With 36 holes to go in the 2018 Open at Carnoustie, it is anybody’s tournament to win.
It will now likely come down to the elements if, as expected, the wind comes into play. Rain certainly made things interesting in the second round.
What’s great is the quality of big-name players still in contention – Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS), Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X), Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x), Rickie Fowler (Titleist Pro V1), Brooks Koepka (Titleist Pro V1x), Jason Day (TaylorMade TP5x), Justin Rose (TaylorMade TP5x), Henrik Stenson (Titleist Pro V1) and Zach Johnson (Titleist Pro V1x).
The winners of the last five tournaments are still in it: Spieth, Stenson, Johnson, McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.
This is what you want: most of the best players still in contention.
If the golfing gods have any heart, Matt Kuchar (Bridgestone Tour B XS) will win after his heartbreaking final round last year when Spieth made one of the most remarkable shots in modern history and finished with a flurry. Kuchar is one of those players that fans embrace because of his demeanor and of, course, his last name. Kuchar has done so much in his career, except win a Major. That won’t define his career in any way, but it sure would be nice for a player who deserves it to win a Major.
The one player who will surely draw a lot of attention will be England’s Tommy Fleetwood (Titleist Pro V1x). He had an amazing second round and will begin Saturday just one shot behind Kevin Kisner (Titleist Pro V1) and Johnson. Fleetwood seems to be on the edge of a major breakthrough in his career, although he’s still relatively young. Whether he wins the Open, you can presume that at some point he will win a Major. He just seems to have all the skill sets.
Another player who will garner attention is McIlroy. He flirted with winning the Masters, until a final round ended his chances. He is playing this tournament with poise and confidence. When he won the tournament in 2014, his father revealed afterwards that he had made a sizable amount of money betting on him winning the Open before he turned 26. He was 25 when he won it. You can never count Rory out.
Tony Finau (Titleist Pro V1) is another player who might put it all together and win his first Major.
And what about Woods, who is looking to win his fourth Open? He’s going to have to pick up his play and make up some ground. Tiger will certainly have the support of the crowd watching in person and the TV audience.
There are just so many variables that make it difficult to pick any one player because so much can happen, including hole placements. It likely won’t be as nuts as the U.S. Open.