Spaniard Jon Rahm appears as British Open favorite in Sandwich (South-East) since Thursday; Golf fans are back after the cancellation of the 2020 edition, but many stars during the Royal St George will be deprived of the pandemic.
The Kent Course and VIP Box can hold up to 32,000 spectators per day. Irishman Shane Lowry will be there to defend his claret jug, but not eventual Masters winners Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson or Jack Johnson, all tested positive for Covid-19 or a contact case.
Players will be closely monitored, with a formal ban on visiting a bar, restaurant or supermarket, leaving an approved hotel or sharing private accommodation with more than four people under its management or any other player involved .
“I don’t have my whole team, I don’t have my coach, I don’t have my boss,” regrets American Brooks Koepka. “It’s not as good to eat with me, my caddy Rick, my physiotherapist and my manager,” says the winner of the four majors.
Rahm is a favorite of logistical bookmakers as he is in great shape and won the US Open at Torrey Pines last month. But this week he was overtaken by world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who is playing less well than him at the moment.
Despite the many restrictions still in place due to the pandemic, the Spaniard expects to be surprised by the crowd at Royal St George: “I didn’t expect this tournament to be the first with full spectators, because of the lockdown and other restrictions, but I Excited because we missed it.”
– Fleetwood, English Hope –
Rahm, who was hit by the virus in June and forced to withdraw from the PGA Memorial as he led by six strokes ahead of the US Open, prepared well by finishing 7th with a very steep plateau at the Open de Scotland on Sunday of.
He will face Tommy Fleetwood who is heavily supported by fans, such as the Three Lions during Euro Football. And like him he will try to end a long-term famine for England: no winner of the historical name “The Open” since Nick Faldo in 1992.
The footballer-looking Englishman is not bothered by the pandemic: “There are slightly different rules, in terms of logistics, there are masks, but when I’m at the driving range, on the green or on the tee number 1, I’m doing what I always have,” Fleetwood said.
– McIlroy, wait seven years… –
As far as Rory McIlroy is concerned, he will try to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot North Irishman Darren Clarke, the eventual winner of the British Open at Royal St George’s ten years ago.
McIlroy is only 32 years old, but he’s already been looking forward to his fifth Major for seven years, since 2014 when he won the British Open and the PGA Championship. His latest results are anything but encouraging: 59th at the Irish Open, missed the Scottish Open.
French golf will be well represented at this Open, with five players who have shined in recent months and are well-established in the European or even the world: Victor Pérez, Antoine Rosner, Romain Langesque, Benjamin Hébert and Mike Lorenzo-Vera.
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