COVID-19 prevented the British Open from happening in 2020 and allowed defending champion Shane Lowry to keep the coveted Claret Jug for two years. This week, the game’s oldest major championship returns to Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.
It was only a matter of time before Jon Rahm (8/1) won his first major championship, and it came last month in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Rahm teed it up for the first time in three weeks after his maiden major win and was in contention at the Scottish Open before settling for a seventh-place finish.
Looking beyond the favorite, here are our picks for the British Open:
Brooks Koepka (18/1)
The “Bet Brooks Koepka in major championships” narrative continues because he keeps showing up in them and either winning or contending at the minimum. Koepka already has a runner-up at the PGA and a T-4 at last month’s U.S. Open. Since 2016, Koepka is 84 under par in majors, which is more than 60 strokes better than his nearest competitor, and four major championships is four times that of anyone else in the field.
Rory McIlroy (20/1)
McIlroy missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open. Eight of the last nine times he has missed a cut worldwide, he has finished in the top 20 the following start. In three of those instances, he won his next start.
McIlroy has been waiting two years for redemption at the British Open after barely missing the cut at Royal Portrush.
Jordan Spieth (22/1)
After four years without a victory, Spieth finally returned to the victory circle with a win in his home state in the Valero Texas Open, his first title since the British Open win in 2017 at Royal Birkdale.
Spieth missed the cut in his first event of 2021, but has made 13 straight since.
Tyrrell Hatton (34/1)
Hatton climbed into the top 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings with a win earlier this year in Abu Dhabi. He has a fifth-place and a sixth-place finish in his last four appearances at the British Open, and is a proven links player with two victories in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Paul Casey (47/1)
Oddly enough, the British Open probably has been Casey’s weakest major throughout his career, but he has shown to be a solid contender in multiple big events thus far this season, with a T-5 at the Players, T-4 at the PGA and T-7 at the U.S. Open.
Shane Lowry (50/1)
Lowry has had possession of the Claret Jug for two years now and the Irishman will not let it go very easily. He has not won since the 2019 British Open, but he has shown some signs in big events with a T-4 at the PGA, T-6 at the Memorial and an eighth at the Players.
Tommy Fleetwood (55/1)
Fleetwood has improved at the British Open in each appearance, capped by a runner-up two years ago at Royal Portrush. No player in the field has played more links rounds since 2015 than Fleetwood.
Marc Leishman (70/1)
Leishman has come close at the British Open a couple times, including the four-hole playoff loss in 2015 at St. Andrews to Zach Johnson. He also has a T-5 at Royal Liverpool in 2014 and a T-6 at Royal Birkdale in 2017.
Rickie Fowler (80/1)
Fowler missed the U.S. Open after failing to qualify. In his last major, however, he finished T-8 at the PGA. Fowler’s last top-10 in a major was last time out in the British Open, with a T-6 at Royal Portrush.