Who will win The Open 2022? Can Tiger Woods pull off a fairytale win? Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy & more

Winning The Open on any occasion is special, but a real thrill is in store at St Andrews for someone as the winner of the event’s 150th edition.
Scottie Scheffler is one of the main contenders for The Open.Scottie Scheffler is one of the main contenders for The Open.
Scottie Scheffler is one of the main contenders for The Open.

Scottie Scheffler (The Masters), Justin Thomas (PGA Championship) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (US Open) have been the major winners so far this season, but who will claim the Claret Jug at the home of golf?

Here are six of the likely leading contenders:

Scottie Scheffler

Jon Rahm landed his first major last year.Jon Rahm landed his first major last year.
Jon Rahm landed his first major last year.

Age: 26

Nationality: USA

Previous major wins: 2022 Masters

The Texas-based player has enjoyed a fairytale 2022 season, having opened the floodgates after landing a maiden win in the WM Phoenix Open in February.

Tiger Woods has won The Open three times in the past - twice at St Andrews.Tiger Woods has won The Open three times in the past - twice at St Andrews.
Tiger Woods has won The Open three times in the past - twice at St Andrews.
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In a run of just six events, he also triumphed in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and, last but not least, The Masters.

On the back of that blistering burst, Scheffler rose to world No 1 and came close to adding a second major title in last month’s US Open.

After a hot start on the final day at Brookline, he was out in front only to be overtaken on the back nine by Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Scheffler tied for eighth in his debut in The Open at Royal St George’ last year.

Collin Morikawa

Age: 25

Nationality: USA

Previous major wins: 2020 PGA Championship, 2021 Open

The Californian has developed a knack of being a man for the big occasions in his relatively short professional career.

In an event played behind closed doors due to the Covid pandemic, he produced a polished performance when winning the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Proving that was certainly no fluke, Morikawa then added the 2021 Open, creating history in the process as the first player to win two different majors in debut appearances.

The 2021 Race to Dubai winner has been a bit quiet so far this season, though he showed signs in the US Open that his game could be about to click again.

Rory McIlroy

Age: 33

Nationality: Northern Ireland

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Previous major wins: 2011 US Open, 2012 PGA Championship, 2014 Open, 2014 PGA Championship

After his win at Royal Liverpool the year before, McIlroy was due to be the defending champion at St Andrews in 2015 only to miss the event after injuring himself in a football kickabout.

That title triumph on Merseyside was McIlroy’s last major and he’s desperate to get kick-started again in the game’s showpiece events.

He made flying starts in both the PGA Championship and US Open in recent months before seeing his challenge fizzle out in both those events.

But, on a course he knows well, having tied for third in the 2010 Open and also playing it quite a bit in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, he’ll be aiming to go the distance at St Andrews.

Jon Rahm

Age: 27

Nationality: Spain

Previous major wins: 2021 US Open

Seve Ballesteros lit up St Andrews as he punched the air in delight after winning the 1988 Open and now Rahm is aiming to do likewise.

He produced a brilliant display to land a first major win in last year’s US Open at Torrey Pines then finished third behind Collin Morikawa in The Open at Royal St George’s a few weeks later.

Rahm’s liking for links golf landed him two Irish Open triumphs - the first at Portstewart in 2017 then two years later at Lahinch.

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It will be a test of patience as well as skill at St Andrews and that could be Rahm’s biggest challenge in his bid to follow in the footsteps of his legendary fellow Spaniard on the Old Course.

Jordan Spieth

Age: 28

Nationality: USA

Previous major wins: 2015 Masters, 2015 US Open, 2017 Open

The Texan was on course for a Grand Slam when he turned up at St Andrews in 2015, having already triumphed in both The Masters and US Open.

After giving it a bloody good run, he ended up joint-fourth behind Zach Johnson before getting his hands on the Claret Jug two years later at Royal Birkdale.

Spieth went through a mini-slump before returning to winning ways in last year’s Valero Texas Open before racking up PGA Tour title No 13 in RBC Heritage earlier this season.

While the likes of Bryson DeChambeau might be hitting the green at some of the par-4s on the Old Course, the flat stick will be key and no-one is better with than in their hands than Spieth when his eye is in.

Tiger Woods

Age: 46

Nationality: USA

Previous major wins: Masters - 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019. PGA Championship - 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007. US Open - 2000, 2002, 2008. Open - 2000, 2005, 2006

Of all the majors this year, this is the one Woods was most determined to play in after making his return to competitive action following a serious car crash in Los Angeles in February 2021.

It probably felt like winning another major when he completed four rounds in The Masters in April, but he then withdrew during the PGA Championship at Southern Hills before sitting out last month’s US Open.

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Does he really have a chance of repeating 2000 and 2005 Claret Jug wins at St Andrews? Not really. But, at the same time, it will be an easier physical challenge than both Augusta and Southern Hills.

Woods knows how to manoeuvre his way around the Old Course, having famously negotiated 72 holes in 2005 without visiting a single bunker.

It’s great that he’s even in the field, but, as we all know, the 15-time major winner doesn’t just make up numbers and he’ll be determined to get himself in contention, as he did at Carnoustie in 2018.