Pros advice

Magnificent Seven: OnlineGolf’s top picks for 2014 Open glory

We’ve given ourselves quite the challenge by deciding to list the top seven players we believe can realistically lift the Claret Jug at the 143rd Open Championship this week.

Take a look at our list of seven players and be sure to tell us who you’re backing to win this year’s Open Championship via our official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tiger Woods

World Ranking: 7

Best Open Finishes: Winner 2000, 2005, 2006

Top 10’s in The Open: 9

Preferred Brand: Nike Golf

He’s back! Tiger Woods simply has to be considered as one of the favourites to win this year’s Open Championship. Despite the fact he’s been side lined since March with a back injury, whenever Tiger is on the field anything is possible.

Tiger knows how to win the big events, as is evident by his ridiculously impressive run in previous Open’s. Winner in 2000, 2005 and 2006, he’s also finished in the top 10 on 9 occasions. It’s sure to be a baptism of fire for the ring-rusted Woods, but if he can get on top of his short-game play, then expect to see the former World No.1 right up there with the best of them.

Adam Scott

World Ranking: 1

Best Open Finish: Second place, 2012

Top 10’s in The Open: 3

Preferred Brand: PING Golf

The man who usurped Tiger Woods and many a fan’s favourite for the Claret Jug, Adam Scott has enjoyed a wonderful career in recent times. The 33-year-old has limited his playing schedule but that doesn’t seem to have affected his performances – more like enhanced them.

On his last two visits to Royal Liverpool, Scott has finished inside the top 3. The Australian has a great working relationship with his irons, so expect to see plenty of smart shots and low scores. He’ll also be wanting to make up for the heartbreak of missing out on winning The Open two years ago.

Henrik Stenson

World Ranking: 2

Best Open Finish: Second place, 2013

Top 10’s in The Open: 3

Preferred Brand: Callaway Golf

Henrik Stenson is another player who can tell a story of heartbreak when it comes to The Open Championship. The Swede was denied his first ever major win last year at Muirfield by American Phil Mickelson’s last-gasp heroics. At the US Open earlier this year, Stenson finished fourth, but there’s still belief he can win that elusive major, and at 38, he’s heading into The Open in great form and with plenty of experience to back up his claims.

Martin Kaymer

World Ranking: 12

Best Open Finish: T7, 2010

Top 10’s in The Open: 1

Preferred Brand: TaylorMade Golf

29-year-old Kaymer will be hoping some of that German success seen at the World Cup in Brazil will help propel him to a first-ever Claret Jug. The German is arguably the hottest player in golf right now, and much like his national football team, he’s cleaning up in the trophy department, winning both the Player’s Championship and the US Open in his last two events.

Those of a betting nature may shy away from Stenson seeing as his Open record is far from stellar – a single top-10 finish in six attempts – but records are made to be broken, right? Mentally there’s no one tougher than Henrik Stenson, and this could be his time to shine while still on a high coming off the back of Germany’s recent sporting success.

Justin Rose

World Ranking: 3

Best Open Finish: T4, 1998

Top 10’s in The Open: 1

Preferred Brand: TaylorMade Golf

Rose seemed to be stuck in golfing turbulence for a while after winning the US Open last year. However, since winning the Quickens Loan National before following up with victory in the Scottish Open, Rose has seen his stock rise once more and now his exemplary form is all everyone is talking about.

The 33-year-old Englishman looked at home at The Open when he participated as an amateur in 1998, but he’s struggled to match that same intensity since then. Could this year be his time? It just might be.

Sergio Garcia

World Ranking: 9

Best Open Finish: Second place, 2007

Top 10’s in The Open: 7

Preferred Brand: TaylorMade Golf

The pick most likely to split opinion, Sergio Garcia is somewhat of an enigma. A great player, clearly, but he’s been a nearly man so many times in the big events that it’s almost become expected now.

Garcia had a very good start to the season this year, but he’s struggled a little with injury as of late and that’s certainly hindered his progress. An imaginative shot-taker and a vicious striker of the ball, Garcia would love to improve on his 7 top-ten finishes at The Open by winning his first Claret Jug.

Jordan Spieth

World Ranking: 10

Best Open Finish: T44, 2013

Top 10’s in The Open: None

Preferred Brand: Under Armour

From a controversial choice to a rank outsider who we believe has what it takes to win this major, Jordan Spieth has been a revelation in the golfing world for the past couple of years. He’s shown great courage in stepping up to battle the bigger names for trophies some still believe he’s not good enough to challenge for, while his consistency in games also belies his 20 years of age.

We think it’s just a matter of time before Spieth wins a major event, so why not this one? It would be a huge breakthrough and one the majority of golf fans are waiting on. A win for Spieth would be refreshing for the sport and add a new player to the big leagues. It would be awesome to witness.

Honourable Mentions

These players could all win The Open this week, but for whatever reason we just didn’t see them surpassing those listed above. We’d love to hear what you think, though. So without further ado, a quick run through of our honourable mentions…

Rory McIlroy - He’s shown great grit and determination to pull himself out of the slump he was in and there’s always a chance with Rory that something special could happen when he’s on the green. The Nike golfer will badly want to win this one.

Rickie Fowler - The colourful PUMA Golf wearing player has made some great contributions to the game recently, but his form is still a way off being good enough for winning the Claret Jug.

Ian Poulter - He’s desperate to win a major event, but this likely won’t be the one as he struggles to regain form following a wrist injury which will require him to play through the pain barrier. The Cobra Golf man is a good shout for winning this event, but probably not on this occasion.

Phil Mickelson - A true great of the game and always a threat in any event, ‘Lefty’ should put in a strong display at The Open as he strives to win another Claret Jug. The Callaway golfer should play well here, although perhaps now as well as some of the others listed above.

The Open Championship begins today (Thursday), so keep checking back here for more news and updates as the major unfolds.