150th Open: Rory McIlroy beaten for title by Gary Player, while Tiger Woods ‘could be a force’ | Golf News

Nine-time major winner Gary Player has won The Open three times and is backing Rory McIlroy to win the tournament for the second time this week; Watch live coverage of the 150th Open from St Andrews on Sky Sports The Open, with the first round starting from 6.30am on Thursday

Last Updated: 10/07/22 11:25 AM

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Watch every moment of the 150th Open, live only here on Sky Sports.

Watch every moment of the 150th Open, live only here on Sky Sports.

Nine-time major winner and three-time Open winner Gary Player is tipping Rory McIlroy to end his eight-year major drought with victory at the 150th Open at St Andrews this week.

McIlroy, billed by the Player as “the most talented golfer in the world today,” has four majors under his belt, but the last of those came in 2014 – the same year as his only previous Open win at Royal Liverpool.

The Northern Irishman has threatened at each of the other three majors in 2022, registering top-10 finishes in all of them, which includes a second-place finish to Scotty Scheffler at The Masters.

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Speaking of Sky Sports as part of The 150th Open Championship Claret Jug Tour, in partnership with HSBC UK, Player said: “I think the light bulb will go on and McIlroy will win The Open.

“St Andrews is a wide open golf course and with its length that will be an advantage.

Sir Nick Faldo looks ahead to The Open, would he consider playing and Tiger Woods' chances.

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Sir Nick Faldo looks ahead to The Open, would he consider playing and Tiger Woods’ chances.

Sir Nick Faldo looks ahead to The Open, would he consider playing and Tiger Woods’ chances.

“He’s the most talented golfer in the world today. He has the best swing, he is a physical specimen – I admire him so much for his work ethic – and a wonderful young man.

“He pulls the ball, which is a big advantage at St Andrews, and the greens are big, so he’s not going to have a lot of chips – which I don’t think is the best part of his game.

“He’s my pick to win.”

Rory McIlroy tests Tiger Woods driver ahead of JP McManus Pro Am tournament.

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Rory McIlroy tests Tiger Woods driver ahead of JP McManus Pro Am tournament.

Rory McIlroy tests Tiger Woods driver ahead of JP McManus Pro Am tournament.

Woods “could be a force” at St Andrews

The player is thrilled to see The Open return to the home of golf, with St Andrews hosting the tournament’s 150th iteration described as “most fitting”.

Tiger Woods, who won two of his three Open titles at the Old Course – in 2000 and 2005 – is set to return this week after missing the US Open with injury.

Take a look back at Tiger Woods winning his second Open title at St. Andrews in 2005.

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Take a look back at Tiger Woods winning his second Open title at St. Andrews in 2005.

Take a look back at Tiger Woods winning his second Open title at St. Andrews in 2005.

The 15-time major champion has played in just three televised tournaments since suffering career-threatening injuries in a car crash in Los Angeles last February, competing alongside his son at the PNC Championship in December before playing in the first two men’s majors for 2022

The player believes a hat-trick of wins at St Andrews will be beyond Woods but believes he is still capable of the challenge.

“He loves St. Andrews,” Player said. “And it’s an easy walking golf course, so he can be a force.

Ahead of the Open, 15-time major champion Tiger Woods says he wants to give it at least one more go by playing at a high level at St Andrews.

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Ahead of the Open, 15-time major champion Tiger Woods says he wants to give it at least one more go by playing at a high level at St Andrews.

Ahead of the Open, 15-time major champion Tiger Woods says he wants to give it at least one more go by playing at a high level at St Andrews.

“Do I think he can win another major? I don’t think so, but I’ll happily eat humble pie if he does – I’d like to see him do it because he’s lifted so many people up with his comeback.

“They see Tiger after all these hardships come out and play, it’s very encouraging for people. I’d like to see him win, though I don’t believe he can. Then again, he’s Tiger Woods.”

“St Andrews Suits US Open Champion Fitzpatrick”

In terms of other potential contenders, Player backed US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick to have another successful week after securing his first major at Brookline last month.

Matt Fitzpatrick won his first major at the US Open by two shots on the 72nd hole.

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Matt Fitzpatrick won his first major at the US Open by two shots on the 72nd hole.

Matt Fitzpatrick won his first major at the US Open by two shots on the 72nd hole.

“He’s a wonderful player and a wonderful young man,” Player said. “And funnily enough, I picked him to win because the US Open is played on a very different course than the regular tour.

“The Regular Tour is wide open, the Masters is wide open, while the US Open is a true test of a golfer with narrow fairways. You have to hit the ball straight and he’s a very straight hitter in addition to being one of the best putters in the game.

Matt Fitzpatrick says he received a congratulatory phone call from Jack Nicklaus after winning the US Open in Brooklyn.

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Matt Fitzpatrick says he received a congratulatory phone call from Jack Nicklaus after winning the US Open in Brooklyn.

Matt Fitzpatrick says he received a congratulatory phone call from Jack Nicklaus after winning the US Open in Brooklyn.

“St Andrews is a very good course for him because it’s not long and he’s a very good player. If he wins one more it will be very, very impressive – winning one is impressive enough, more would be amazing.”

Gary Player supports The 150th Open Championship Claret Jug Tour, in partnership with HSBC UK. The tour visits schools, golf clubs, town centers and HSBC branches across the UK and Ireland, finishing in St Andrews for The 150th Open in July.

Watch the 150th Open all week live on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel – Sky Sports The Open! Live coverage of the opening round begins on Thursday at 6.30am – before kick-off – and continues until the end of play.

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