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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Who Knows?

The biggest week in golf is underway. The men haven't teed it up yet, but the excitement is palpable at the Open. It's strange how just a year ago we thought we had a Big Three, or maybe four, in men's golf, with Spieth, McIlroy and Day looking like they were ready to separate themselves from the rest of the field. Then we had DJ, until he literally took his tumble at the Masters, looking about as bullet-proof as they come. Then Matsuyama looked like he was going to be the first Japanese player to get to number one. 

But the golf scene has seemingly changed. Suddenly, we have a Spanish resurgence, with a Masters champion named Sergio, another Spaniard as the Irish Open champion in Jon Rahm, and another Spaniard as the Scottish Open champion in Cabrera Bello. You surely wouldn't put it past any of those guys to win again this week. 

The golf scene has definitely changed. It's about as wide open an Open as we've seen in years. McIlroy has been missing cuts and dealing with injury. Day seems to be day to day, and DJ has been quiet. But Spieth looks really good and should definitely challenge this week. He really needs to win another Major and take another step towards the career slam. Fowler is in pretty good form, despite a disappointing weekend at the Scottish Open. But you have to wonder whether we might be entering a time when there is such parity in the game that we will no longer have strong favourites to win the big ones. 

There are simply too many guys, especially Europeans, that now believe they can win these big events. They've seen Danny Willett win at Augusta, followed by Sergio, and they know that it can happen for them. So, while I like Spieth if I had to pick a winner, I wouldn't be surprised to see another first-time Major winner this week. In fact, I have a sneaking feeling that we could see a Brit win this year. Perhaps Justin Rose can find some magic again at Royal Birkdale. Or maybe it's time for Andy Sullivan to break through. Or perhaps Ian Poulter will decide to play like he's done in the Ryder Cup and wins one for all of the guys who came out of a pro shop with big dreams. Who knows? Well, I guess no one does, other than perhaps the golfing gods. After all, no one wins the Open without a bit of luck.

However, after watching the replay of the 1976 Open at Birkdale, with Seve and Johnny Miller, wouldn't it be something to see Rahm and Spieth battle it out? All I know is I can hardly wait for the competition to begin.