By Nick Bonfield published
BBC commentator and favourite Ken Brown gives his views on The 144th Open Championship at the Old Course in St Andrews
Below, BBC commentator and fan favourite Ken Brown gives his views on The 144th Open Championship at the Old Course in St Andrews...
On Rory's injury:
"I think part of his uniqueness is that he leads a normal life. If you're going to do that, occasionally things like that are going to happen. If you want to have a nicely balanced life it's nice to be able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.
"To miss The Open is bad, to miss The Open at St Andrews is worse, to miss The Open when you're playing well is awful. He was absolutely fantastic on those final two days at Chambers Bay.
"It's a big miss, but it'll stand him in good stead having that balance in his life."
On the favourites:
"Jordan Spieth comes in with the most confidence, but experience is key at St Andrews. It's a course that takes a little getting to know. Learning a course in two days is not easy, especially the Old Course. It's more than a little handy having a simulator to practice on, but it's a difficult ask, but possible if the weather's kind.
"Justin Rose plays so consistently well now that he seems to compete anywhere. He has such a marvellous attitude. I don't think links golf is his favourite, but he won last year at Royal Aberdeen and he knows the course like the back of his hand."
"It's a perfect course for Dustin Johnson. It couldn't be any better. He knows he can play links golf well and you feel he's destined to win a major. Rory had his misfortune and then came back and won the next major. Dustin's had his misfortune so perhaps it'll be the same for him."
On home hopes:
"Shane Lowry loves links golf and he's now competing with the best more often. His pitching and chipping are right there with Phil Mickelson and he's gaining in confidence all the time.
"I can see Tommy Fleetwood having a nice run at The Open Championship. His game's coming on and he's a good young player."
Related: how the Old Course is playing
On Tiger Woods:
"It's Tiger's favourite course. It's made for him. It allows you to get away with one or two odd shots, but you're not going to win a Major Championship if you don't know where your ball's going.
"His form is a bit better after the Greenbrier and his confidence is slowly coming back. Like Augusta, if there's a week where he's going to raise his game and come up with the goods, it could be at St Andrews.
"To play your best golf and win majors, confidence is a huge factor, but confidence can be built quickly on a nine-hole run. Who knows, it's Tiger. Fantastic things happen to him."
On the Old Course:
"Of all the Open courses it's the one that's been most savaged by modern equipment. When I played in the 80s, strategically it was a much more interesting golf course. There were spots that actually frightened you.
"The only way they can make it harder is by pushing tees back, which they've sort of already done. Plus, moving a tee back 10 yards is not going to counter anything nowadays. It needs to be 40 or 50 yards to make any difference."
One Putt - The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Putting by Ken Brown, published by Hamlyn, £18.99 www.octopusbooks.co.uk
Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel with The Masters and USPGA respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email email@example.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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