful of professionals playing three 12-hole rounds in one day at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland.
That first Open was won by Willie Park Sr., who finished the event in 174 strokes (this was back even before pars were a thing).
The early winners were awarded a red belt, known as the Challenge Belt, but the event had to come up with something new after the legendary Young Tom Morris was able to invoke a myopic condition where a player with three consecutive Open victories gets to keep the belt.
The belt became a medal, and as the tournament increased in prestige and participation, the ultimate prize became the Claret Jug, one of the greatest symbols of achievement in the world of elite-level sports.
The Open Championship’s illustrious list of winners includes both of the Tom Morrises (Old and Young), Harry Vardon, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, among others.
Vardon is the tournament’s all-time leader in wins with six, followed by James Braid, John Henry Taylor, Peter Thomson and Watson with five a piece. In all, 27 players have won multiple Open Championships.
St Andrews is the host venue of The Open for the 30th time – the first since 2015 when Zach Johnson claimed his second of his two career major titles.
History: Recent Winners
2021: Collin Morikawa (-15)
2020: COVID (-19)
2019: Shane Lowry (-15)
2018: Francesco Molinari (-8)
2017: Jordan Spieth (-12)
2016: Henrik Stenson (-20)
2015: Zach Johnson (-15)
2014: Rory McIlroy (-17)
2013: Phil Mickelson (-3)
2012: Ernie Els (-7)
2011: Darren Clarke (-5)
264 – Henrik Stenson (2016)
197 – Shane Lowry (2019)
36 HOLE SCORING
130 – Nick Faldo (1992)
130 – Brandt Snedeker (2012)
62 – Branden Grace (2017)
Youngest – Young Tom Morris (17.5, 1868)
Oldest – Old Tom Morris (46.3, 1867)
6 – Harry Vardon (1896, 1898-99, 1903, 1911, 1914)
5 – James Braid (1901, 1905-06, 1908, 1910)
5 – John Henry Taylor (1894-95, 1900, 1909, 1913)
5 – Peter Thomson (1954-56, 1958, 1965)
5 – Tom Watson (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982-83)
4 – Young Tom Morris (1868-70, 72)*
3 – Peter Thomson (1954-56)
3 – Bob Ferguson (1880-82)
3 – Jamie Anderson (1877-79)
* No tournament in 1871
WIRE TO WIRE WINNERS
1912 Ted Ray (+11)
1927 Bobby Jones (-3)
1932 Gene Sarazen (-5)
1934 Henry Cotton (+3)
1973 Tom Weiskopf (-12)
2005 Tiger Woods (-14)
2014 Rory McIlroy (-17)
Open Championship Power Rankings
The power rankings for the final major offers one big surprise: world No. 130 Branden Grace checking in at No. 15.
The 35-year-old South African enters off a win and third-place finish at the two LIV Golf events, which due to reported collusion with the PGA Tour has refused to provide timely OWGR points. If it had, Grace would be sitting at No. 58. Add that decent ranking and top form to the fact Grace also holds the record for lowest all-time round at The Open (62, 2017).
Grace’s South African countryman, Louis Oosthuizen, returns to the place where he won his only major (the 2010 Open).
Placing two other LIV Golf stars, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, inside the top 5 may also be questionable, but we think both enter in solid form and extremely healthy, mentally and physically.
One ranking that should come as no surprise is Xander Schauffele sitting on top. The world No. 5 enters off back-to-back wins on the PGA Tour.
World No. 9 Viktor Hovland didn’t make our list, which is not a huge shocker, given he enters in poor form.
Power Rankings: Top 15
Power Rank-Player (World Rank)
15. Branden Grace (130)
14. Hideki Matsuyama (14)
13. Louis Oosthuizen (24)
12. Cam Smith (6)
11. Shane Lowry (22)
10. Jordan Spieth (12)
9. Will Zalatoris (13)
8. Matt Fitzpatrick (10)
7. Collin Morikawa (8)
6. Justin Thomas (7)
5. Brooks Koepka (20)
4. Jon Rahm (3)
3. Dustin Johnson (18)
2. Rory McIlroy (2)
1. Xander Schauffele (5)
Open Championship Odds
The favorite this week on the east coast of Scotland is world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who enters in strong form including a win at the Canadian Open and top 5 at the U.S. Open. Rory missed the 2015 edition at St Andrews but in the 2010 edition, the then 21-year-old opened with a 63 but flamed out with an 80 on day 2. He closed with rounds of 69 and 68, though, to finish T3.
World No. 3 Jon Rahm, 2017 Open Champion Jordan Spieth and red-hot Xander Schauffele were next at 16-1, with world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (18-1) rounding out the top-5 betting favorites in Scotland.
Top-10 Betting Favorites
1. Rory McIlroy (10-1)
2. Jon Rahm (16-1)
2. Jordan Spieth (16-1)
2. Xander Schauffele (16-1)
5. Scottie Scheffler (18-1)
6. Matt Fitzpatrick (20-1)
6. Will Zalatoris (20-1)
8. Cam Smith (22-1)
8. Justin Thomas (22-1)
10. Shane Lowry (25-1)
Open Championship Full Field
Joel Cook contributed to this preview.