British Open field is wide open - Spieth

Pauline Gross
July 19, 2017

"You never know, it might be the only time we're defending champion at the Open Championship so I might as well enjoy it", Stenson said.

"But we have something that we're also extremely excited about this week, and we want to be here giving everything we have and hopefully with a chance on Sunday, it would be great. That's really where that extra spark can come from, I think".

Other top dogs expected to steal the thunder include Sergio Garcia from Spain, Jordan Spieth from the US, Lee Westwood from England and Jason Day from Australia.

But he no longer considers that he was playing against "more than the field", his infamous phrase from Carnoustie when he complained about bad breaks that always seemed to fall his way.

And he is hell-bent on setting a new par margin record when he tees it up against some of the world's finest in the year's penultimate big one.

Rose - who warmed up for Birkdale by attending Roger Federer's victory over Marin Cilic in the Wimbledon final on Sunday - has had mixed results since winning Olympic gold in Rio a year ago.

Dustin Johnson: I have a feeling D.J.is going to get himself seriously involved this week.

Spieth said: "I wouldn't pin your hopes on doing what Tiger's done".

This year will mark the 10th time that Royal Birkdale has hosted the championship, the most recent was in 2008.

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"I haven't been making as many putts as I did that year this year", he said. There's so many good young players.

What happened to Palmer at the 1961 Open at Birkdale was he played fearlessly in wind so strong, wooden Coke boxes blew around. I didn't remember that being in play.

The Open is the third of four majors on the men's calendar.

Stenson cut a downbeat figure in spte of firing a final round of 68 in the Scottish Open on Sunday, the 41-year-old carding six birdies in the space of nine holes at Dundonald Links before dropping shots on the 15th and 18th.

World No2 Hideki Matsuyama of Japan is in a group with US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Southport native Tommy Fleetwood, ranked 14th in the world and one of the form players on the tour.

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"If you look at his putting technique you can see some flaws there, he doesn't develop the confidence because he doesn't have the consistently high level of putting week in, week out". The way my mind kind of works, it benefits me.

"What I'm saying is, I doubt you'll see a dominance like that maybe ever again in the game". Hadwin hasn't played since missing the cut a few weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National. Getting off to a good start is a MUST for his temper.

"Whether it's going to be good enough this week or not, I can't tell you, but I couldn't tell you how I was going to win before the week previous year either".

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