Carnoustie Golf Links, 7,402 yards, par 71
Defending champion: Jordan Spieth, -12 at Royal Birkdale. Exploded on the last 5 holes, birdieing 14 after almost making an ace on the par 3, then drained a long eagle putt on 15, birdied 16 and 17 and parred in for a 69 and a 3 shot victory over Matt Kuchar. It was an exceptional display of golf by the Gunslinger.
Weather: Some rain showers not a lot of rain though. It's been very dry in Scotland and the players have been crushing their drives in practice rounds. Still a challenging track that can beat a player up. Ask Jean Van De Velde in 1999 who had maybe the most colossal collapse in major championship history. The Frenchman led by 3 shots going into 18 before triple bogeying while making some massively inept decisions along the way that led to a playoff in which he lost to Scotsman Paul Lawrie. Temperatures in the high 60's, and low to mid 70's, warm for Scotland and winds anywhere from 9 to 18, which could change over the weekend. High winds can cause problems.
Last time the Open was played at Carnoustie, in 2007, Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff to capture the Championship.
TV: All times CT***
Thursday-Friday: 12:30 AM-3 PM Golf Channel
Saturday: 3:30-6 AM Golf Channel, 6 AM-2 PM NBC
Sunday: 3:30-6 AM, Golf Channel, 6 AM-1:30 PM NBC
Contenders: I'd put Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Masters champion Patrick Reed, back to back U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who played on the Challenge Tour in Europe so he has several years of experience playing across the pond, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose in contention to emerge victorious just to name some big guns. Tiger Woods not likely. Phil, could be competitive, but I doubt he'll win.
I'm going to take the 23 year old from Barrika, Basque Country, Spain. He's ready to win a major, and I like him on his home continent's turf. He's got the length, and the putting to get to capture the championship on a demanding track. The Spaniard captures the Claret Jug on Sunday.