World’s best gather at St Andrews for 150th Open
2022 marks the 150th running of the Open Championship, and the 29th time the tournament has returned to the home of golf at St Andrews.
This is the fourth and last major of the year and in the six years since the Open was played at St Andrews the layout has only been extended 80 metres.
The 150th Open Championship will be played at the Home Of Golf – St Andrews (Credit: R&A)
The 150th Open Championship will be a spectacle and cause for celebration in Scotland. The field this year consists of 156 players, who qualified through different rounds or are exempt based on past performances and previous efforts at the championship. The status of LIV Tour players remains an unknown in future Major championships, however, this week they will all be in the field.
In an interesting statistic, every winner of the last nine Open Championships were inside the top-40 in the world rankings and eight of the last nine winners of the Open had a top-10 at a previous Open before winning.
Despite Xander Schauffele’s recent heroics, Rory McIlroy is the running favourite to win this week but he’ll be pushed by Masters champion Scottie Scheffler as well as Jon Rahm. PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is sure to feature as is US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick.
Australian and world number six Cameron Smith will be looking at collecting his first major following five previous top-10 finishes, however, his best finish at the Open is a tie for 20th in 2019. Smith is the highest ranked player in the world without a major championship and the Old Course at St. Andrews should be a perfect course for Smith to become the third Australian to win at this historic venue.
Smith was solid at the Scottish Open, but a poor second round of 75 kept him from ever getting in contention. Smith’s scrambling is his biggest asset and around St Andrews such a skill will be invaluable. The 28-year-old won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January and the Players Championship in March. He also tied for third at the Masters. Wind will also be a factor at this year’s Open Championship and Smith is an excellent under those conditions.
American Jordan Spieth is also sure to feature.
Spieth has demonstrated a knack for playing well at the Open Championship and brings an impressive resume of past finishes in the championship. In his last four starts at the Open, Spieth has finished second, 20th and ninth after winning in 2017. The last time the Open Championship was played at the Old Course, in 2015, Spieth finished in a tie for fourth, one shot outside the playoff.
Only 13 players have managed to make the cut in all three Majors thus far in 2022, including Will Zalatoris who also collected two runner-up finishes at the PGA Championship and the US Open. Whilst Zalatoris is yet to win on the PGA Tour, all eyes will be on the American this week to see if he can collect his first major.
The R&A have also announced an increase in prize money, up 22% from 2021 to US$14 million compared to US$11.5 million. The winner will earn a record US$$2.5 million for his victory.
And how could we forget Tiger Woods. The 15-time major winner will be lining up in a major for the first time since withdrawing from the PGA Championship in May. Woods warmed up with 36 holes at last week’s JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland and while his swing was a little rusty it was his legs that looked a cause for concern.
Woods moved gingerly at times and despite wanting to play in the 150th Open Championship at a course where he has claimed two of his majors, it would not surprise to see him withdrawing again across the weekend.
Let’s hope that’s not the case.