This year’s Open Championship will be the 149th edition of the ‘original major’ and returns to the calendar after being cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be the 15th Open Championship played at Royal St George’s, and the first since Darren Clarke won in 2011.
The defending champion is Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who won the 2019 Open Championship by six strokes from runner-up Tommy Fleetwood at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
“You know, it’s funny, because you think, not that it’s done, but like it’s so long ago now, not that I’m ready to put it behind me because it’s something I’ll always have, but I’m really happy I’ve achieved something like that,” said Lowry ahead of the 2021 Open Championship.
“I’ve obviously got the trophy. But it’s not like I sit down there every night with it on my dinner table in front of when I’m eating my dinner. It’s something that I have and I’ve put aside. But I’m obviously very focused and driven to do things and do different things in the sport, not necessarily bigger, better, because I think I’ll find that hard to achieve.”
While Lowry is relaxed about the defence of his title, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, who won the 2014 Open Championship, admits his game needs some sharpening before this year’s edition.
“I certainly don’t feel as good about where I’m at compared to where I was after the US Open,” said McIlroy, who held a share of the lead in the final round at Torrey Pines before finishing in a tie for seventh.
“I didn’t drive the ball well at all. I didn’t hit a fairway with my driver. The rest of the game actually feels OK, but when you’re not putting the ball in the fairway it’s hard to score. I need to hit the ball in play and I think it’s very much against how I play. I might just need to throw it back a bit and hit more irons off tees and get the ball in play, because that’s what’s going to help me at least avoid the big numbers.”
Other players to look out for at this year’s Open Championship include US Open champion Jon Rahm – the bookies’ favourite – Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and the in-form Lucas Herbert, who won the Irish Open earlier this month to secure a berth in the field at Royal St. George’s.
“I feel like I’ve done full swing and come back round and won the event I was at a pretty low point at,” the Australian explained “It’s pretty satisfying. It’s awesome when you get to play an Open Championship. They’re some of the best venues in the world and test you so much strategically. I’m stoked to get that start.”
Royal St. George’s is a 7,204 yard par 70 course. The purse for The Open Championship is $10.75million.
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The Open broadcast details
All times CAT
Friday 16 July
07:30: Day 2 – LIVE on SuperSport Golf
09:00: Day 2, Second Feed – LIVE on SuperSport Action
Saturday 17 July
11:00: Day 3 – LIVE on SuperSport Golf
11:00: Day 3, Second Feed – LIVE on SuperSport Action
Sunday 18 July
11:00: Day 4 – LIVE on SuperSport Golf
11:00: Day 4, Second Feed – LIVE on SuperSport Action