Open Championships always provide golf fans with plenty of names you'll know at the top of the leaderboard -- and many you won't. The unique nature of the R&A's choice to not only make the event Britain's Open tournament -- but the rest of the world's too -- means even those that obsessively follow the PGA Tour will find more than a name or two they don't recognize.
That's why we're here to help.
From former champions that have all but quit the game to the game's Big Two or Big Three or Big Four or Big Six or Big Twenty-Seven -- here's all 156 players in the Open field at Royal Troon, ranked.
Technically still playing golf! Technically!
156. Todd Hamilton, 155. Sandy Lyle, 154. Ben Curtis, 153. Marco Dawson, 152. Mark O'Meara, 151. Mark Calcavecchia, 150. John Daly, 149. David Duval.
Here's a prediction I'm 99 percent sure will come true: the winner of this golf tournament won't come from the above group. But Tom Watson's nearly storybook performance at Turnberry back in 2009 opened the door back up for old dudes. Don't be shocked if one of these guys make some noise and turn back the clock this weekend a bit. Golf Channel/NBC's own David Duval did it last year at St. Andrews with a third-round 67 that put him within shouting distance of the lead with 18 holes to play.
Just happy to be here, man.
148. Oskar Arvidsson, 147. Steven Bowditch, 146. David Coupland, 145. Paul Howard, 144. Clement Sordet, 143. James Heath, 142. Jack Senior, 141. Ryan Evans, 140. Phachara Khongwatmai, 139. Rod Pampling, 138. Kodai Ichihara, 137. Shugo Imahira, 136. Sanghee Lee, 135. Lasse Jensen, 134. Scott Fernandez, 133. Callum Shinkwin, 132. Steven Alker, 131. Yosuke Tsukada, 130. Haydn Porteous, 129. Zander Lombard
I write about golf in the United States. I don't feel bad for knowing, mostly, not a dang thing about these dudes listed here. Most are in the field by way of either direct Open qualifiers or tournaments that are part of the Open Qualifying Series in Japan, Thailand, South Africa or Australia. None of these guys are inside the OWGR Top 200. There's also Steven Bowditch, here, who, well, uh -- shoots 80 a lot now and then roasts dudes who try to talk smack on twitter afterward. He won't win either.
128. Scott Gregory, 127. Stefano Mazzoli
Paul Dunne and Jordan Niebrugge did alright last year! Small group this time around due to other phenoms turning pro (Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau) -- but neither Dunne and Niebrugge were known as sure-bet stars coming into last year.
Longshots that might be worth a $1 bet
126. Nick Cullen, 125. Anthony Wall, 124. Jim Herman, 123. Kristoffer Broberg, 122. Satoshi Kodaira, 121. Matthew Southgate, 120. Robert Rock, 119. Yuta Ikeda, 118. Greg Chalmers, 117. Matt Jones, 116. Soomin Lee, 115. Marcus Fraser, 114. James Hahn, 113. George Coetzee, 112. Brian Gay, 111. David Howell, 110. Nathan Holman, 109. Yusaku Miyazato, 108. Daniel Summerhays, 107. James Morrison, 106. Marc Warren, 105. Rikard Karlberg, 104. Richie Ramsay, 103. Colt Knost, 102. Robert Streb, 101. Hideto Tanihara, 100. Patton Kizzire, 99. Seung-Yul Noh, 98. Anirban Lahiri, 97. Brendan Steele, 96. Fabian Gomez
If you're someone who watches the Tour every week, these are names you know -- or at least most of them. The chances are better than not that at least one out of this bunch will find themselves on or near the leaderboard come Sunday, but there's probably a better chance for each individual one to miss the cut. Need a pick out of this lot? Ride with Richie Ramsey -- the Scot's coming off a top-four finish at the Scottish Open and he'll be playing a de facto home game with the crowd at Troon.
Former champions that still have enough game to get weird
95. Darren Clarke, 94. Paul Lawrie, 93. Justin Leonard
It might be a stretch to have these three ahead of the last group of competitors, but the Old Dudes Rule at the Open dictates that someone will be hanging around come Sunday morning. These three have the best chance of the lot to do it among the former, turn-back-the-clock type champions. Yes, we know, Darren Clarke won his Claret Jug five years ago. He also hasn't won a golf tournament since and is 47. Clarke and Lawrie are a bit out of form, but traditionally fare well at the Open. Leonard, on the other hand, is doing something most of the other older champions can't claim -- consistency on the PGA Tour. The 1997 Champion at Troon's made the cut in his last five starts on tour, dating back to February. Considering his past track record at the venue and his decent form, don't be shocked to see Justin Leonard crack the Top 15.
Other old dudes that you feel strongly about one way or the other
92. Miguel Angel Jimenez, 91. Colin Montgomerie, 90. Vijay Singh
This will, in all likelihood, be Monty's last ride at The Open. He played his way into the field the old fashioned way -- through qualifying -- to end his major championship career. Unless he's able to turn in a heroic performance at the course where his father worked for so long, this is likely the end. But the Fijian and the Mechanic are still turning in nice performances north of 50 on major tours -- and seeing them as part of weekend TV coverage wouldn't be a shocker.
Probably not, but crazier things have happened
89. Scott Hend, 88. Tommy Fleetwood, 87. Ross Fisher, 86. Russell Henley, 85. Ryan Palmer, 84. Jeunghun Wang, 83. Keegan Bradley, 82. Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 81. Victor Dubuisson, 80. Kevin Kisner, 79. Tony Finau, 78. Jamie Donaldson, 77. Kyung-Tae Kim, 76. Richard Sterne, 75. Jamie Lovemark
Here's where the fun part starts. There are guys on this list with major championships to their name and others with little major championship experience at all but big talents, like Jamie Lovemark and Tony Finau. The common denominator? Most on this list probably have enough game to win a major championship on a given weekend. For some, it'd be a reach -- but they're in form. Others are out-of-form, possible (or already) stars like Aphibarnrat and Bradley.
Hey, it's these guys from last year!
74. Paul Dunne, 73. Jordan Niebrugge
Hey, remember when a couple amateurs from UAB and Oklahoma State messed around last year at the home of golf and nearly won a dang major championship? Well, they're back -- this time as professionals. Should they be ranked ahead of Jamie Donaldson or Tony Finau or Kevin Kisner in a ranking of this field? Hell no! But we've gotta break up these groups and make these readings digestible somehow! Maybe they make noise again.
Play the weekend -- but before you're awake
72. Thomas Pieters, 71. Harris English, 70. Chris Kirk, 69. Smylie Kaufman, 68. Ryan Moore, 67. Brandon Stone, 66. Charley Hoffman, 65. Kevin Na, 64. Bill Haas, 63. Tyrrell Hatton, 62. Matteo Manassero, 61. Joost Luiten, 60. William McGirt, 59. Padraig Harrington, 58. Soren Kjeldsen, 57. Billy Horschel, 56. Thorbjorn Olesen, 55. Gary Woodland, 54. Jimmy Walker, 53. Byeong Hun An, 52. Steve Stricker, 51. Jason Dufner, 50. Luke Donald
Hey, see anyone on this list you like? Cool, good, take 'em. This is a list of 22 guys who should make the cut either given form (Will McGirt, Byeong Hun An) or being the former best player in the world at one time getting a boost because it's an Open (Luke Donald). Take anyone here and it'd be a fine darkhorse pick to win. There's no one on this list that jumps out and screams I AM GOING TO WIN THE OPEN but, well, neither did Zach Johnson last year.
49. Harold Varner III, 48. Emiliano Grillo
To explain this, I'm gonna need to take you through my logic in how I come to picking who's going to fare well during a given golf tournament. First, I take a close look at current form, take notes on course suitability for each player, then lightly douse those notes in grain alcohol. Light the notes on fire. Drink the rest of the grain alcohol. HV3. Grillo. Pick them. If it works, you look like a genius. If not, well, I don't know, you won't? Please don't take financial advice from me.
The Weekend Coverage crew
47. Bernd Wiesberger, 46. Chris Wood, 45. David Lingmerth, 44. Beef Johnston, 43. Nicolas Colsaerts, 42. Webb Simpson, 41. Francesco Molinari, 40. Kevin Chappell, 39. Rafa Cabrera-Bello, 38. JB Holmes, 37. Brandt Snedeker, 36. Ernie Els, 35. Scott Piercy, 34. Alex Noren, 33. Graeme McDowell, 32. Marc Leishman, 31. Thongchai Jaidee, 30. Justin Thomas, 29. Andy Sullivan
We've reached the point where if any of the guys above miss the cut, the week will have been a major disappointment. Each in this group should have eyes on at least a Top-15 finish. Justin Thomas, as always, will be worth watching for American fans -- but keep an eye on the Swedes here. David Lingmerth (T-7 at Firestone) and Alex Noren (won Scottish Open) had some nice finishes leading up to this week.
Big stars, but not favorites
28. Jon Rahm, 27. Charl Schwartzel, 26. Patrick Reed, 25. Martin Kaymer, 24. Matt Kuchar, 23. Jim Furyk, 22. Paul Casey, 21. Branden Grace, 20. Hideki Matsuyama, 19. Bubba Watson, 18. Russell Knox, 17. Matt Fitzpatrick, 16. Rickie Fowler, 15. Phil Mickelson
This is a list of world class names -- with a few interlopers American fans might not be as familiar with. Matt Fitzpatrick and Russell Knox get a slight bump up to this tier because it's the Open. Rickie and Phil see a bump down a rung or two because of major championship struggles this year. Opens and Bubba Watson mix like oil and water. I like Jon Rahm and I'm putting him here because I can and I want to. Martin Kaymer's recent form makes it seem like his struggles are behind him. Anyone on this list can win this golf tournament, but it would be a mild surprise.
HERE, HAVE YOUR DARKHORSE
14. Danny Lee
Maybe it's not great to ride with the guy who wins the Scottish Open to repeat the next week, but a guy with a nice near-miss seems like a good bet. Despite a last minute schedule change with the cancellation of the Greenbrier, Danny Lee turned in a strong showing last week at Castle Stuart with a T-3 finish -- while donating a portion of his winnings back to flood-stricken West Virginia. He missed the Open cut in his first appearance last year, but he's in form now. If good karma is a thing, why not?
13. Louis Oosthuizen, 12. Henrik Stenson, 11. Danny Willett, 10. Lee Westwood, 9. Shane Lowry, 8. Adam Scott, 7. Justin Rose, 6. Zach Johnson, 5. Jordan Spieth, 4. Rory McIlroy
If anyone on this list is your A-player selection in an Open Championship pool, don't be disappointed. This is a list littered with major champions -- and three other guys in Lowry, Westwood, and Stenson that have proven themselves competitive on the stage recently or over the long term. Oh, and notice the last two names on the list. The Olympic distractions and media circus make it seem like it will be hard for the two players often regarded as the world's best at this time last year. Will they be ready for Troon after failing to contend at Oakmont last month? Each has only played once since the U.S. Open -- when they each turned in third place finishes at the Bridgestone and French Open respectively. They're not out-of-form at all -- just three other guys might be, well, better suited to win this week.
3. Sergio Garcia -- You know my feelings here.
2. Jason Day
1. Dustin Johnson
Johnson won the U.S. Open, but Day was just behind him while the USGA's rollicking trashfire raged on. DJ then won at Firestone because of a late, uncharacteristic Jason Day mistake. The line between the world's two best players at the moment is absolutely razor thin. The difference of late? Day's made Sunday stumbles in his last three tournaments in some form. Johnson's been rock solid as tournaments close. Don't read into that more than you should, but his ability to close golf tournaments -- along with his all-world driving and wedge game -- make Dustin Johnson our favorite heading into the 145th Open at Royal Troon.
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