The First Look: The Open Championship
July 11, 2021
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
Shane Lowry's par on No. 18 to win The Open
The Open Championship returns this year after being cancelled due to COVID-19 in 2020. It was the first time since World War II the major was not played.
Shane Lowry, who captured his first major championship at The Open at Royal Portrush in 2019, will return the Claret Jug after his extended title defense ends.
FIELD NOTES: The top two golfers in the FedExCup standings – Patrick Cantlay and Harris English – will both look for their first major championship wins at The Open… Shane Lowry returns to defend his 2019 Open Championship title. Lowry is looking to become the first golfer since Padraig Harrington (2007, 2008) to go back-to-back… Each of the other major winners this season except Hideki Matsuyama (Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Jon Rahm) will all look to add to their major trophy cases at Royal St. George’s… A slot remains for the John Deere Classic’s highest top-5 finisher who hasn’t yet qualified… Some of the world’s top golfers, including former PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im, have decided to pass on The Open this year citing a variety of reasons (including travel). For Im, he’s decided he wanted to keep his focus on winning an Olympic medal… All of the top 30 golfers in the world will tee it up at The Open with Im (at No. 27) being the only absence.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Royal St. George’s GC, par 70, 7,211 yards (yardage subject to change). Royal St. George’s was the first golf course in England to host The Open (1894) and this year will mark the 15th time for the storied course. The last Open Championship contested there was in 2011 (won by Darren Clarke at age 42) and prior to that it was Ben Curtis’ surprising victory in 2003. The course is known for its rumpled and undulating terrain which often produces unpredictable bounces, plus dunes and deep bunkering. It’s set over beautiful seaside land.
STORYLINES: Jon Rahm will look to become only the seventh golfer to ever win the U.S. Open and Open Championship in the same year… Louis Oosthuizen is trying to avoid becoming the first golfer since 2000 to finish runner-up in three straight majors… A major winner already, Bryson DeChambeau will debut his new caddie, Brian Zeigler, at Royal St. George’s… Can Phil Mickelson keep his major mojo going? After winning the PGA Championship earlier this year, it should be noted Mickelson finished runner-up to Darren Clarke in the 2011 Open, contested at Royal St. George’s… The Open Championship will be contested at St. Andrews in 2022, Royal Liverpool in 2023, and Royal Troon in 2024.
72-HOLE RECORD: 264, Henrik Stenson (2016 at Royal Troon).
18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Branden Grace (3rd round, 2017 at Royal Birkdale).
LAST TIME: Shane Lowry had the support of a nation as he captured his first-career major championship title. The quick-with-a-smile Irishman won the 2019 Open Championship by six shots. He shot a blistering 63 (a course record) on Saturday at Royal Portrush – the first time the magical links of Northern Ireland had hosted The Open since the 1951 – and despite a 1-over 72 it was his title for the taking. After leading by four through 54 holes, there were no challenges on Sunday to speak of from the chasers, as Tommy Fleetwood, who finished runner up, shot 3-over 74 in the final round. Tony Finau finished third while Lee Westwood and Brooks Koepka were tied for fourth. Koepka’s top-five finish put him in some serious company. He was the fifth player to finish in the top five in all four majors in a single season joining Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.
HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)
NOTE: The R&A, who owns and operates The Open, controls all digital streaming and broadcast rights to this event. For more information on how to watch this week, please visit The Open’s website. PGA TOUR LIVE coverage will resume on Thursday, July 22 at the 3M Open.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 1:30 a.m.-4 a.m. (Peacock), 4 a.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-4 p.m. (Peacock). Saturday, 5 a.m.-7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 4 a.m.-7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m.-2 p.m. (NBC)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 2 a.m.-3 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 4 a.m.-2 p.m (SiriusXM 92)