The 2016 British Open at Royal Troon

Jul 13, 2016 by Scott Ross

Zach Johnson will be back at the Open to defend his title, a year after winning a 3-way, 4-hole playoff to win the famed Claret Jug with a 15-under 273. This will be the ninth Open set at Royal Troon, the legendary course set on Scotland’s west coast, whose mix of winds, rugged terrain and golf-ball swallowing flora have vexed aspiring champions for decades.

Royal Troon, which is hosting its first Open since 2004, has undergone mostly minor changes, though there was an effort to return 9, 10 and 15 to their original configurations. The course this year plays at 7190 yards and is a par 71.

Let’s break down the top five contenders according GolfOdds:

#5. Adam Scott (20-1)
Ranked 8th in the world, Australian Adam Scott has two wins on the tour this season, taking back-to-back titles at the Honda Classic and the World Golf Championships in February and March. At the US Open last month he finished in a tie for 18th with a 6-over 286 after falling apart on the last 11 holes, scoring 3 bogeys and a double bogey. According to the PGA’s stats, he’s the best in the game at getting from tee to green, but his putting leaves something to be desired, as he’s ranked 121st. In his last four appearances at Troon, he’s finished 2nd, T3rd, T5th and 10th – he needs to turn that trendline around. Scott is in one of Tuesday’s tougher groups, alongside Zach Johnson and Henrik Swenson.

#T-3. Jordan Spieth (10-1) & Rory McIlroy (10-1)
Jordan Spieth fared even worse at the US Open, carding a 289 to finish tied for 37th, thanks to a Fourth Round 75. He did much better at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, finishing 3rd with a 3-under 277. Spieth came in 4th, tied with Jason Day, at last year’s Open, finishing just one stroke out of the playoff. It was his first top-10 finish in three appearances at Troon. He currently leads the tour in birdie average, with every 4.56 holes.

Rory McIlroy didn’t even make the cut at the US Open this year, as he was unable to recover from an opening round 77, finishing at 148 over two rounds. But even that showing at Oakmont couldn’t knock him lower than #4 in the world, though he has yet to win on the tour this season. McIlroy won the Claret Jug in 2014, but missed the chance to repeat when he was sidelined with an ankle injury incurred while playing soccer with friends. During a practice round at Troon on Tuesday, he found himself in the notorious “Postage Stamp” bunker, and needed 6 shots to escape – oof.

#2. Dustin Johnson (9-1)
Dustin Johnson overcame some curious rules enforcement to win the US Open last month with a 4-under 276, besting Jim Furyk by 3 strokes. Johnson followed that up with a win at the World Golf Championships, shooting a 4-under 66 on the final day to catch Scott Piercy from behind for a 1-stroke victory. This will be Johnson’s eighth Open, his best showing coming in 2011, when he finished tied with Phil Mickelson for 2nd, 3 strokes behind Behind winner Darren Clarke.

#1. Jason Day (8-1)
Ranked #1 in the world, Jason Day has won three times on the Tour this season, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, and The Players Championship. At the US Open last month, he finished tied for 8th, 6 strokes off the lead. At last year’s British Open, Day went into the final round in a 3-way tied for first, but he could only muster a 2-under on the day to finish a stroke out of the playoff, tied for 4th with Spieth at 14-under. Day is in what is probably the most competitive grouping on Day 1, as he tees off with Ricky Fowler and Danny Willett, all three of them ranked in the top 9.

Here’s the complete list of Thursday’s tee times:
1:35am (ENG) Luke Donald (AUS) Marc Leishman (SCO) Colin Montgomerie
1:46am (NZL) Steve Alker (AUS) Marcus Fraser (KOR) Sang-hee Lee
1:57am (USA) Ryan Palmer (ESP) Jon Rahm (KOR) Jeung-hun Wang
2:08am (USA) David Duval (ENG) Scott Gregory (SCO) Sandy Lyle
2:19am (USA) Harris English (NZL) Danny Lee (SCO) Richie Ramsay
2:30am (AUS) Steven Bowditch (USA) Kevin Chappell (SWE) Alex Noren
2:41am (NIR) Darren Clarke (USA) Jim Furyk (DEN) Thorbjorn Olesen
2:52am (THA) Kiradech Aphibarnrat (SWE) David Lingmerth (USA) Justin Thomas
3:03am (KOR) Byeong-Hun An (RSA) Branden Grace (USA) Patrick Reed
3:14am (THA) Thongchai Jaidee (SCO) Paul Lawrie (USA) Brandt Snedeker
3:25am (WAL) Jamie Donaldson (IRL) Padraig Harrington (RSA) Louis Oosthuizen
3:36am (IRL) Paul Dunne (USA) Jamie Lovemark (USA) Scott Piercy
3:47am (FRA) Victor Dubuisson (AUS) Scott Hend (USA) Jimmy Walker
4:03am (IRL) Shane Lowry (ENG) Justin Rose (USA) Jordan Spieth
4:14am (ENG) Ross Fisher (FIJ) Vijay Singh (USA) Steve Stricker
4:25am (AUS) Jason Day (USA) Rickie Fowler (ENG) Danny Willett
4:36am (JPN) Hideki Matsuyama (NIR) Rory McIlroy (USA) Bubba Watson
4:47am (KOR) Soomin Lee (ENG) James Morrison (USA) Gary Woodland
4:58am (RSA) George Coetzee (USA) Smylie Kaufman (USA) Chris Kirk
5:09am (ENG) Matthew Fitzpatrick (USA) Billy Horschel (JPN) Hideto Tanihara
5:20am (USA) Russell Henley (JPN) Shugo Imahira (ITA) Matteo Manassero
5:31am (JPN) Kodai Ichihara (USA) William McGirt (ENG) Robert Rock
5:42am (AUS) Matt Jones (USA) Brendan Steele (RSA) Richard Sterne
5:53am (BEL) Nicolas Colsaerts (USA) Patton Kizzire (AUS) Rod Pampling
6:04am (ENG) David Coupland (AUS) Nathan Holman (THA) Phachara Khongwatmai
6:15am (ESP) Scott Fernandez (SWE) Rikard Karlberg (RSA) Haydn Porteous
6:36am (SWE) Kristoffer Broberg (AUS) Greg Chalmers (FRA) Clement Sordet
6:47am (USA) Tony Finau (ENG) David Howell (KOR) Seung-yul Noh
6:58am (AUS) Nick Cullen (USA) Jordan Niebrugge (USA) Robert Streb
7:09am (USA) Ben Curtis (USA) John Daly (ITA) Stefano Mazzoli
7:20am (KOR) K.T. Kim (USA) Kevin Kisner (ITA) Francesco Molinari
7:31am (USA) Mark Calcavecchia (USA) Todd Hamilton (USA) Justin Leonard
7:42am (USA) Bill Haas (DEN) Lasse Jensen (DEN) Soren Kjeldsen
7:53am (ENG) Paul Casey (USA) Kevin Na (RSA) Charl Schwartzel
8:04am (ARG) Emiliano Grillo (USA) Charley Hoffman (NED) Joost Luiten
8:15am (ENG) Andrew Johnston (USA) Matt Kuchar (NIR) Graeme McDowell
8:26am (RSA) Ernie Els (USA) Phil Mickelson (ENG) Lee Westwood
8:37am (USA) James Hahn (JPN) Satoshi Kodaira (ENG) Andy Sullivan
8:48am (ENG) Tommy Fleetwood (USA) Ryan Moore (AUT) Bernd Wiesberger
9:04am (USA) Dustin Johnson (GER) Martin Kaymer (SCO) Russell Knox
9:15am (USA) Zach Johnson (USA) Adam Scott (SWE) Henrik Stenson
9:26am (JPN) Yusaku Miyazato (USA) Mark O'Meara (ENG) Chris Wood
9:37am (USA) Jason Dufner (ESP) Miguel Angel Jimenez (SCO) Marc Warren
9:48am (USA) Keegan Bradley (ESP) Sergio Garcia (IND) Anirban Lahiri
9:59am (JPN) Yuta Ikeda (BEL) Thomas Pieters (USA) Webb Simpson
10:10am (ESP) Rafa Cabrera Bello (USA) J.B. Holmes (RSA) Brandon Stone
10:21am (USA) Marco Dawson (ENG) Matthew Southgate (JPN) Yosuke Tsukada
10:32am (USA) Brian Gay (ENG) James Heath (ENG) Jack Senior
10:43am (ARG) Fabian Gomez (USA) Jim Herman (ENG) Anthony Wall
10:54am (ENG) Paul Howard (USA) Colt Knost (USA) Daniel Summerhays
11:05am (SWE) Oskar Arvidsson (ENG) Tyrrell Hatton (USA) Harold Varner III
11:16am (ENG) Ryan Evans (RSA) Zander Lombard (ENG) Callum Shinkwin

Watch the 2016 British Open on Thursday starting at 1:30am ET on The Golf Channel.

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