It seems like just yesterday that the best golfers in the game battled for a green jacket at the Masters Tournament, the first major of the season.
However, now that we are in the middle of July, the stage is set for the Major final, the British Open in Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, which begins on Thursday.
It will be fascinating to see if Wyndham-Clarkwho was a surprise winner at the US Open in June, can back him at the British Open, and if the world number 1, scottie scheffler, whose name always seems to be in the rankings, will make enough putts to win his second major after winning the Masters last year.
Here are five other players to watch this week.
No one has been more impressive in the majors this year than koepka. He tied for second at the Masters and won the PGA Championship.
At 33 years old, Koepka, with five important titles, is still in the best moment of his career. With one more major, he would join such greats as Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson with six. Koepka said his goal was to reach double figures in the majors, and he’s not out of the question.
“I think sometimes the majors are the easiest to win,” he once said. “Half the people shoot themselves, and mentally I know I can beat most of them.”
Koepka, who signed with the Saudi-funded LIV Golf tour in 2022, is healthy again. As knee and hip injuries took their toll in recent years, his game took a hit as did his confidence.
With the arrival of each important championship, the same question arises for McIlroy, 34: Will he win his fifth title? He has been locked in four since he captured the 2014 PGA Championship.
He nearly passed at the US Open this year, but failed to birdie at No. 8, the vulnerable par-5, and bogey at No. 14, another par-5, to finish second by one stroke.
McIlroy, who birdied the last two holes to win last week’s Genesis Scottish Open, still has time. Mickelson and Ben Hogan didn’t get their first major until they were in their early 30s. On the other hand, McIlroy, ranked No. 2, can’t keep letting these opportunities slip by. There are only so many.
He has one big thing going for him this week. It was on the same course in 2014 that he captured his only British Open, beating Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler by two.
Time, however, begins to become a factor for Pink, who will turn 43 at the end of the month, in his search for a second career. The first was the 2013 US Open. Since 2000, only Tiger Woods and Mickelson have won majors after their 43rd birthday.
Rose, from England, has shown this year that he still has plenty of game to play. In February, he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am thanks to a 65 and a 66 in his last two rounds. He tied for sixth at the Players Championship, tied for ninth at the PGA Championship and placed eighth at the RBC Canadian Open.
It’s hard to believe, but a quarter of a century has passed since, as a 17-year-old amateur, Rose holed out the 72nd hole from 50 yards out to tie for fourth at the 1998 British Open. “It was something,” he said, “that was way beyond anything I could have imagined or experienced.”
The hope of defending his title is australian blacksmith, who scored 64 in the final round last year to win by one stroke over Cameron Young. McIlroy finished third, two strokes back. Smith, who made eight birdies, did not appear to miss a putt in the final round. Most memorable was the save he made at No. 17, the Road Hole, with a 10-foot shot after an exquisite third shot that sailed around the bunker.
“I knew if I could get him somewhere in there,” said Smith, ranked No. 7, “I could do pretty good.”
The 29-year-old Smith, who won a recent LIV Tour event in London, tied for 34th at the Masters but tied for ninth at the PGA and placed fourth at the US Open, finishing with a 3-under 67. Unless his putter cools down, he should be on the hunt.
still alone 26, Morikawa, a two-time Grand Slam champion, might have found something to turn his season around. Morikawa, ranked No. 19, closed with a 64 a few weeks ago at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, losing in a tiebreaker to Fowler. It was his first top-10 finish since the Masters, most surprising for a player of his skill.
His first major came at the 2020 PGA Championship. Morikawa, who shot a 64 in the final round, made a memorable eagle at No. 16 after hitting the green with his tee shot. In 2021, he won the British Open by two strokes over Jordan Spieth.
However, Morikawa hasn’t won since then and it’s taking a toll on him.
“I want to say frustrating, frustrating is a word I can use,” he said in June.
“It’s been a while, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to” win, he said. “It’s still there.”