The Open, the challenge between big names

The best players in the world, from Scottie Scheffler to Rory McIlroy, from Jon Rahm to Cameron Smith, will compete in England from 20 to 23 July in the 151st edition of The Open

by Andrea Gussoni
The Open, the challenge between big names

The best players in the world, from Scottie Scheffler to Rory McIlroy, from Jon Rahm to Cameron Smith, will compete in England from 20 to 23 July in the 151st edition of The Open, the oldest Major (the first edition was played in 1860) of golf.

For the 13th time in its history, the tournament - which will award £16,500,000, up £2,500,000 from 2022, of which £3,000,000 will go to the winner - will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, there where McIlroy triumphed in 2014.

And the Northern Irishman himself, the last to have won this Grand Slam here, fresh from his exploits in the Scottish Open, will be among the favorites of a competition which, due to its history and tradition, is truly unique.

"I arrive here with confidence and, like every week, I will play to win", McIlroy charged, however he preferred not to participate in the scheduled press conference. In a field made up of 156 players, there will be 41 rookies, 15 past winners and 6 the amateurs (who will compete for the Silver Medal won last year by the blue Filippo Celli, absent this time and now a professional), including the German Tiger Christensen who will be the only Tiger in the race.

In fact, there will be no Woods. The Californian champion, who was largely absent because he was not yet in the best physical condition, won The Open at Royal Liverpool in 2006 for the third time in his career. Defending the title and looking for an encore of consecutive successes (the last one to succeed was Padraig Harrington, in 2007-2008) will be the Australian Smith, among the 12 big names of the Arab Super League in the race.

"It would obviously be great to repeat myself and emulate Tiger", Smith's ambition.

The Open, schedule

There is also expectation for the Azzurri. With Francesco Molinari, the only Italian to have made this event his own (in 2018), here is also Guido Migliozzi.

The first, from Turin, is preparing to play The Open for the 15th time (in addition to the success of five years ago, he boasts a 9th and 11th place respectively in 2013 and 2019). While the Vicenza player will drop the trio of appearances in the event.

Important opportunity for the two Italians who dream of a place on the team in the Europe team at the Ryder Cup in Rome and are hoping for one of the six wild cards available to the captain, the English Luke Donald who, unlike his American counterpart Zach Johnson (champion in 2015), will not participate in The Open this year.

Up for grabs is not only the highest prize money in the history of the tournament but also the Claret Jug which, together with the Green Jacket of the Masters is the most coveted award in golf. The first to have raised the silver jug to the sky, made in 1872, was the Scotsman Tom Kidd in 1873.

In the past, in addition to McIlroy and Woods, the amateurs Harold Hilton (1897) and Bobby Jones have imposed themselves on this field (1930), but also Sandy Herd (1902), Arnaud Massy (1907), JH Taylor (1913), Walter Hagen (1924), lf Padgham (1936), Fred Daly (1947), Peter Thomson (1956) and Roberto De Vicenzo (1967).

The record of affirmations in The Open instead belongs to Harry Vardon, capable of imposing himself six times between 1896 and 1914. At the beginning the Scots dominated the contest, always scoring in the first 29 editions.

But in the more modern era, since 1999, there have been 11 victories for the USA, against 3 for South Africa and Ireland and two for Northern Ireland, without forgetting Sweden, Italy (precisely with Chicco Molinari) and the Australia, stop at one.

Always among the best 12 players on the PGA Tour in the last 18 games played, Scheffler with McIlroy, Rahm (who aims to become the first Spaniard since 1988, Severiano Ballesteros, to win The Open) and Smith are among the favorites on the eve.

From Patrick Cantlay to Viktor Hovland, from Xander Schauffele to Max Homa, via Matt Fitzpatrick (his brother Alex is also in the field) and Wyndham Clark. Many and many more the most awaited protagonists of The Open, the last men's Major of 2023 which will reserve an exemption for the winner to play this event up to the age of 60.

A key appointment that represents an important watershed (many points up for grabs) towards the Ryder Cup in Rome. And The Open will boast an audience at Ryder's. Over 260,000 spectators are expected throughout the week of the event at Royal Liverpool.

Scottie Scheffler Rory Mcilroy Cameron Smith