THE 2011 British Open gets underway later today (Thursday) and is shaping as an engrossing event.
After his standout performance at the US Open a few weeks back Rory McIlroy is the obvious favourite but Australia’s Jason Day is not far behind.
Day has been runner-up at his last two majors in the US and has been exuding confidence this week during practice rounds at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England.
”It’s a very thin line from winning a tournament and missing the cut,” the very down-to-earth 23 year old said this week. ”Especially over here playing links golf. I’m not that experienced playing links golf but you obviously need a few lucky bounces here and there, especially on this course. Just try and get yourself somewhere around the lead come Sunday and see what happens.”
”Since this is the oldest tournament around it’s obviously an honour to play in the event because not many guys get to come over and play in the British Open. I’m just looking forward to how tough the test is going to be.”
Day is one of 12 Aussies who will battle for the title with others with strong prospects including Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley.
The other Australians in the field are Kurt Barnes, Richard Green, Nathan Green, Rick Kulacz, Matthew Millar, Brad Kennedy and amateur Bryden Macpherson.
Northern Irleand’s McIlroy will be trying to emulate Tiger Woods by winning the British Open four weeks after winning the US.
Woods, who is out of the Open due to injury, achieved that feat in 2000.
“It’s nice to get that first one (Major) out of the way and focus on getting more,” McIlroy said this week. “It has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Other favourites have to be the world’s current numbers one, two and three – Englishmen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood and Germany’s Martin Kaymer.
Then there’s all those pesky South Africans who never seem to know enough is enough. That includes the defending champion Louis Louis Oosthuizen and the man who spoiled Australia’s party at the US Masters, Charl Schwartzel.
The Americans don’t seem to be too good at winning even on home soil lately and their top ranked contender is Phil Mickelson, who would have to suddenly find a hereto unknown affinity with links courses to do any good on the likely windswept St George’s layout.
More likely would be someone like Steve Stricker, winner last week at the John Deere Classic on the US PGA Tour.
2011 British Open Bookie Odds
TAB Sportsbet were quoting McIlroy at $7, Westood at $12, Donald at $13, Day at $17, Kaymer at $26, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell at $29, and Matt Kuchar, Scott and Stricker at $34.
Live television coverage begins on Fox Sports at 6pm.2011 British Open Live Leaderboard