The 151st Open Championship is here, with the world’s best golfers descending on Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England for the final major of the 2023 calendar. Royal Liverpool is hosting the major event for the 13th time in history and the first since 2014. Tournament play kicks off on Thursday, July 20th, with the opening round, and a champion is crowned following four days of play on Sunday, July 23rd.

Australia’s Cameron Smith is the defending champion after capturing his first major title last year at St. Andrews. Smith made a late charge on Sunday to win the Claret Jug, shooting a four-day score of 268 (20-under). Smith defeated Cameron Young by one shot and 56-hole leader Rory McIlroy by two.

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Royal Liverpool Golf Club

The golf course was founded in 1869 and was originally designed by Robert Chambers and George Morris. Harry Colt took care of the first redesign in the early 20th century, and the property has been tweaked periodically since to adjust for the advancements in equipment. After a 39-year hiatus, the venue hosted the Open Championship again in 2006, with Tiger Woods taking home his third Open trophy. 

There have been dozens of changes made to the course since it last hosted the 2014 championship. The par-71 layout stretches approximately 7,313 yards from the back tees. Notable changes include a new par-3 17th, replacing a par 4, and the tenth hole now playing as a par 4 versus a par 5.

The Field

The field of 156 players is set following the conclusion of last week’s Scottish Open and Barbasol Championship in the States. Players in the field have gained entry through various forms, including regional and final qualifying as well as exemptions based on official world golf rankings. Amateurs in the field include the winners of the Amateur Championship and U.S. Amateur.

Players who earned their way into the field through the Open Qualifying Series included Kurt Kitayama, Trey Mullinax, Harris English, Davis Riley, and Ben Griffin. Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan made it through Final Qualifying in West Lancashire to earn a spot in the Open, playing his home course.

Betting Favorites

The top of the pre-tournament odds board is littered with the top golfers in the world. Rory McIlroy (+800), winner of last week’s Scottish Open, headlines the list of favorites heading into Thursday’s first round.

McIlroy’s Scottish Open win was the 24th of his career as gears up for a run at the final major of the season. A win at Royal Liverpool would be McIlroy’s first major title since 2014.

The no. 1 and no. 2 players in the world, Scottie Scheffler (+900) and Jon Rahm (+900), trail closely behind McIlroy. Scheffler had another solid week in Scotland, settling for a T3 finish. The finish was the seventh consecutive result inside the top five for the 27-year-old. Rahm hasn’t been in action since early June and has played just four times since a solo second at the Mexico Open at the end of April.

2023 PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka (+1200) and last year’s Open champion Smith (+1800) round out the top five betting favorites. Koepka can add his first Claret Jug and sixth major victory to his resume with a victory. Smith hopes to be the first golfer since Tiger in ‘05 and ‘06 to win back-t0-back Open titles.

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