Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time to get those alarm clocks ready to go. The Open is here.
While everyone’s Open Championship routines are different, most involve early mornings and (hopefully) a couple of cups of coffee. Whether you want to get up at 4 a.m. or hit snooze a few times, there are plenty of groups to keep an eye on during the first two rounds of the 151st Open.
Thursday / Friday tee times (all times ET)
1:35 a.m. / 6:36 a.m. – Matthew Jordan, Richie Ramsay, Brandon Grace – 1:35 a.m.? Are you a sicko?
3:47 a.m. / 8:48 a.m. – Sam Burns, Sepp Straka, Chris Kirk – There are a couple Ryder Cup chaos agents in this group. Burns obviously has the talent to compete at a major championship but he’s yet to finish better than T-20 in a big one. Still, he played on the 2022 Presidents Cup team and is undoubtedly in the mix for one of the final three spots on the U.S. team. Similarly, a strong finish to the season from Staka likely puts him on the Euro squad.
4:03 a.m. / 9:04 a.m. – Jordan Spieth, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jason Day – The Matrix Group. Take the blue pill and they contend on Sunday. The red and they miss the cut.
4:14 a.m. / 9:15 a.m. – Padraig Harrington, Seamus Power, Talor Gooch – Of the wily veterans, Paddy seems to have the ability and length to actually compete this week. He’s not as old as Tom Watson was in 2009, but a 51-year-old Open winner would be a hell of a story. Also, sh*t or get off the pot, Talor.
4:36 a.m. / 9:37 a.m. – Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama – It’s worth getting up in the middle of the night just to see if Brooks can handle the slow play from his playing partners. He’ll also likely be leading after 36 holes. Cantlay will finish between seventh and 15th, but you already knew that.
Pick your Patrick Cantlay stat, positive or negative:
Cantlay is the only player to finish in the top-15 in each of the last five men's majors
Cantlay has never been closer than 5 shots off the lead entering the final round of a major
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) July 18, 2023
4:47 a.m. / 9:48 a.m. – Scottie Scheffler, Tommy Fleetwood, Adam Scott – First one to miss the center of the clubface has to exit early. Don’t worry, though. That won’t happen.
4:58 a.m. / 9:59 a.m. – Cameron Smith, Xander Schauffele, Wyndham Clark – The most recent major champion tees it up with the defending champion and a guy who should be a major champion by now. Every member of this group should be able to shape the ball and have some fun with the ground game.
5:09 a.m. / 10:10 a.m. – Shane Lowry, Rickie Fowler, Robert MacIntyre – Hard to find a group with better vibes than this one. I just hope Shane and Bobby Mac don’t team up to bully ol’ Rick.
7:42 a.m. / 2:41 a.m – Min Woo Lee, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Harrison Crowe (a) – Whether Hoylake is firm and fast or slower than in years past, I think Min Woo Lee has a real chance to contend. The guy has five top 30s in his last seven major starts and finished T-5 at LACC. C-Bez and the guy from Stranger Things are a great pairing to get him into contention before the weekend.
Really cool to see that Dustin from Stranger Things grew up and qualified for the Masters pic.twitter.com/xmAIV2nhOz
— Will Knights (@willknightsTFE) April 6, 2023
8:26 a.m. / 3:26 a.m. – Sahith Theegala, Emiliano Grillo, Dustin Johnson – Not that this is necessarily a bad pairing for Dustin, but it seems below him, yeah?
9:48 a.m. / 4:47 a.m. – Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, Justin Thomas – Hovland has four straight top 20s in major championships and has finished T-12 and T-4 in his first two Opens. All three players in this group have shown the ability to flight their ball however they want in conditions, so if the wind kicks up at all and these guys are playing well, drop what you’re dong and tune in.
9:59 a.m. / 4:58 a.m. – Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose – Barring a Justin Rose brain freeze, every member of this group figures to be in the hunt come the weekend. I don’t need to say much else about Rory and Rahm at this point, do I?
10:10 a.m. / 5:10 a.m. – Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Tyrrell Hatton – If you asked me to name three guys who need to show me something at the end of the 2023 major season, these three might be Nos. 1, 2, and 3. Let’s see what they got.
Don’t hit snooze. We’ll see you in the darkness.