The long awaited Open Championship gets underway this week at Royal Portrush in Antrim for the first time in sixty eight years .
Golf royalty has already descended on the course with Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed playing practice rounds yesterday. Woods who hasn’t played since Pebble Beach a month ago, looked stiff on course leading to speculation that he may be nursing an injury but he was quick to put that rumour to bed saying “”The break is always great for my golf, especially now. I said last year I wouldn’t be playing as much this year, and it’s going to turn out that way.
“I went on a two-week holiday to Thailand straight after the US Open with my mum and the kids, and I did not touch a golf club. Absolutely zero.
“Then I started to prepare for this week. Nothing has changed. The only difference is that certain days I can do more than others.”
Holywood born Rory McIlroy knew this course like the back of his hand, in fact shattering the course record with a 61, fourteen years ago as a 16 year old. However the course has been significantly changed in recent years so accuracy is the key this week and although McIlroy has had a great year so far, he hasn’t threatened for any majors since his last win in 2014.
But could playing at home give McIlroy the edge he needs to achieve a career Grand Slam? He is clearly relishing the opportunity telling the media “”I never thought I would be able to play an Open Championship at home. It’s been 68 years since Portrush hosted the Open.
“I’m treating it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m going to try to make the most of it.”
If recent form is anything to go by, Brooks Koepka is by the far the most likely winner but don’t discount on Jon Rahm, the Spaniard who won his second Irish Open at Lahinch two weeks ago.
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