The Open Championships is my least favorite major of the year, only for the fact of the time difference prohibits as much live watching as I would like.

That being said, it is probably my wife’s favorite major for the exact same reason!

Regardless of how much I get to watch live, I will be grabbing as much information as I can, even when it comes to waking up in the middle of the night, grabbing my phone and checking the leaderboard, even at 3 a.m. our time!

The 149th version of the tournament gets underway late Wednesday night here in California – there is 8-hour time difference – as the first groups tee off at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, Kent, England.

Here is the TV schedule for the event that will be shown on Golf Channel and NBC.

Thursday, July 15: 1 a.m-12 p.m. PDT (Golf Channel); Friday, July 16: 1 a.m-12 p.m. PDT (Golf Channel); Saturday, July 17: 2-4 a.m. PDT (Golf Channel); 4 a.m.-12 p.m. PDT (NBC)
Sunday, July 18: 1-4 a.m. ET (Golf Channel); 4 a.m.-11 a.m. PDT (NBC)

Shane Lowry is the defending champion, having won the tournament in 2019 at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Lowry, who hails from Ireland, was a four-stroke winner over Tommy Fleetwood.

There was no tournament held last year because of COVID-19.

This is the 15th time the tournament is being played at the Royal St. George’s links course with the first coming 1894, as it was the first course to host The Open outside of Scotland.

Only St. Andrews (29), Prestwick (24) and Muirfield (16) have hosted more Open Championships.

It was also the site for arguably the most unlikely winner when American Ben Curtis won the Open Championship in 2003.

Curtis was ranked 396th in the world when he won in his major appearance. He started the year outside of the top 1,000 golfers in the world ranking and only moved into the top 500 two weeks before the tournament.

So, who wins the Claret Jug this year? Will there be another longshot come from the clouds?

I don’t think so. The talent base has gotten too deep for that to happen. I can still remember the days – they were not that long ago – when a major rolled around, there was 3-4 golfers mentioned in the conversation for the winner.

Now, you can go at least 20 deep in every major for the winner.

Heading into the event there is a favorite in U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm. Rahm is universally agreed as the best player in the world right now and has his game firing on all cylinders.

But throw in the names Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Louis Oosthuizen, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Scottie Sheffler, Lowry, Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau, Daniel Berger, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, and Harris English, and a case can be made for just about all of them to win The Open.

In my fantasy contests I will have Rahm and Koepka for sure and am contemplating Schauffele, Spieth, Oosthuizen, and possibly Reed as other members.

My preferred viewing of the tournament is to watch coverage around 6 a.m. the first two days, then go for the 3 a.m. wake-up call on Saturday and Sunday.

Enjoy the tournament and let’s hope for a thrilling finale!

By Dennis Miller

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