Can a British Player Win the Open Championship in July?

| July 7, 2021

Of all golf’s majors, arguably it’s the Open Championship where British players have the best chance of getting their hands on some big-time silverware.

It’s the only major that takes place on UK or Irish soil, for starters, and it’s the unique conditions at some of Britain’s coastal courses that also play into the hands of the home hopefuls.

This is links golf, an ancient term that basically refers to the rugged, undulating landscape on which the courses are built.

Links golf courses also have a number of other common features, too, including deep ‘pot’ bunkers that can be difficult to play an advantageous shot from, the wild native grasses that form the rough – this can be tangly and a nightmare to play from – plus the super-hard ground caused by being whipped dry by the bracing coastal winds.

All of this requires the players to dig into their box of tricks and play softly-softly approach shots from a high trajectory, bump-and-runs onto the greens and maximise different degrees of spin in order to manage these slick greens.

In short, the conditions can be alien to overseas players – but not necessarily for British players who grew up on the links.

The 2021 edition of The Open will be no different, with Royal St George’s in Kent playing host to the proceedings. This is a golf course very much in the tradition of classic Open layouts, and it will provide a stern test of skill, patience and imagination around the greens.

Only three Americans have won this event in the past decade, and yet it’s those from across the pond who dominate the Open Championship 2021 outright betting odds. Indeed, Rory McIlroy is the only golfer from the UK and Ireland that features prominently in the market.

So is there an opportunity for an outsider to take care of business on their own patch and clinch a life-changing victory?

On Home Soil

At his very best, there are few on the planet that can match the ball-striking abilities of McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman is a former Open champion that also has a quartet of other top-five finishes to his name on links courses, and what’s more, he’s in fine form too. He won the Wells Fargo Championship a matter of weeks ago, and in his last major start banked a top-ten at the U.S. Open. McIlroy, you sense, is primed to go close again.

Another with pedigree on this type of course is Tyrrell Hatton. He’s a two-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and has won a significant European Tour event in nearby Surrey. Having opened his win account on the PGA TOUR in 2020, Hatton is a different animal these days and has the ability to close out a major victory.

There are many who believe that Matt Fitzpatrick’s exceptional short game will aid his quest for an Open Championship win. The Brit was a serial winner on the European Tour circuit before heading across the pond, and a glut of top-ten finishes this year reveal a player at the height of his form.

The English trio of Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wallace also enter the conversation when considering potential Open champions, as does Scottish golf’s latest talent Robert MacIntyre.

So, as you can see, there are ample opportunities for a British or Irish player to make themselves a hero in front of the support at Royal St George’s this July.

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