The 148th Open Championship is set to get underway at Royal Portrush on Thursday. Italian Francesco Molinari won the event last year in Scotland, finishing two shots clear of a plethora of players. There are multiple high-profile favourites heading into the final major of the year, including Masters champion Tiger Woods, home favourite Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Molinari and Brooks Koepka. However, as many know, any of the players competing could end up lifting the Claret Jug, so we’ve taken a look at 25 players who could cause an upset in Northern Ireland and lift the prestigious trophy come Sunday.
The Spaniard, who recently won the Irish Open, has enjoyed a solid 2019 so far and could be a real contender to claim a first major of his career.
Another player to enjoy an impressive calendar year so far, American Schauffele could be one to watch as he also chases his first major.
Fowler is arguably one of the best players to have never won a major title. The American could well end his 10-year wait for one this weekend if he performs to his top level for 72 holes.
Fleetwood will be a fan favourite in Northern Ireland over the four days of action, and that could push him on to take the final major of the year.
Despite lacking some form, you cannot write off Spieth. The 25-year-old won the Claret Jug back in 2017 and will be looking to get back to his best to win the major for a second time.
DeChambeau is coming into the tournament in fine form and the American could make his name known around the world with a solid four days in Northen Ireland.
The former world number one has shown glimpses of getting back to his best in recent months and could be one to look out for if everything falls into place for the Aussie.
South African Oosthuizen’s only major win came at The Open back in 2010, so the 36-year-old knows what it takes to lift the Claret Jug and will be another to monotor early on.
Woodland comes into the tournament after lifting the US Open last month, and despite the course favouring his rivals, the American will certainly be one to keep a close eye on at Royal Portrush.
Another American inclusion, Cantlay tends to make most cuts in each tournament he enters and could go all the way with four impressive rounds in Northern Ireland.
Garcia, who ended his 18-year wait for a major at The Masters in 2017, has finished second at The Open twice in his career. If he can get back to his best, the Spaniard will certainly be up there.
McDowell can never be ruled out of a major on British soil. The Northern Irishman will be desperate to perform well in front of a home crowd and the fan factor could be crucial in his attempt to lift the Claret Jug for the first time.
American Finau has gone off the boil in recent months, however, he showed at The Masters back in April that he has all the qualities needed to win a major title.
Experienced Englishman Casey has made the cut at the previous two major championships and could make his way through the field if he can once again navigate the opening two rounds.
American veteran Kuchar went agonisingly close to winning The Open two years ago and could put himself in contention of winning a maiden major with three solid rounds heading into Sunday.
Poulter, known for his inspirational Ryder Cup performances, is another who has remarkably failed to win a major championship during his career. The Englishman thrives under pressure, so if he puts himself in contention, he could end a long wait for a major title.
Swede Stenson has placed in the top 10 in his last three events and has all the experience needed to challenge this week. The 43-year-old’s only major win came at The Open in 2016 and he could be up there once again come Sunday.
Australian Scott is known for his consistent performances, and even though he has just one major title to his name, the 38-year-old could add an Open triumph to his accolades with a series of impressive rounds.
Japan’s Matsuyama has burst onto the scene in recent years and could land a first major crown following some impressive form over previous months.
Simpson went close at The Masters in April and has tasted major glory previously. His return to form could make him one to watch in the final major of the year.
Irishman Lowry has enjoyed some consistent performances in recent months and will need to add an extra edge if he is to surprise the world and win a first major title.
After winning The Masters back in 2016, Willett has failed to seriously threaten at another major. However, the Englishman has shown he can perform at the top level and he will need all his Masters’ experience from three years ago if he is to lift the Claret Jug this week.
Charismatic American Reed has struggled in the three majors this year and has failed to place in The Open top 10 during his career. However, if he can get on a roll during the opening two rounds, that may take him into contention on the final day.
Mickelson can never be written off at any major championship. Despite missing four out of six cuts in recent months, the American won The Open six years ago and knows how to claim major glory.
Westwood has had plenty of near-misses at major championships during his lengthy career, so The Open could be his time to finally claim major glory.
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