Sleepers to Watch at the 2018 Open Championship


McIlroy impressed as an 18-year-old at the last Open to be held at Carnoustie in 2007, winning the Silver Medal as the leading amateur.

Gary Player has a hunch it will be Rickie Fowler's week at the British Open but his "big wish" is for Tiger Woods to end a 10-year major drought by holding aloft the Claret Jug for the fourth time.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during a news conference.

Patrick Cantlay of the U.S. plays a shot during a practice round of the Open Championship.

Among those playing in the afternoon are Woods, back at the Open for the first time since 2015, and Koepka, who will try to become the first player since Woods in that momentous summer of 2000 to win golf's two oldest championships.

The player with the hottest short stick generally stands apart from the rest of the field on any given week and Woods feels his performance on the greens has improved as a result of a recent switch to a mallet putter.

"I enjoy this type of golf because it is creative", he said. But even if there were, can you imagine those guys - the fiercest competitors and most prolific winners of their respective generations - having a go at each other like that on the eve of the most important tournament of the year? "I think I saw Paddy today walking with Padraig, he's massive now".

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Marc Leishman, who has shown his links game proficiency several times at The Open, tunes his game at Carnoustie.

The one thing that comes to every golf fan's mind when they think of Carnoustie is back in 1999 when we all painfully watched Jean Van de Velde's epic meltdown on the final hole. "I'm trying", he says.

But over time, he thinks it might be his best chance because of history.

"The guys who have done well have been wonderful feel players and also wonderful lag putters", he said, citing Tom Watson, who almost won the Open at age 59 in 2009, and Greg Norman, who contended at Birkdale the year before at 53.

We've got an abundance of storylines heading into The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland.

"But you're just wanting to get it low and get it running". They just don't know how far it goes on the ground. A lot of these regulars on the European tour have got more experience on the Scottish links which will be a point of emphasis this week.

That said, distance is everything at Carnoustie this year, which Woods discovered when he arrived Sunday.

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Already, there are numerous stories about how far the ball is rolling down fairways. "I feel good about the game", he said as he targets the $1.89 million first prize.

"I was on a nice run there from 2011 to 2014, " he said. "I like all of them".

"Obviously that brings its own risks but at the same time if you're hitting the ball well, you can get it down there and get a wedge in your hand".

Woods had a 2-iron built for him specifically for the British Open, and he wonders how much he'll even use it.

His club off the tee was an eight-iron. Instead, most of his shots are with a 3-iron or 4-iron.

"I was just carrying little scoreboards around".

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