British Open 2021: How to watch on TV, tee times, favourites and weather forecast

All you need to know ahead of the final Major of the year at Royal St George’s

Shane Lowry walks the course with his caddie Brian Martin during a practice round ahead of The 149th Open at Royal St Georg’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England. Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Shane Lowry walks the course with his caddie Brian Martin during a practice round ahead of The 149th Open at Royal St Georg’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England. Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

 

What’s happening?

It’s time for the final Major championship of the men’s season as the world’s best pitch up in Sandwich, Kent for the British Open at Royal St George’s.

When does it start?

Play will get underway just after 6.30am on Thursday morning (July 15th) and run until Sunday evening.

What are the tee times?

All times Irish - Gbr and Irl unless stated - (x) denotes amateur – all off first tee

 0635 R Bland, A Sullivan, M Armitage

0646 Chan Kim (USA), J Harding (Rsa), Haotong Li (Chn)

0657 M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), G Fernandez-Castano (Esp), x-A Gallegos (Arg)

0708 A Noren (Swe), JC Ritchie (Rsa), R Mansell

0719 D Burmester (Rsa), D Willett, x-L Shepherd

0730 C Bezuidenhout (Rsa), S Horsfield, Min Woo Lee (Aus)

0741 V Hovland (Nor), R Palmer (USA), T Detry (Bel)

0752 P Casey, A Ancer (Mex), I Poulter

0803 B Koepka (USA), J Kokrak (USA), G Higgo (Rsa)

0814 D Berger (USA), J Niemann (Chl), J Dahmen (USA)

0825 D Clarke, B Wiesberger (Aut), x-J Long

0836 C Kirk (USA), M Kinhult (Swe), J Senior

0847 T Gooch (USA), CT Pan (Tpe), J Thomson

0903 E Els (Rsa), G Woodland (USA), x-C Hammer (USA)

0914 S Burns (USA, L Herbert (Aus), J Campillo (Esp)

0925 J Spieth (USA), B DeChambeau (USA), B Grace (Rsa)

0936 B Harman (USA), M Hughes (Can), D Frittelli (Rsa)

0947 V Perez (Fra), K Streelman (USA), G Migliozzi (Ita)

0958 S Lowry, J Rahm (Esp), L Oosthuizen (Rsa)

1009 S Cink (USA), L Westwood, M Kaymer (Ger)

1020 D Johnson (USA), W Zalatoris (USA), J Rose

1031 S Scheffler (USA), S Garcia (Esp), x-Yuxin Lin (Chn)

1042 H English (USA), E Van Rooyen (Rsa), C Reavie (USA)

1053 L Glover (USA), Byeong Hun An (Kor), B Snedeker (USA)

1104 C Tringale (USA), T Kanaya (Jpn), M Schneider (Ger)

1115 L Griffin (USA), R Hoshino (Jpn), C Worsdall

1136 A Rai, P Waring, D Croft

1147 D van Tonder (Rsa), J Janewattananond (Tha), x-C Bring (Den)

1158 H Varner III (USA), B Steele (USA), x-M Schmid (Ger)

1209 T Merritt (USA), A Long (USA), J Ahlers (Rsa)

1220 J Day (Aus), J Luiten (Ned), J Veerman (USA)

1231 J Catlin (USA), R Langasque (Fra), A Pike (Aus)

1242 P Harrington, B Kennedy (Aus), S Forgan

1253 T Finau (USA), B Horschel (USA), A Hadwin (Can)

1304 P Cantlay (USA, M Fitzpatrick, R Fox (Nzl)

1315 F Molinari (Ita), M Leishman (Aus), M Wallace

1326 C Morikawa (USA), C Conners (Can), S Munoz (Col)

1337 J Scrivener (Aus), K Mitchell (USA), x-S Bairstow

1348 C Hoffman (USA), E Grillo (Arg), B Hebert (Fra)

1404 K Bradley (USA), R T Lee (Can), R Cabrera Bello (Esp)

1415 C Ortiz (Mex), B Todd (USA), M Schwab (Aut)

1426 W Simpson (USA), R Henley (USA), S Norris (Rsa)

1437 M Jones (Aus), D Hillier (Nzl), M Siem (Ger)

1448 P Mickelson (USA), T Hatton, K Kisner (USA)

1459 X Schauffele (USA), R MacIntyre, R Fowler (USA)

1510 J Thomas (USA), T Fleetwood, A Scott (Aus)

1521 R McIlroy, P Reed (USA), C Smith (Aus)

1532 H Stenson (Swe), M Homa (USA), M Kuchar (USA)

1543 A Rozner (Fra), R Kinoshita (Jpn), B Hutchinson

1554 K Kitayama (USA), D Lawson (Aus), P Saksansin (Tha)

1605 Y Inamori (Jpn), J Walker (USA), R Celia (Col)

1616 R Karlberg (Swe), R Nagano (Jpn), N Poppleton

How can I watch it?

The Open always has the most extensive coverage of any of the four Majors and, since Sky Sports took over the rights in 2016, they’ve committed to showing every minute of play from all four days. That means we’re in for a marathon of golf watching over the four days with close to 55 hours of live coverage in total. On Saturday and Sunday you’ll be able to follow all of the action on The Irish Times liveblog.

Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30am.

Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30am.

Saturday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 9am.

Sunday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8am.

BBC will also broadcast a two-hour highlights programme on each of the four days at 8pm.

What Irish players are in the field?

Well let’s start with the defending champion. Shane Lowry comes into this week after a full two years with the Claret Jug in his possession after last year’s tournament was cancelled due to Covid-19. While the Irish Open didn’t go as well as the Offalyman would have hoped he did manage to finish with a round of 66 to take some form into the final Major of the year where he knows he could really do with a big finish to help his chances of automatic Ryder Cup qualification. After opting to skip the Scottish Open, Lowry practiced in Ireland at Portmarnock and Lahinch last week before making his way to Kent.

And what of Rory McIlroy? Well, the 2014 champion missed the cut at the Scottish Open a week after a mediocre performance at the Irish Open where he was never in contention. Last month’s showing at the US Open - where he started the final day in the second last group and could well have been in the mix come the climax were it not for a bogey and a double bogey at the 12th and 13th - may have rekindled some Major fire in McIlroy but it would take most by surprise if he claimed a second Claret Jug here this week. However, he will at least want to improve on the disastrous showing at Royal Portrush in 2019 when an opening hole quadruple bogey eight set him on his way to missing the cut in front of his home fans. Earlier this week the 32-year-old spoke about what he learned from that and how he wants to avoid those mistakes again.

Rory McIlroy speaks to the media. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Rory McIlroy speaks to the media. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

But a man gunning for his third Claret Jug is Pádraig Harrington. The European Ryder Cup captain has shown some impressive form on the course of late, securing a tied-18th finish at the Scottish Open after three rounds in the 60s and a closing 70. Two months ago he tied for fourth at the US PGA, booking himself a spot at next year’s Masters and proving he is still well able to mix it with the world’s best, particular on tough layouts playing firm and fast. After his final round on Sunday the 49-year-old was bullish about his chances of perhaps emulating Phil Mickelson’s heroics and winning another Major.

Last but not least in the group of four Irish players in the field is Darren Clarke. This will be a special Open for the 52-year-old who won his only Major title at Royal St George’s 10 years ago. Clarke finished in the top-30 at the US Senior Open on Sunday and comes into this week with two Champions Tour victories under his belt this season.

Who are the favourites?

Jon Rahm is very much the man in the spotlight at the moment after his victory at last month’s US Open and the world number two is rightly tagged as the favourite this week to lift a second Major title in-a-row. Rahm has shown his links credentials before by winning the Irish Open twice at Portstewart and Lahinch and he belied any fears of rust at the Scottish Open over the weekend with a seventh place finish which included a front nine of just 29 on Friday when he tore the Renaissance Club to pieces. With the form he’s in and with the confidence of claiming a first Major title it’s hard to bet against the Spaniard this week.

Rahm plays his second shot on the 13th hole at The Renaissance Club. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Rahm plays his second shot on the 13th hole at The Renaissance Club. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Brooks Koepka is yet to win an Open Championship but he continues to show us why he is the main Major championship thoroughbred of the current generation with his tied-fourth finish at last month’s US Open added to his tied-second at the US PGA, all while carrying an injury. Granted, the final rounds didn’t go the way the American wanted them to but he just seems to be an ever-presence at the top of the leaderboard in the biggest events and, while the Open has traditionally been his weakest of the four, it’d be no surprise to anyone if he’s in contention again come Sunday.

Whether he will finally be paired alongside Bryson DeChambeau over the final two rounds is another question. It’s all gone a little flat for the 2020 US Open champion over the last couple of months and the fact that he hasn’t managed to finish even inside the top 25 at any of the three Majors so far this year is a surprise - his horror show of a back nine 44 on Sunday at Torrey Pines still fresh in the memory. DeChambeau split with his caddie Tim Tucker before the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks ago and then went on to miss the cut in the defence of his title so he comes in here - to a Major in which he has made the cut just once and finished tied for 51st - with some issues on his plate.

Since winning the Valero Texas Open in April and reeling off five top-10 finishes in six tournaments, Jordan Spieth has quietened just a little but he did still manage a top-20 at the US Open. The Texan knows how to win an Open - who could forget Birkdale in 2017? - and if his putter can behave a little better this week he could well haul himself into contention coming down the stretch. Dustin Johnson’s form since winning the Masters in November has slumped completely and it’s hard to know what shape the world number one’s game is in coming into this week so Justin Thomas may well be the best American hope on paper.

Thomas was right in contention at the Scottish Open over the weekend, finishing three shots outside the playoff at 15 under par and appears to be slowly getting the hang of links golf - his tied-11th finish in Portrush was a major improvement on previous Open performances.

There aren’t too many of the top players coming into this week looking like they’re in top form (bar Rahm) and that looks to point to this being quite an open Open. Viktor Hovland came back from withdrawing from the US Open last month with an eye injury to win the BMW International Open in Germany the following week and his relentless form which has yielded seven top-10s this season means he’s worth a look every time a Major rolls around these days.

On Sunday, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson both withdrew after Matsuyama tested positive for Covid-19 while Watson was a close contact of a positive case. They joined a slew of players who have already pulled out of the event including Matt Wolff, Kevin Na and Danny Lee.

What’s the weather going to be like?

At the time of writing it looks like the R&A are going to be blessed with the weather for their first Open in two years. Showers are forecast for the practice days at Royal St George’s but from Thursday on it’s looking like about 21 degrees and sunny with a healthy breeze each day.

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