Tiger Woods pictured at St Andrews
Tiger Woods pictured at St Andrews

Player-by-player guide to the field for the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews

Ben Coley profiles every member of the field for the 150th Open Championship, which gets under way at St Andrews on Thursday morning.

Scoring averages cover all rounds at St Andrews from 2010-2021, including the 2010 and 2015 Open Championships and all renewals of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

ANCER, Abraham

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Some hints he could be a good Open type but probably less so at the Old Course and in fairness, his record elsewhere reads MC-MC-59. Seldom put things together this year, save for a top-10 finish at the US PGA which never really saw him threaten, and not much of a factor on LIV debut either.


Typically silly Open experiences so far, first having to battle a shoulder injury he sustained with an ill-advised parachute jump prior to his 2018 debut, and then forced to wait an additional year having birdied the final hole of the 2020 SA Open to qualify for Royal St George's. Played OK there soon after and gets another go now having come through Final Qualifying. Good news for his many fans and you can't see too much of The Bullet. Well, almost...


  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.33

Opened with a round of 64 at the Old Course in last year's Dunhill Links and certainly has the tools to tame it. Since got off the mark on the DP World Tour and offered promise in the US PGA, but has gone off the boil at the wrong time.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

For the second year running, followed up excellent performance in the Amateur Championship (this time a beaten finalist) by qualifying at St Anne's. Didn't do too badly on his Open debut, carding rounds of 75 and 72, and has stacks of links experience. Also entitled to be among the many young English players inspired by Matt Fitzpatrick as he plays out of the delightful Hallowes Golf Club in Dronfield, not far away from Fitzpatrick's home club.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.38

First caught the eye in the Dunhill Links back in 2015 when benefiting from an invite, and has a best of 67 at the Old Course to his name. Decent enough second try at the Open last summer but probably wants tough conditions and either way will need more from his short-game, which has been strangely poor of late. The rest is good though and few better putters in the field.

BJORK, Alexander

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.75

Short, sometimes crooked driver who can be a fabulous iron player and is one of the best putters in Europe. All means he's generally of interest across a small, specific range of courses and to an extent explains struggles in the Dunhill Links.

BLAND, Richard

  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.87

Made his Open debut way back in 1998 and had to wait almost 20 years for his return, which resulted in a nice T22 at Carnoustie. Another four years passed before he got his third try and made the cut without featuring at St George's, and as he's just about conceded it's unlikely he'll better that dream 2021 which included a memorable breakthrough at the Belfry. That said, did shoot 64-68 here to close out the Dunhill Links and it's only a couple of months since he made the last 16 of the WGC-Match Play.

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  • St Andrews scoring average: 73.50

Disappointed to backpedal early on in the final round of the US Open held close to his home, but rallied well for seventh and loved every minute of being roared on by the crowds there. Was the best iron player in the field and again hit it well at the Travelers, while there are clear indications he's putting better than he has in some time. All likely to add up to more challenges but struggled here in 2015 and does hit a bit of a moon ball. Two top-20s in three elsewhere is good Open form, though.

BROWN, Barclay (a)

Highly promising amateur who is in the early stages of his college career at the famed Stanford University. Grew up playing at The Hallamshire which is back in the headlines for the right reasons after Matt Fitzpatrick's US Open win, which Brown soon followed by bossing his qualifier. Bright future.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.57

Big-hitting South African with plenty of ability and a record at the Old Course which reflects his overall improvement. Struggled here at first, including when shooting 80, but is 19-under for his last four rounds here in the Dunhill Links. This will be a much more serious test but in the right conditions you could see him being competitive, especially after a fabulous driving performance in Germany. Expect some good and some bad.

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  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Top-class under familiar conditions as he's shown with four wins on the PGA Tour in less than 15 months, and starting to translate it to majors having been 20th in the PGA and a contending 27th in the US Open. Those on at fancy prices for this can take encouragement from a top-20 finish in last year's Scottish Open, which he followed with a low-key Open debut which at least saw him make the weekend. Throws in a few off-weeks but if he's on, no reason he can't go really well.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

New Zealander who was a world-class amateur but has suffered all kinds of injury woe since turning professional, including an 18-month absence following hip surgery. Still has high hopes and looks to be playing some of the best golf of his career right now, albeit still way off this level.

CANTER, Laurie

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.80

Did well enough on his last Open start, shooting a final-round 68 for 37th place at Birkdale. Massively improved in the interim but without having really shown himself to be a proper links golfer, with his powerful, accurate driving and iffy short-game making him more likely to compete on parkland courses. Hard to get a handle on his form given he's been playing 54-hole LIV events, which also denied him a proper prep in Scotland.

Sam Burns is too big a price for the Open - and looks worth following in general next year
Sam Burns tees off at Royal St George's

CANTLAY, Patrick

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Hard to get a handle on despite being elite. Case for: five wins in little more than three years, 2021 Player of the Year and FedEx Cup champion, etc. Case against: wouldn't have won the Memorial for a second time but for Jon Rahm's withdrawal, and may not have won TOUR Championship but for head-start. Throw in a couple of meltdowns from favouritism, such as at the Travelers, and easy to suggest he's a bit flimsy at times. Maybe I'm being harsh based on some LIV rumours but what's certain is he's not contended for a major since 2019, though that should change soon and he did play well at the US Open. Probably do the same here too and 12th place in 2018 was a good start to his Open career, albeit one he hasn't built on since.

CAREY, David

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Alps Tour winner in 2019 when shooting 57 (on a par 68) and looking to break free from that level and really begin climbing the ladder. Wears a flat cap and uses single-length irons but don't let that put you off.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.62

Third here in 2010 and has carded a 10-under 62 at the Old Course, so might've looked a candidate for this had he arrived at the top of his game – Henrik Stenson and Darren Clarke are fairly recent winners of the Open who arrived without a major to their names and in their 40s. However, Casey has been absent since the spring with back issues and it may well be that the next time we see him, he's employing a team individuality type of vibe for the bad people.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.00

Unheralded three-time DP World Tour champion whose best form has been on difficult parkland courses. Shot 75-69 to miss the cut on Open debut last year and though solid in three rounds at this course, feel there's a limit to his potential under anticipated conditions.

CELLI, Filippo (a)

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

European Amateur champion who has played well in a handful of Alps Tour events. Hugely up against it.

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  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.73

Accurate sort who was still an amateur when finishing a superb 12th here in 2015. Gets back in thanks to the Joburg Open last year but it's been a generally quiet run since for all his best golf has come under links-like conditions in the Netherlands.

CHO, Mingyu

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Runner-up in the Korean Open who has been around for more than a decade without ever really threatening to be good enough for this.

CINK, Stewart

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.60

Momentarily one of the least popular Open champions in history having kicked away Tom Watson's cane in 2009. Has more recently enjoyed a late-career renaissance with his son on the bag and it includes bits and pieces of major form and was fourth after an opening 66 last year. Decent enough St Andrews record so could make the weekend and perhaps threaten the top 30, a mark he's reached nine times in 22 appearances.

CLARK, Wyndham

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Remains a bit of a talent unfulfilled and iron play isn't often of the standards required to be consistently competitive at the highest level. Lacks links experience, too, though did refer to his appearance in the Amateur Championship at Portrush upon qualifying via the Canadian Open. Says he loves this style of golf and that kind of attitude can go a long way, just like his drives.

CLARKE, Darren

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.54

Fabulous 2011 winner at St George's and though unable to make the weekend in this since 2016, did light up Portrush for a while. St Andrews record includes two top-10 finishes back in the day and he's very comfortable at the Old Course, but eyes on the Senior British Open really.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Ticking along nicely all year but hasn't had a chance to win in an age. In fact, you can argue that his last such opportunity came in last year's Open Championship, when he sat fourth through 54 holes after a fabulous 66 in round three. That was just his second crack at this and though he faded to finish 15th, better may yet be to come. Flushed it for two days at the US Open but departed early because his short-game was very poor, which would be a worry here particularly if the wind blows.

DALY, John

  • St Andrews scoring average: 72.33

Wild Thing won his second major here in 1995 and showed in 2010 that he can still score at the Old Course when he opened with a six-under 66. Health issues are a big problem these days but bagged his first top-10 finish in more than a year on the Champions Tour last month.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

I'll be honest, I didn't know whether to put him in this section, or under L, or under S. But with a black belt in tang soo do, it's fair to say if this Philippines golfer gets in touch I will move as per his request.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Rewind to his major-winning 2020 campaign and those Bay Hill exploits the following spring, and you'd have found plenty – myself included – willing to speculate that he could tear St Andrews apart. Certainly there are at least four par-fours he could reach off the tee and that alone marks him down as a fascinating candidate. On the other hand, he's been garbage this year, probably still isn't fit, and might be too focused on growing the game to really achieve something that might actually grow the game. Favourite course? Birkdale. Favourite county? Berkshire. Berk.

DETRY, Thomas

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.83

One of the best maidens on the DP World Tour and came closest when losing a Scottish Open play-off last summer. No wonder he missed the cut in this just days later but hopes of doing better this time undermined by a generally quiet year. Doesn't have much of a Dunhill Links record and best St Andrews round in that far easier event is 68 from six spins.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 74.14

Qualified for the third time and will be having his second crack at St Andrews, although he's played here plenty in the Dunhill Links (without breaking 70 at the Old Course in any recent visit). Dead-eye putter, perhaps because he's benefited from the world-leading ophthalmology resources in Barnard Castle.

DODD, Stephen

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Veteran Welshman who won the Senior British Open last year to earn a return to this for the first time in 16 years. MC at St Andrews in 2005.


  • St Andrews scoring average: TBC

Ex-Ryder Cup hero who has played some good golf since the summer of 2020, and much of it close to home. That includes last week's Scottish Open top-10 to earn a seventh Open start, with 49th place here in 2015 among his better efforts.

DUVAL, David

  • St Andrews scoring average: 73.13

Finished 11th here in the 2000 Open Championship and shot a third-round 67 back here in 2015. Struggling on the Champions Tour while he pursues a promising broadcasting career.

ELS, Ernie

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.45

Won his two Opens a decade apart, in 2002 and 2012, but hopes of a remarkable hat-trick in 2022 are close to zero.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.75

Back from injury this summer and hasn't taken him long to get the putter rolling, which was enough for a welcome top-20 finish when defending his Travelers title. Did OK here in 2015 and one of those you could see enjoying an Open if at his best, but wild driving, poor approach play and a lack of sharpness all suggest he'll be drowning his sorrows on Friday night. What a place to do it.

FARR, Oliver

  • St Andrews scoring average: 73.00

Welshman who has been around a while now but at last gets his first Open Championship start after scraping through on a tough day at Hollinwell.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Argentine Open winner last year and earlier in his career beat the likes of Corey Conners, Joel Dahmen and Mito Pereira when winning PGA LatinoAmerica titles. Former Junior World Golf Championship winner who has a bit about him without looking likely to show much here.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.50

Four times he's played in Scotland and four times he's finished in the top 20, including on his 2016 Open debut (18th) and when ninth at Carnoustie. Since then, two Dunhill Links appearances have helped him gather some experience of the Old Course and you suspect he already loves it, as well he should. All four rounds here solid, a 66 on his last visit better than that, and his blend of power, major form and links comfort mark him down as a big player.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.00

US Open champion having hit a shot which will go down in history on his way to a one-stroke win over two of the best players on the planet. That came after he'd contended for the US PGA and was the culmination of a years-long run of steady improvement, supplemented by some very hard work in the gym to ensure he wasn't getting left behind off the tee. One of the most all-round players in the sport as a result and has already set his sights on six majors, itself an indication that he's not one to rest on his laurels. Not the best record here in the Dunhill Links but will much prefer a tougher set-up and has to be respected. Regardless, that brief moment when he looked over at Billy Foster will be hard for the sport to top, even here.

Billy Foster and Matt Fitzpatrick
Billy Foster and Matt Fitzpatrick


  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.18

Flawless record in the Dunhill Links bar the fact he's yet to win it, finishing second twice and with six more top-15s. Sole St Andrews blemish therefore came in the 2015 Open when, despite shooting 69 on day one, he missed the cut following a Friday 76. That was the beginning of a difficult 18 months, however, so better is expected from the 2019 runner-up at a course he knows far better than Royal St George's (T33). A must for the shortlist having broken par in 21 of his 22 rounds at the Old Course and I'm hoping he wins it and realises that he's best staying put.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Sussex golfer who is still trying to find his path, having tried various satellite tours. Went to James Madison University which I will confess I've never heard of, but then again I went to Nottingham Trent.

FORD, Matt

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Once gained a degree of notoriety for saying he'd been set to give up the game and become a postman only to win his European Tour card at Qualifying School. That was eight years ago and he's kept at it but a similar predicament may lie ahead based on this year's exploits. That makes it all the sweeter he's managed to qualify for the Open at long last.

FOX, Ryan

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.25

Without doubt the star of the season on the DP World Tour, first winning in the Middle East and then producing a months-long run of form which has somehow failed to deliver another title. Still a slight question mark under the gun but easy to see why big prices have been mopped up given his links pedigree, which includes four cuts made in five Open starts and a closing 67 here in 2015. Mixed bag here generally but did shoot 64 in the first round of the 2019 Dunhill Links and has all the attributes needed, although do feel price has gone and this being his fifth start in a row isn't ideal.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.67

Eye-catching performances in each of the last two editions, ending six of his eight rounds inside the top 10 and shooting 70 or better in seven of them. Only failure came under difficult conditions in the final round at Portrush and was in the van all week at Royal St George's. Have to respect that and a four-under 68 here in the Dunhill Links but quest for distance has come at the cost of accuracy and he's one of the most likely to hit it into your hotel room if you're staying in the magical old town this week.

GARCIA, Sergio

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.13

One of the handful of Europeans whose scoring average isn't massaged by rounds in the easier Dunhill Links. A better way to view it would be to say he's been 14th and sixth in his last two visits to make that average, while he contended on his first two visits to the course in 2000 and 2005. Seven years ago it briefly looked as though he'd finally win his first major here only to stumble late on and clearly, at his best this fabulous links exponent would be a key player. Those days appeared gone even before he took the LIV millions and he'll do well to better last year's 19th at St George's.

GOOCH, Talor

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Managed to claim he's not very intelligent during LIV presser, then two weeks later boasted of having masterminded a plan to help improve the PGA Tour despite. He's going to fit in just fine with that rabble and hopefully live to regret leaving the tour he dreamed of playing on as a child, the one upon which he had finally established himself. Only non-exhibition start since his PGA Tour ban kicked in saw him miss the cut at Brookline.

GRIFFIN, Matthew

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

MC at Birkdale on Open debut and returns for a second try badly out of form.

GRILLO, Emiliano

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.40

Driving the ball very well again now and put that to use for second place at Deere Run, keeping alive a sneaky streak of Open appearances which stretches back to 2016. Twice in the top 12 including last year when shooting a second-round 64 and this underachiever always has it in him to produce fireworks like that. St Andrews record decidedly poor, however.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 75.71

Shot 81 in his last public round at the Senior PGA, and 81 when last here.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 72.60

Hasn't exactly set the world alight in the Dunhill Links and his Old Course average is 72.60, which will need leaving well behind. That said his win at Doha could be a really good guide and he's been inside the top 10 at halfway in the last two Opens.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 72.50

Threatening to win again soon and opened with a round of 65 on his sixth Open start last year, eventually securing his best ever finish in a share of 19th place. MC here in 2015 though and less suitable on paper.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.71

Dunhill Links regular who won that event twice before winning the big one twice, too. Stacks of St Andrews experience but not yet a factor in the Open here so while he has a major top-five from as recently as last May, it'll be a shock if he gets close to that. Did win the Senior US Open last month and more majors likely in that sphere.

HATTON, Tyrrell

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.06

Easy to think he hated the place with form figures of MC-MC-MC-MC arriving here for the 2016 Dunhill Links, but then went and shot a third-round 62 at St Andrews on his way to breakthrough win. Defended that title a year later courtesy of a closing 66 and threatened to make it a hat-trick twice since, so would've been on many a radar despite some uncharacteristically poor form of late. Upturn in JP McManus Pro-Am and the Scottish Open offers encouragement but will need to improve on poor major record at what looks a short enough price.

Tyrrell Hatton tees off in the Dunhill Links
Tyrrell Hatton tees off in the Dunhill Links

HENLEY, Russell

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.25

Former Honda Classic winner who played well to finish 20th here in 2015, memories of a second-round 66 sure to come flooding back when he tees off. You'd have to give him an each-way chance on that form but after a prolonged run of promise which included a heartbreaking near-miss in Hawaii, he's recently struggled regardless of the test.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.33

Erratic Aussie with a dynamite short-game which has played a big part in all three wins, as has the fact he seems to thrive when the weather turns nasty. That has to be a positive in this and though he narrowly missed the cut last year, in 2018 he shot 69-69 across the middle rounds at Carnoustie to lie 28th heading into Sunday. Probably won't string four rounds together and long-game stats still make for grim reading, but something about him which demands respect following good Irish Open defence.

HIGA, Kazuki

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Brought superb form on Japan Golf Tour with him to Germany for 10th place in the BMW International Open, after which he played well for two rounds in Ireland. Looks like he might be able to complete that transition but this is a tall order on his Open and indeed major debut.

HIGGO, Garrick

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Promised to be the next big thing in South African golf when bursting to prominence last year, first winning back-to-back DP World Tour events and then stealing the Palmetto Championship on the PGA Tour. Dizzying stuff and though you'd have been brave to forecast it back then, can't be the biggest surprise that he's come unstuck somewhat since, generally struggling with his long-game. One or two better signs with a welcome top-20 in the Memorial Tournament but nothing to suggest he'll make the weekend.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Neat and tidy PGA Tour plotter who makes his Open debut having won his first title at Pebble Beach back in February. Soon bagged a major top-10 in the PGA but form has nosedived since so unless he's about to reveal he's married to Nicola Sturgeon, loves a bit of shortbread, can't get enough single malt and once owned shares in Inverness Caledonian Thistle, it's hard to see him finding comfort on what appears to be his first trip to Scotland.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.33

Feast-or-famine youngster who has put his driver to use for two wins over the last year, both at courses which allowed him to do so. Could St Andrews be another? Yes, and scores of 74, 71 and 69 at the Old Course suggest he's figuring out how. Indeed, he was five-under through 13 holes of the final round of last year's Dunhill Links before doubling the 17th, and had gone out in 32 the day before. Tempting therefore to suggest there will at some stage be fireworks even if it feels a little soon to suggest he can blast his way to a major championship.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Finished a solid 40th on his Open debut last year and has since continued to impress both swing students and golf fans in general. Showed a flourish of major form in the PGA which he failed to back-up in the US Open but that was all down to a horrendous putting display, with his long-game seemingly still purring. Plays well in tough conditions as shown with Wells Fargo win so there's enough to like, and while the bar was low he's managed a PB in all three majors so far this season. Another here would make him an each-way contender at a nice price.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.33

Self-styled globe-trotter of late who will no doubt reel off all the good stuff relating to proper golf, knowledgable fans, history, etc. Unfortunately his Open Championship record suggests this actually is not his cup of tea (oh, he loves a cup of tea all right) as he's not only played in seven of them without bettering 30th place, but has missed five cuts and generally by some distance. The one positive is that his best effort did come here thanks to a closing 67 having only just scraped through to the weekend, so having produced one of the performances of his career in June, there's a case to be made at a big price. Doubt I'll be the one making it mind you.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.25

Big talent who won his third DP World Tour title in Belgium before heading to join an all-English LIV squad led by his long-time mentor, Ian 'Poults' Poulter. How that impacts his career we shall see but evidently played well in the first one before striking his ball far better than a missed cut would suggest in the US Open. Probably still too raw for this and unlikely he'll be able to bully the Old Course in the way he has at a lower level, but that Dunhill Links scoring average reads well and he's got loads of ability.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Won twice in four starts around the turn of the year and looked set to be a big factor in the majors, only to disappoint with 27th at Augusta, 41st in the US PGA, and then a missed cut in the US Open. Plenty of encouragement to be taken from 12th place on his Open debut last year but have to be concerned with the overall level of his form heading to Scotland for the first time in his career. St Andrews should be a good fit and he has won by the coast four times already.

HUGHES, Mackenzie

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Showed his effectiveness under tough conditions when contending for both this and the US Open last summer, proof that a brilliant short-game and the right mindset can carry you a long way. Hasn't been in the best of form this year but some better signs lately including with another good US Open performance, so one to respect.

IM, Sungjae

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Popular US Open selection but never quite got going there and missed the cut by one, before withdrawing from subsequent Travelers Championship with back pain. Missed this last year (skipped to focus on Olympics) and the US PGA earlier this season (Covid) so it's been a bit stop-start in majors for this two-time PGA Tour winner with a fabulous all-round game. Lacks links experience, too, though did take to Royal Melbourne like a duck to water and some of those skills apply. Likely he'll have a good go at one of these at some stage.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Shot 68-80 to miss the cut at Troon and 83-69 to miss the cut at Portrush, which you have to admit is a pretty cool record to have. Remains prolific in Japan where he won back-to-back events in May.

JARVIS, Aaron (a)

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Latin America Amateur champion who was born in the Cayman Islands and may have a future as financial advisor to LIV players if the golf thing doesn't work out.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.00

Costly final round here in 2010 saw him tumble from seventh to 14th but it was the first sign that he was a potential Open winner, and in 2015 that was reinforced when he led after rounds one and two before a weekend capitulation ended in 49th place. Remember, that did come a month after he'd blown the US Open with a final-hole three-putt and now he's a two-time major winner, you'd have to expect much better were he to find himself in a similar position. Form is hard to assess given he's suspended from the PGA Tour (not the only Johnson out of work lately EH EH EH?!) but his ball-striking at the US Open offered encouragement and so did his subsequent effort in Portland. Hard to argue with the price.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.13

Bookend 66s earned him this title in 2015, after he took down Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in a play-off. That's one of several pieces of evidence that we can find Open clues in the Masters, Johnson having famously wedged his way to victory there in 2007. As for the present, he's done nothing all year to suggest he'll make a good fist of this title defence of sorts.

JORDAN, Matthew

  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.20

Talented youngster from the same neck of the woods as Tommy Fleetwood, and finished alongside him when fifth in the 2019 Dunhill Links. Went out in 29 at the Old Course that week on his way to a sizzling 64 and has produced much of his best golf by the coast, more of it here when winning the St Andrews Links Trophy as an amateur, making him one to watch on his Open and indeed major debut.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Young Thai player who won four times from October to January, only once finishing worse than sixth in a run of nine starts. More recently, has finished close to last in both LIV events and will do better when returned to something more familiar. MC at the US PGA in May.

KANAYA, Takumi

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Promising Japanese who seeks to make the cut in this event for the first time on what will be his third appearance. Struggling a bit lately albeit on a difficult schedule.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Says he's delighted to make his major debut at St Andrews having only turned professional a couple of years ago. Already a winner on the Japan Golf Tour and has barely put a foot wrong this year.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Veteran has missed the cut in all three Open starts and has a best of 72nd in the Dunhill Links.

KIM, Chan

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Very capable big-hitter who was 11th at Birkdale in 2017 and made the cut comfortably enough last year. Almost did the same in both the PGA Championship and the US Open so while he doesn't look to be in great form he's probably not far off. Will be his fourth Open but first in Scotland.

KIM, Joohyung

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Things must be going well for this Korean star in the making as I've already used up all my Thomas the Tank Engine lines. That's his nickname you see, Tom, because he used to enjoy watching the TV show based on the work of The Reverend Wilbert Awdry. While we're here, can I just say how pathetically moving I find this letter Awdry wrote to his son:

Dear Christopher,
Here is your friend Thomas, the Tank Engine.
He wanted to come out of his station-yard and see the world.
These stories tell you how he did it.
I hope you will like them because you helped me to make them.
Your Loving Daddy

I might write one to mine.

Dear son,
Sorry I've spent the last month writing Open Championship profiles
Your Idiot Daddy

KIM, Minkyu

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

One-time prodigy who has really found his feet since returning to his homeland and captured the Korea Open in June. Still just 21 and remains the youngest winner in Challenge Tour history so it'll be interesting to see whether he can at some stage establish himself worldwide.

KIM, Sihwan

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.50

American who has won twice this year after years of threatening to do so at a slightly higher level. Two rounds here, first a six-over 78, then a seven-under 65.

KIM, Si-Woo

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Crept in via the world rankings but has been dropping down them more recently and, without being rude to the great man, I'm not sure a windy Open Championship is necessarily right for him. Favourite in the 'to shoot rounds of 80-plus and less than 70' market.

KIRK, Chris

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Has done really well to recover from alcoholism and resume a solid career which includes one Open top-20 from three tries. Plays well in the wind and had been in good form when last seen, before returning from a month away to make his Scottish Open debut, where he was 71st.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 72.50

Carnoustie runner-up who wouldn't look as well suited to St Andrews, where he shot 71-74 in 2015. That was his Open debut and he could do better if putting as well as he did in the Travelers, but that was his first form of note since March. Probably the best working example of a player who should be considered on a very specific group of courses, and this isn't one of them.


  • St Andrews scoring average: TBC

Enjoying a successful albeit in-and-out debut PGA Tour campaign which has seen him go close in both the Honda Classic and last week's Scottish Open. They'd be two of the better form guides were this to get windy and wild and we knew already from his win in Oman that tough conditions suit best. Up to 62nd in the world now but big miss off the tee always threatens to undermine the good stuff.

KOEPKA, Brooks

  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.08

Eleven of his 12 rounds here have been par or better, and he's twice shot 64 at the Old Course. Throw in rounds of 65, 66 and 67, plus day-by-day improvement for 10th place here in 2015, and my it looks a good fit for a player with four Open Championship top-10s in his last five tries. There are of course more present concerns around the state of his game and his fitness, as prior to his LIV debut he'd only played in majors since April. On the plus-side, his driving was good at the US Open, his putting was good at the PGA, and at a decent price you can make a case for him making a point. Indeed belief in that narrative, the one which says Koepka is best when he thinks the world's against him, will determine whether or not some people back him at a course he adores.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Career of this slugger took off in 2020 and come the start of 2022 he'd won three times on the PGA Tour. Brought that sort of game with him to Kent last summer where he finished 26th and having also played well at Portrush, he's building a neat Open record. St Andrews might be even more suitable but the only reliable club in his bag right now is the driver, and without serious short-game improvements he'll come unstuck.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.88

Modest Dunhill Links return but arguably in the form of his life in 2022, winning twice. Contended for a while in the 2011 Open at Royal St George's and not totally out of the question he'll do so here. If so, deserves plenty of respect with the likes of Montgomerie, McIlroy, Mickelson, Johnson, Garcia and Stenson among his victims down the years.

LAW, David

  • St Andrews scoring average: 74.00

Holed a 10-foot par putt on the final hole of the Irish Open to qualify for this, a mighty achievement for a Scotsman yet to play in the Open. Poor in both rounds at the Old Course in the Dunhill Links.

LAWRENCE, Thriston

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.67

Hugely fortunate to win a 36-hole Joburg Open without having to defend his halfway lead but hard to argue with how he's used that as a springboard to bigger things, firmly establishing himself in Europe. Had been a very good amateur who won the Lytham Trophy and has since carded a six-under 66 from just three spins at the Old Course. One to consider at a big price for top South African.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.27

1999 Open champion who has spent large chunks of his time helping out young golfers in Scotland since then, a fabulous use of a platform he earned with one of the most impressive final rounds in the history of this event. Says he doesn't think his career warrants the classic Swilcan Bridge sign-off given to Tom Watson here in 2015 so this may not be his swan song. Suspect thousands would disagree with that statement and typical of this understated champion to want no fuss.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Twice a winner of the Byron Nelson now and signs that he's better prepared for the aftermath of the second win, holding his form pretty nicely. One to watch out for in the local karaoke bars owing to his self-proclaimed vocal skills but as far as this goes, there's very little evidence to support backing him in any market.

LEE, Min Woo

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.00

Massive talent whose sister Minjee is flushing her way to all kinds of success in the women's game at the moment. He's good enough to follow suit and evidence that links golf suits extends beyond last year's Scottish Open play-off win. Subsequently done well in majors and definitely one to consider at big odds, especially here.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.50

Runner-up here in 2015 and says he has a 'bee in his bonnet' about coming back and making up for that heartbreaking near-miss. Has also contended for the Masters on a couple of occasions and fits the bill in many respects, as an experienced, classy, multiple winner who loves playing links golf. Indeed he's among those who need grading a little differently and if he brought the form which took him to 14th place in the US Open here to Scotland, you'd have to think he'd better that result.

LI, Haotong

  • St Andrews scoring average: 67.83

Emotional winner of the BMW International Open after years of turmoil, first unable to go home during the Covid pandemic and then unable to avoid going through several sleeves of balls per round. Massive respect due for overcoming both and given his exploits before this happened, such as third in the 2017 Open and beating Rory to the Dubai Desert Classic title the following year, we should expect his reemergence to continue. Boasts an excellent record here with a best of 64 so no doubt a few people were poised waiting for bookmakers to ADD HIM TO THE BETTING WHEN HE'D QUALIFIED. Seems a fair ask to me.

LIST, Luke

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Finally shed his maiden tag at Torrey Pines and just as that was always going to be one of the more likely PGA Tour courses for him, so should St Andrews be his best Open venue. Given he's been third in the Scottish Open and was 39th a week later at Carnoustie, you'd think he'll do pretty well here if the putter behaves. Clearly, having been terrible at the Travelers that remains a big 'if' but he's putted fine on several occasions this year. Fancy him to make the cut.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.60

Qualified via the 36-hole Joburg Open and isn't playing too badly at the moment. Always had ability for all he's wild and as well as being a former runner-up in the Amateur Championship, he's shown his love of links golf with two Irish Open top-10s. Could be a flier in the first-round leader market but do acknowledge he might quadruple the first hole.

LOWRY, Shane

  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.26

Brilliant 2019 winner on home turf and is bound to be popular after a fine effort when defending his title after a two-year wait. Fared well on his Open debut here in 2010 albeit less well five years later, and has stacks of positive St Andrews experience from the Dunhill Links, in which 19 of his 21 rounds have been under par including each of his last eight. DataGolf rightly has him among the top 10 players in the world and not unreasonable to suggest he's in the top five when if we combine 2022 form and links smarts. US Open aside he's been reliable all year, his iron play as good as it's ever been, and no doubt this is the major which is always likely to suit him best.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.67

For the second year running, encouraging early signs are threatening to fizzle out and he's been unable to bring some close-to-elite PGA Tour form back home with him. That said when we're talking majors, he's been a staple since taking sixth at Portrush on his first try in one. Eighth in this last year made it two top-10s from two in the Open and he's also made seven cuts from seven US majors, a record he'll be desperate to stretch as far as possible. All this plus the fact he's the best young Scottish player will keep his price down below where his non-major form says it should be, but that's appropriate.

MANSELL, Richard

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

So serious a ball-striker that I'm going to stop doing F1 jokes. Back for a second crack at the Open having made the cut but finished at the back of the... not grid... pack. The pack. Yes, he finished at the back of the pack last year. Since continued to edge towards a likely DP World Tour breakthrough which might come on a very different course to this one, but anyone who saw his emotional interview when qualifying will know the outcome isn't really the important thing this week – which isn't to say he can't be competitive.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.00

Defied a slow start to finish 18th here in 2015, one of four occasions he's been close enough to the lead at some stage during this tournament. More recently has struggled, missing the cut in 2018 and 2019, before electing to skip last year's renewal and focus instead on the Olympics in his native Japan. Ought to be suited to St Andrews though given the precision of his approach work and how sharp he is around the greens; indeed, so many Augusta winners have fared well here and similar skills are required. Given his top-five finish at the US Open when briefly threatening to steal it, he has to again be high on the shortlist having wisely added the Scottish Open to his schedule, although a missed cut there offered little in the way of obvious encouragement.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.57

Can I shock you? I think McIlroy is the one they all have to beat in the Open Championship. Yes, it's eight years since he won a major and yes, he's been disappointing following good starts in two of them this year, having flown from the clouds for second place in the Masters. I get that. But ever since emerging on the scene 15 or so years ago, it's felt like he might win an Open at the Old Course, and his form throughout most of 2022 tells us his game is in a great place. Third here in 2010 despite shooting 80 in round two, he's since enjoyed a golden run in the event with a win and three top-fives in a run of four renewals, but remember that doesn't include the 2015 Open here. McIlroy injured his ankle playing football and was unable to defend his title at the Open course he most enjoys, so there's some unfinished business to add to the equation. The one other thing to note is that unlike virtually every other elite player he did not play in the Scottish Open. Fresh and ready, or underprepared? We'll soon find out.

MERONK, Adrian

  • St Andrews scoring average: 74.00

Deservedly off the mark in Ireland and in fine style too, playing the last four holes in four-under to win by three. It had been coming with six top-10s earlier in the year and there's no doubt he's one of those looking to continue his ascent and make more history in next year's Ryder Cup. To do so will need to perform at this kind of level and it's possible his power and improved touch sees him make the cut on his Open debut.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.25

Grew into a fabulous links golfer once embracing the nature of the challenge, culminating of course in his 2013 Muirfield win. That came courtesy of the round of his life but was second to Henrik Stenson three years later when playing almost as well, denied in a famous Open duel, memories of which will hopefully outlast those more recent. Hasn't been as effective here as you might expect but has made all four cuts and if putting better, another weekend tee-time is very much possible. And if not, there might be money to be made doing some kind of Donald Trump Jr pastiche in a local dive bar.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.33

Three-time runner-up in 2021, a year which also saw him take fourth place in the US Open, but things have been a struggle this time around. In part that's down to wearing glasses on the course and he ought to figure things out – in fact, there have been signs of encouragement lately including when an excellent 14th back in the aforementioned US Open. Bits and pieces of links and/or coastal form including when mugged in Qatar and 17th in the Dunhill Links, where he's picked up some decent St Andrews experience. Not one you'd look to take on with any confidence.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Capable former winner of the Honda Classic, itself a good guide to majors, but it's family ties that make this American such a fascinating addition to the field. Not only is his father an R&A member, but his sister went to school in St Andrews and Mitchell says he's always dreamed about playing in the Open, more so at the Old Course. It's a layout with which he's very familiar and given all this, and the pressure his dad has placed upon his shoulders, it was some achievement to qualify as he did with a top-10 finish in Canada. This week will be a winner whatever happens once his name is announced.

MOLINARI, Francesco

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.44

Won the 2018 Open at the height of his powers and in trademark fashion, patiently dissecting Carnoustie as those around him faltered. Things haven't gone to plan since, myriad factors including but not limited to injuries and off-the-course upheaval playing their part, as well perhaps as the miles between him and his long-time coach now Molinari is based in California. There's also the Masters meltdown of 2019 from which he's never really recovered.

MORGAN, Jediah

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Won the Australian PGA Championship by a massive 11 shots in January and with that topped their order of merit, thus earning an invite. More recently has signed up with LIV, though rounds of 82 in the US Open and 81 in the Memorial suggest his head will be on the chopping block as more names sign up. Not literally, it feels important to clarify.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Victory in this last year underlined a lot of things, not least his class, but also his versatility and meticulousness. He'd played the previous week's Scottish Open and struggled badly, which resulted in some equipment changes which helped author a huge turnaround. Worth reiterating that was his debut in the Open and he'll hope to follow a similar path, including a top-five finish in the US Open which this time was a bonus rather than a source of disappointment. Big threat if short-game holds up even if he has seemed baffled by his newfound draw of late.

Collin Morikawa on his way to the lead in the Open
Collin Morikawa on his way to winning the Open


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Irish youngster with limited experience. Came through Regional Qualifying at Frilford Heath and then Final Qualifying at Prince's, which is some effort.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Slugger from the deep south who won his maiden PGA Tour title on Sunday. Always had stacks of ability and there is precedent for 11th-hour major qualifiers to play well, such as when Michael Kim finished 35th at Carnoustie. No reason he can't do something similar.

MUNOZ, Sebastian

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

MC-MC in the Open but prior to last week hadn't missed a cut on the PGA Tour since January and was 14th in the US Open last month. Must have eyes on a Presidents Cup debut now and playing so well as to merit respect in any top rest of the world or South American markets.

NA, Kevin

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.25

Went about seven thousand PGA Tour events without adding to his 2011 Vegas win but was able to keep going and eventually start collecting titles, his career earnings on that circuit amounting to almost $38m. That puts him inside the top 30 all-time earners and yet, seemingly, he feels it was a bit of a rum deal. Another whose US Open effort amounted to little and doesn't seem likely he'll better a mid-pack finish here in 2015.

NAKAJIMA, Keita (a)

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Star amateur who is already a winner back home in Japan, where he's played nicely for much of the year. Scale of challenge underlined by MC-MC in two majors but was in the mix at halfway in the Sony Open in January.

NIEMANN, Joaquin

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

*Switches to Butch Harmon, straight-down-the-lens mode* Look here, Joaquin. No, no, don't look over there, look at me, and listen. Listen real good. You're young, you're absolutely brilliant, and you really can be the person who inspires a generation of young golfers from your country, because you're already doing it. You've won a proper, meaningful, PGA Tour event and you've done it the hard way, leading elite players from day one at a course where great things have happened. When you holed the winning putt, TIGER ACTUAL WOODS came and shook your hand, and then you got to play with him at the Masters. You dreamed of days like that. You probably dreamed of majors like this one, too, at a course you're going to love. You actually can grow the game. And you'll do it by continuing on the path you are on right now, not by forgetting all of this. Now, go and play with Mito in the garden and I'll shout when dinner's ready.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Won his first DP World Tour event on home soil earlier this year, thanks in no small part to Dean Burmester's late mistakes. Has since defected to LIV and as things stand it's going to be very hard for him to qualify for this again. Highlight in four previous tries was a third-round 65 at Birkdale when playing with a marker having made the cut on the number.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.65

Course form students will purr over this one as he's unbeaten in regulation play across two Open appearances at St Andrews, bossing things in 2010 before losing a play-off in 2015. Dunhill Links form also stacks up, with nine of his 10 Old Course rounds under-par including a 62. Given he was also runner-up in last year's Open and has been a persistent threat in majors there's enough to like, but his 2022 form amounts to very little and his results in majors this year read WD-60-MC. Says himself he doesn't want to play for much longer (though the LIV dollars may change that) and wonder whether those near-misses at Kiawah Island, Torrey Pines and Royal St George's last year finally broke his spirit.

PAPADATOS, Dimitrios

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Australian who won the Victorian Open to earn a second crack at this. He'll hope it goes much better than the first, which saw him shoot 83-72 at Portrush, but recent form is worrying.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.88

Shot 65 here when 54-hole leader in the Dunhill Links many moons ago, when briefly flirting with the world's top 100. Also bagged a top-five finish at Castle Stuart so has links form and has done well to climb back up to the Challenge Tour where he's in the middle of a solid campaign. Not a big surprise to see him qualify and is actually two-from-two in cuts made in majors, both courtesy of the US Open. Has waited a long time for this.

PENGE, Marco

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Long touted as a capable youngster and showing it now, graduating through the EuroPro Tour last year and producing plenty of good stuff on the Challenge Tour including when runner-up just prior to qualifying at Hollinwell. One of many debutants.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Heartbreaking loser at the PGA Championship where four at the final hole would've made him a major champion. Dealt with that famously, fabulously well, but wasn't able to go again in the US Open and might just need a break to really draw a line under things. Probably wouldn't appreciate it, but if you are in St Andrews and you've had a lot to drink and the moment feels right, recite Rudyard Kipling's 'If' to him over a pint. You'll either be friends for life or he'll have you escorted from the premises.

PEREZ, Victor

  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.67

Finest hour so far came here when capturing the 2019 Dunhill Links, during which we all learned he resides in Dundee. Subsequently confirmed himself a lover of this kind of golf in general, including when performing all kinds of magic tricks to win the Dutch Open at Ryan Fox's expense. Certainly a player who can compete at this kind of level thanks to a superb long-game but given the importance of scrambling here down the years, that would be the potential weakness which backers at big odds must factor in.

Victor Perez of France poses with the trophy
Victor Perez with the Dunhill Links trophy


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.67

Enormously talented and unfortunate not to have captured his third win in nine months when runner-up in Germany recently. Has shown he can compete at the highest level in events such as the Masters, the US PGA and the Ryder Cup, but only proper links top-10 came at a calm Gullane in 2018. Generally finds this type of golf a little frustrating and it'll be a good test of this dad zen he talks about sometimes. Definitely has the ability though.

PIOT, James

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Winner of the US Amateur last year and played really well for 18 holes of the US Open, before missing the cut by one. Either side of that has finished mid-pack in the LIV events.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Earned his Open debut with an all-the-way win in the John Deere Classic, before which he'd been runner-up in the Travelers. Clearly at the top of his game but generally needs a short course and low scoring and lacks links experience. Have to respect the results though.

POTGIETER, Aldrich (a)

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Dominant winner of the Amateur Championship who is straight out of the George Coetzee school of burly South Africans. Showed lovely hands and bags of bottle there at Lytham.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 73.00

Best days behind him now and though they did include some near-misses in the Open, his best St Andrews effort in four tries is 11th place back in 2005, and he was rarely a threat in the Dunhill Links when he used to play it. So desperate to spend more time away from the course polishing his cars that he will quite literally go to court to avoid missing the opportunity to shoot 10-over in the Scottish Open.

POWER, Seamus

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

One of the most improved performers in world golf over the last 18 months or so and eyes now fixed on making a Ryder Cup debut next year. No doubt his efforts in majors will stand him in good stead, finishing 27th in the Masters, ninth in the US PGA and 12th in the US Open, all of them debut efforts. Game has no real weakness but there might just be a reasonable concern that it's a pretty modern one, which is to say 'Irish = must love the links' could be a risky assumption to make. Unlikely winner on Open debut but there are some players who come along and just know how to produce at the highest level and he could be one of them.

Get up to 14 places on each-way bets

QUAYLE, Anthony

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Decent Australian who won the Queensland PGA back in January but qualified when finishing second in May's Mizuno Open.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 73.00

Disappointed when in the mix for the US Open and it's been a bit of a head-scratching year, with another low-grade PGA Tour win not to be sniffed at but performances when it matters most leaving plenty to be desired. Still one of the best couple of players in the world and progressive Open record has seen him hang around on the fringes in each of the last two renewals. Should enjoy St Andrews and wouldn't dwell too much on his 73 there in the 2019 Dunhill Links, albeit he was in red-hot form at the time. Main issue is that his approach play and short-game have been a fair bit below what we've come to expect.

REED, Patrick

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.40

Made a nice Saturday move here in 2015 and has four good Open tries to his name, most recently when 10th under difficult conditions at Portrush. Short-game skills a big weapon and knows all about playing in the wind, but have to be concerned as to the overall quality of his performances before joining LIV. Biggest issue probably driver but approach play and even putting have also been troublesome and he has no high-class form to speak of in over a year, although his wife says the 2018 Masters champion and father of two has never been happier, which is either a lie or desperately sad.

ROSE, Justin

  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.75

Sixth place here in 2015 was his first Open top-10 since he famously finished fourth as an amateur in 1998. Since then has made all five cuts including when charging from the cut-line to second place at Carnoustie, and was in the mix at Portrush before another fast start at Royal St George's. More recently, missed a great chance to shoot 59 in Canada before finishing mid-pack in the US Open, and no doubt remains frustrated he can't quite piece things together. Is the type to raise his game for majors though.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Won the EuroPro Tour Championship last year to get back to the Challenge Tour, where he made a bright start to the year but has since been struggling a little. Knows about fighting in the face of adversity having fractured his spine in February 2016 yet come through Qualifying School less than a year later. Plays out of Knebworth and is freeee-eeee to be whatever heeeee... etc.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Slightly fortunate to win the Travelers Championship but that was technically three wins since he last played in the Open, first in Tokyo, then in a pairs event, and finally ending a long drought in 'proper' PGA Tour events, and he's since added the JP McManus Pro-Am (definitely not counting) and the Scottish Open (definitely am counting). Yet to miss an Open cut, his best effort when second having led through 54 holes in 2018, and closed with a 65 at Royal St George's, so as the form player merits enormous respect. Not sure he's the right second-favourite but we've already had one major won by the hottest player around this year and another would be no surprise.

Xander Schauffele poses with the trophy after winning the Travelers Championship
Xander Schauffele poses with the trophy after winning the Travelers Championship


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Breakout star of 2022 and very much the best player in the world over the last six months, a period in which not only has he won four times, but he so easily could've won four more. That includes the US Open where twice he threatened to burst clear and make it his own only to fall back into the pack and eventually come up just short, and when clumsily losing a play-off at Colonial, an event which means a lot to him. Only failures since January have come when on the wrong side of the draw so will be sweating over tee-times but otherwise boasts an outstanding chance having been eighth on his Open debut last year.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.50

One of many who will feel they ought to have won this seven years ago: he was beaten five shots in 10th, having played the last five holes in five-over. Woof. Whether it has anything to do with such a downfall, he's not since been a threat in the Open, but rounds of 66 and 68 last year and a closing 67 in 2017 remind us how effective a links golfer he can be. Each-way threat if getting his driver back in tune and not weeping when he turns for home and all those memories come flooding back.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.38

Capable operator at a lower level but yet to win on the DP World Tour, his latest experience of contending seeing him left for dead by the brilliant Linn Grant in Sweden.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.75

Back from injury with some solid efforts this spring as he seeks a return to the world's top 50, where he's spent much of the last decade or so. Was on the decline when 40th here in 2015 and has a really solid Open record, making eight of nine cuts without yet cracking the top 10. First-round leader punters note he's placed in that market three times and he's pinged the lids a couple of times recently, but I'd probably be inclined to say he'll struggle to break 70 all week.

SMITH, Cameron

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Very much one of the stars of the early-season, first winning the Tournament of Champions and then defying some wayward drives to capitalise on a good draw at Sawgrass. Spurned two good major opportunities along the way, finishing third in the Masters and then 13th despite an awful putting display in the US PGA, before a disappointing June which included a missed cut in the US Open. I take the view that event doesn't suit him one bit whereas St Andrews just might based on correlations with his beloved Augusta, while his Open record elsewhere shows steady progress and a couple of sneaky efforts the last twice. Chance if back on-song.

SMITH, Jordan

  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.83

Finding it hard to get that overdue second win and it's now five years since his first, so has to go down as frustrating given his quality and consistency. One of the very best ball-strikers on the DP World Tour and more assured on the greens at the moment, so a second win should be a formality and maybe this year. Six rounds at the Old Course and he's yet to shoot worse than level par, but all in the Dunhill Links and is hardly one you'd call a links specialist.

SPIETH, Jordan

  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.50

Fourth here in 2015 when seeking the third leg of the grand slam, which he came agonisingly close to securing. Was at the top of the sport at the time but no surprise he's since become an Open champion, winning a dramatic renewal in trademark fashion at Birkdale before his game left him for a couple of years. Return to form was cemented when runner-up to Morikawa and while still not the player he was seven years ago, his Open record is fabulous: eight appearances, eight cuts made, a win and three further top-10s. It all really started here at the Old Course and he'll be popular after showing further evidence of how the links brings him to life in last week's Scottish Open.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.40

Inspired winner in 2016, getting the better of Mickelson in a duel for the ages at Troon. That was his fourth top-three finish in his last eight Opens and if he is to get competitive in any major it'll surely be this one. Form at St Andrews is strong, with 34th, third and 40th in this, and some hints of form lately including in his native Sweden. All at a far lower level than this, though.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Honda Classic winners always respected given that tough event's rich history of throwing up major champions. That said, form since April has been poor, his long-game is in a bad place, and it'll be disappointing if he's the best Austrian here.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

One of a strong crop of PGA Tour rookies and would probably be standout among them had he won the Travelers, where his 18th hole double-bogey left the way clear for Xander Schauffele. Here's a thing: had he won the Phoenix Open in February, again making a late mistake when bang in the mix, Scottie Scheffler wouldn't have. And then maybe Scheffler wouldn't have gone on to win at Bay Hill, and the Match Play, and Augusta. If Schauffele wins, fans of the film Sliding Doors might argue and with some merit that Theegala was the most influential player of 2022 when it comes to the outcome of majors. What a sport.

THOMAS, Justin

  • St Andrews scoring average: 66.00

Striking scoring average above comes from one round at the 2013 Dunhill Links when in the earliest stages of his career. Has since gone all the way to the top and though the cards fell his way at the PGA Championship, he hit some brilliant shots down the stretch and was a worthy champion. Kept his iron play firing through mid-pack US Open finish and has all the shots despite still seeking his first Open top-10. Worth noting he did start well in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and in 2019 he finished well for 11th. Remain convinced he'll work it out and like many a similar player in the past, could well be St Andrews proves as suitable as he hinted it was all those years ago. Like the fact he went to Ireland to prepare. Can he follow the Stewart Cink path from Lahinch to the Claret Jug?


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.25

Longstanding PGA Tour maiden who made a good fist of things in his first Open start for six years when 26th last summer. Made the cut comfortably here in 2015 but is an unspectacular golfer who so often isn't able to produce his best golf when he'd most like to. Putter could carry him far enough but unlikely to match 14th place in last month's US Open.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Neat Dutchman with a compact swing and very capable at his level, which he's demonstrated a few times on the Challenge Tour this year. Qualified at Fairmont St Andrews and will be making his major debut.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 72.00

Averages 72 at the Old Course. Nothing to see here. Except his last two rounds have been 81 and 64, latterly making it look a bit of a doddle in the Dunhill Links three years ago. Has plenty of links form elsewhere, too, but short-game issues remain a big concern and explain a run of poor form which goes back a few months now. Pops up out of the blue mind.

VARNER, Harold

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Produced one of the moments of the year so far** when holing a monster eagle putt to win the Saudi International, which means this longtime PGA Tour winner has won on the Asian and European equivalents but never his own patch. Had another handful of chances since including when leading through 54 holes of the Heritage and then when carding a final-round 78 in Texas, all adding to his reputation as one who can't get out of his own way when it matters. Would say it'll happen for him one day, but that's rather dependent on remaining a PGA Tour member.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Back-to-back winner at the start of June and that's five wins in his last 70-odd starts for a player who was promising at college once. Zimbabwean will be making his first appearance in Scotland as well as in a major.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.50

Probably bidding farewell to the Old Course here as his exemption for winning the 2016 US PGA expires after this week. Played well here for 30th in 2015 but career derailed by Lyme disease together with other fitness problems. In fact given we've not seen him since April, those on the alternates list will be hopeful.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 70.63

Indignant ex-world number one whose first major top-10 came in this event 25 years ago. Went on to bag five top-five finishes, including runner-up here in 2010, though best chance came in 2013 when leading during the final round. Not much more than a year since he was going close in elite company and finished 14th in the Masters this year, but hopes of emulating Darren Clarke and winning this late in his career seem pretty slim.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.27

Relentlessly good ball-striking throughout his career but the last few seasons have seen his game go up a level, notably when winning winning three times in 2019. That run included a Scottish Open which he followed with 32nd place at Portrush, which to date is his best result in seven Open Championship appearances. Won't surprise you that he ranked third for GIR here in 2015 but could only finish 68th and hasn't been a frequent starter in the Dunhill Links, his strong record in that event also representing some dated form. That said, 15 rounds at the Old Course so far and he's yet to shoot over-par.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 68.79

Masters champion who has a strong Open record, first finishing 15th in 2013, then sixth here two years later, and since making every cut including another top-10 finish at Portrush. Everything he does these days says he's unreliable at a lower level but dangerous at this one, and backers at big prices have got more than a run for their money not just at Portrush but also at St George's and Carnoustie either side. Played in the final group for round three back in 2015 (note: another subsequent major winner who got a feel for it) and has of course won at the Old Course in the Dunhill Links where he's picked up stacks of experience, so at three-figure prices it could absolutely pay to ignore his week-to-week performances.

WISE, Aaron

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Still on one PGA Tour win but plenty to suggest a second is coming, with four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season including a fine second at the Memorial. Top-30s in both major starts too and this Honda Classic runner-up has a decent game for St Andrews, which means I expect him to at least match his share of 41st on Open debut at Portrush. Dark horse.


  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.25

Famed for his stinger and acts well in the wind without yet having appeared an Open champion in the making. Still, made his first seven cuts in the event and returns now in better overall form than he has been for a little while, and no doubt buoyed by a welcome piece of top-class form when 10th in the US Open. Best driver in the field there for his fifth top-10 of the PGA Tour season and continues to look like he's ready to win again. All eyes on Lowry among the 2019 major crop seeking to end a three-year drought, but wouldn't totally discount Woodland beating him to it.

WOODS, Tiger

  • St Andrews scoring average: 69.93

All other scoring averages in this feature relate to rounds played from 2010 onwards, but for the greatest of all time we'll make an exception: Woods has played in four Opens here as a professional and boasts a sub-70 scoring average, despite shooting 76 and 75 when last here in 2015. That's because he won here by eight shots at the height of his powers back in 2000, and by five when returning in 2005. It's no wonder that it's the Old Course rather than Augusta which he calls his favourite in the world, and this has been his target since somehow hauling himself back to a version of fitness following last year's car crash. Woods loves the strategic challenge of St Andrews and so he should as the finest shot-maker of his generation, so it's going to be a real treat to see him tackle it again. Winning seems an absurd thought but his pride and bloody-mindedness may well carry him through to the weekend.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Best known for his coaching work including with girlfriend and LET player Johanna Gustavsson. Still the second-best player from Hartlepool, or so you'd think, and is already something of an Open story having got the better of two-time DP World Tour winner Aaron Rai in a play-off at Final Qualifying.

WU, Brandon

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Sneaks in after a 10-foot par save on the final hole of the Scottish Open. That was the second time he'd qualified for an Open Championship, the first coming courtesy of 36 holes at nearby Fairmont St Andrews, and he continues to demonstrate a level of comfort by the coast. Promising future remains.

YOUNG, Cameron

  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Breakout PGA Tour star this year having tamed his wildness and become one of the very best drivers on the planet. Form has nevertheless cooled since third place in the US PGA and lacks links experience. Suspect he'll make an eagle two along the way but too many mistakes alongside it.


  • St Andrews scoring average: n/a

Very difficult to do justice to the absurdity of his professional career so far. I mean, he's not won at PGA Tour level, and yet has been second in three majors. He's a statistically and visually awful putter, and yet for four weeks a year seems to become deadly. He was a PGA Tour rookie of the year who wasn't allowed to play in the PGA Tour's end-of-year play-offs during that campaign. It's all very, very silly, but hopefully for poor Zalatoris things even themselves out and he wins his first top-tier event, perhaps on the biggest stage of all. Wouldn't put it past him and remember he had started well when forced to withdraw from last year's Open debut through injury. Could he be a reverse Louis Oosthuizen, who won this in 2010 and then kept finishing second?

ZANOTTI, Fabrizio

  • St Andrews scoring average: 71.79

Three birdies over the final four holes of the Irish Open to ensure Zalatoris doesn't prop up the profiles again. Fab.

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