Quick Bit: The Open Championship boasts a strong field in 2022 that features 49 of the top 50 players in the world. Here’s who The Sporting News sees as the strongest competitors in this year’s major.

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The final major of the 2022 PGA Tour season is here, and The Open will bring to the table another star-studded field.

The Open is the only one of the four PGA Tour majors that is not held on U.S. soil. Instead, it is always held in the U.K. and this year, the tournament will be making its return to St. Andrews to play on one of the oldest courses ever.

The world’s top golfers will be in attendance for the event, as all but one of the top 50 in the world will be at the event. Daniel Berger (No. 26 overall) is the only one set to miss The Open as he deals with a back injury.

The rest of the star-studded field will compete for the Claret Jug. World No. 12 Collin Morikawa will be defending his title at The Open while players like Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schaffele all try to win it for the first time.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy will look to win one for Northern Ireland and win his first major since the 2014 season, during which he also won The Open.

Who are the top golfers in this year’s Open Championship? Below is a look at the 25 best projected performers at this year’s event and the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) of each player in the field.

MORE: How much money does The Open winner make in 2022?

Ranking the top 25 players in the Open Championship field 2022

The 2022 Open Championship is being played at St. Andrews’s Old Course, which is, fittingly, one of the oldest golf courses ever. It is a links golf course, as it’s located along the coast of Scotland, contains within it numerous elevation changes, ridges and valleys and is comprised of sandy soil.

Links golf courses are tricky to play, as they require players to adjust their game to account for a lot of run and movement as a shot lands. It’s very hard to stop a ball outright at any point on the fairway and green, so players will be forced to try unorthodox approach shots and some strange plays and putts around the green.

That will make this course — a Par 72 course that is 7,305 yards in length — a difficult challenge for the competitors at The Open.

Because of these conditions, it will be worth keeping track of a handful of key stats while ranking the field. First and foremost, strokes gained off the tee (SG:OTT) and strokes gained on approach (SG:APP) will be the two most important stats this week. Why? Because accuracy off the tee will help players avoid unforgiving rough while players with better approach games will be able to adjust to better hit the necessary green and greenside landing areas with accuracy.

Scrambling stats will also be paramount, as golfers are bound to miscalculate at least some shots on a links course. So, getting out of the rough will be key to surviving bad tee shots and approaches. Strokes gained around the green (SG:ARG) will also be critical, as many balls that hit the green will scamper and slide off them during what should be an unusually hot and dry week in Scotland.

Finally, putting matters a bit less this week as the greens will be extremely fast. That will make one-putts from beyond 10 yards rather unlikely. As such, we’ll be keying on three-putt avoidance in our assessment of top candidates, as a two-putt on many of these greens will be solid.

Below is a breakdown of The Sporting News’ top 25-ranked golfers for The Open in 2022. All odds to win the event are courtesy of Sports Interaction.

1. Rory McIlroy

Odds: +900

McIlroy hasn’t fared well at The Open in recent years, but from 2014 through 2018, he finished top-five in each of his four appearances. That included a win at the 2014 event. Rory has played well in 2022 and his top-10 marks in SG:OTT and ball striking will serve him well on the St. Andrews course. His only concern is that his three-putt avoidance has been merely OK compared to the field. If he’s off with the putter, it could undermine any of his potential success off the tee.

2. Xander Schauffele

Odds: +1300

No golfer on the PGA Tour has been hotter than Schauffele in recent weeks. He has won each of his last two starts including a victory at the Scottish Open which saw him card a 7 under for the tournament. Schauffele’s success on the links course at the Scottish Open will serve him well at St. Andrews. So will his ball-striking prowess and ability to avoid three-putts (he ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in three-putt avoidance).

The only question with Schaffele is whether he will get conservative late as he did in each of his last two wins. He lost the lead in Round 4 during each event but was able to regain it. Will he be as lucky if the same happens at St. Andrews?

(Getty Images)

3. Justin Thomas

Odds: +1700

Don’t let Justin Thomas’ 10 over, missed cut showing at the Scottish Open scare you away from him. He is still one of the world’s best golfers and ranks top-15 on the tour in SG:OTT, SG:ARG and scrambling. That makes him a good fit for the St. Andrews course even if he is yet to fully master the intricacies of links golf.

4. Tony Finau

OWGR: 17
Odds: +6100

Finau is a great sleeper for this year’s Open Championship. He has found a lot of success at The Open since 2015, as he has logged two top-10 finishes (third overall in 2019 and T-9 in 2018) and never finished worse than T-27 at the event. He also ranks tied for the fourth-most strokes gained on seaside courses in Britain during that time at 1.92 per round.

OK, so you think that stat’s a bit too convoluted to justify Finau. No problem. How about his top-20 ranks in SG:OTT and SG:APP? That’s certainly enough to make Finau one of the best sleepers in this year’s field. His combination of a high floor and high ceiling will make him a popular bet.

5. Jon Rahm

Odds: +1700

Rahm is the best ball-striker in this field. He will be able to shorten his approach shots using his off-the-tee prowess and he is a master of nailing those approach shots to give himself plenty of birdie opportunities. The only concern with Rahm is that he isn’t a great scrambler. So, if he’s inaccurate off the tee, he could have a rough week. Still, his ball-striking ability makes him a likely top-10 finisher and a potential winner at The Open.

6. Matt Fitzpatrick

OWGR: 10
Odds: +1900

Fitzpatrick won his first major at the U.S. Open in June. Can he make it back-to-back wins in a month? It’s possible.

Fitzpatrick ranks top-10 on tour in SG:OTT and while his approach game is merely solid, he is elite around the green. He ranks third in both SG:ARG and scrambling on the PGA Tour, so if St. Andrews is bone dry and tough to land balls on the green, he will be better positioned to recover than most. Expect another strong effort from the newly minted world top-10 golfer.

7. Scottie Scheffler

Odds: +1600

You could probably make a case for the No. 1 player in the world to be ranked a bit higher considering that Scheffler is among the top 10 in the field in ball striking and SG:ARG. However, his mid-tier scrambling ranking does enough for us to drop him a bit in our rankings. Putting him behind Rahm — who has better tee-to-green power than Scheffler — seems to make the most sense.

8. Will Zalatoris

OWGR: 13
Odds: +2600

Zalatoris has been incredible at majors since he finished T-6 at the 2020 U.S. Open. Since then, he has finished top 10 in six of his eight major appearances including back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2022. The 25-year-old will look to finally earn his first major at St. Andrews and looks like a good fit for the course thanks to his top-ranked approach game; that will give him an advantage as he looks to hit his spots with pinpoint accuracy on a dried-out course.

9. Jordan Spieth

OWGR: 12
Odds: +1600

Spieth is another player that you could justify ranking higher than this. After all, he has averaged a whopping 3.38 strokes gained per round at The Open since 2017 and finished second in the event last year.

So, why does Spieth rank ninth overall? Because while he is highly rated in numerous areas, he isn’t top-20 in any category. Not having something top-tier to lean on makes him a bit more volatile, which has been a concern for him over the years.

That said, Spieth’s best skill is scrambling which should play well at St. Andrews. Even if he is inaccurate off the tee, he should still compete for The Open title in 2022.

10. Patrick Cantlay

Odds: +2800

Cantlay has notably struggled in majors during his career. He logged two top 10s in 2019, but he has failed to find success in his 12 majors since then (four missed cuts, three top-20 finishes). That said, Cantlay has a solid scrambling skill set and ranks top-20 in the field in SG:OTT and ball striking. If he can stay accurate, he will have a chance to shorten the course a bit and take pressure off his middling approach game.

It’s worth noting that Cantlay just finished fourth in the Scottish Open and recently finished 14th in the U.S. Open, too. If he can combine his links-course effort with his best major finish since 2019, he could challenge for the win.

11. Shane Lowry

OWGR: 22
Odds: +2500

Lowry checks a lot of boxes as he looks to earn his second Open Championship win. Good scrambler? Check; there’s nobody in the field better than him. Solid putter? Yup; he avoids three-putts very well. And how is his tee-to-green game? He’s above-average off the tee and possesses a strong approach game (eighth-ranked on the PGA Tour in SG:APP) that should serve him well at St. Andrews.

Lowry’s 69.358 scoring average is also a boon, as it ranks sixth on the PGA Tour. He should be a steady contributor this week making him an ideal mid-tier value and DFS lineup option.

12. Collin Morikawa

Odds: +2700

Morikawa won The Open last year at Royal St. George’s. Can he become the first back-to-back winner since Padraig Harrington in 2008 and 2009? It could prove a tall task.

There’s no doubt that Morikawa is a dynamic golfer off the tee (34th on the PGA Tour in SG:OTT) and approaching the green (fourth in SG:APP). However, his game around the green has been a weakness this season — one for which his solid putter can’t quite make up. So, while Morikawa can still put together a strong week, the reigning champion is by no means guaranteed to repeat at a difficult course.

13. Sungjae Im

OWGR: 23
Odds: +8300

Im seems tailor-made to be a solid sleeper at The Open. He ranks top-21 on the PGA Tour in SG:OTT (13th), ball-striking (sixth), SG:ARG (eighth), scrambling (fourth) and sand save percentage (21st). That should make him a threat to surprise many at St. Andrews.

The concern with Im is that his approach game is just slightly above average. That may be the stat most predictive of success this week, so it could hold him back. Still, his solid ranks in all other aspects of the game should give Im a chance to improve upon his 7 over performance at the Scottish Open.

14. Hideki Matsuyama

OWGR: 14
Odds: +4800

Matsuyama is, in some ways, the opposite of Im. Matsuyama is carried by his No. 3 ranking in SG:APP and ball striking. He ranks above average in other categories but nothing stands out as much as his approach game. That still gives him enough firepower to challenge for a top-10 spot, but he hasn’t made a cut at The Open since 2017. So, proceed with caution if you’re making a bet on him.

15. Cameron Smith

Odds: +2600

Smith is one of the few top-tier putters to make the cut in our top 25 rankings for The Open. Why? Because putting is often difficult for everyone on links courses, and St. Andrews figures to be no different. Still, Smith ranks top 10 in the field in three-putt avoidance and SG:APP, so perhaps his putter could be a difference-maker this week.

Smith logged a 2 under at the Scottish Open last week to finish T-10 for the tournament. That could be a precursor to a solid outing this weekend.

16. Joaquin Niemann

OWGR: 16
Odds: +5300

Niemann hasn’t had much success in majors during his brief PGA Tour career. The Open has been particularly tough for him, as he has missed the cut and finished T-59 in his two appearances at the event.

However, Niemann just posted a 1 under at the Scottish Open and recently logged a T-3 at the Memorial Tournament on Jack Nicklaus’ ever-difficult Muirfield Village course. Could this be a sign that Niemann is ready to compete at St. Andrews? He certainly looks like an appealing sleeper considering how good he has been off the tee (16th in SG:OTT on the PGA Tour).

(Getty Images)

17. Sam Burns

OWGR: 11
Odds: +4200

Burns has made the cut and logged top-30 finishes at each of his last two majors. He has played well over the last couple of months, logging three, top-five finishes and nearly winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in a playoff.

Burns made the cut at the Scottish Open but finished 8 over par for the event. That said, he shot 3 under in the first round in. fairly windy conditions, so he proved that he can play well on a links course. Now it’s just a matter of doing that with his 12th-ranked SG:APP and top-50 mark in three-putt avoidance.

18. Louis Oosthuizen

OWGR: 24
Odds: +4600

Oosthuizen played respectably on the PGA Tour in 2022 before defecting for LIV Golf. He hasn’t done as well in three majors since — withdrawing at the Masters, finishing T-60 at the PGA Championship and missing the cut at the U.S. Open — but he should do well at The Open.

The last time The Open was held at St. Andrews, Oosthuizen finished as the tournament’s runner-up. Before that in 2010, he won the event, his lone major victory, at the historic course. Oosthuizen’s history here makes him a great mid-tier target; if he were in better form, he surely would have cracked our top 15 for the week.

19. Dustin Johnson

OWGR: 18
Odds: +3300

Johnson has logged four top-10 finishes at The Open during his career, but he hasn’t done so at St. Andrews. His best finish at the course was a T-14 in 2010.

If Johnson wants to best that, he will need to rely on his tee-to-green game to carry him there. He boasts solid ball-striking and SG:APP numbers, but his SG:APR and three-putt avoidance numbers are a bit shakier.

Johnson recently played well at LIV Golf Portland and has T-12 and T-24 finishes at the Masters and U.S. Open respectively this season. He should be in the mix at The Open though the former world No. 1 player isn’t the same top-tier threat he once was.

20. Tommy Fleetwood

OWGR: 35
Odds: +3600

Here’s another instance of back-to-back ranked players having completely different skill sets. Fleetwood’s tee-to-green game isn’t great, but his play around the green and scrambling are among the best in this week’s field. The Englishman is fresh off a 4 under, fourth-place finish at the Scottish Open and could be in position for another strong finish at The Open. He has cracked the top 33 in each of his last four appearances at the event.

21. Viktor Hovland

Odds: +4700

Poor Hovland couldn’t get his clubs from Frankfurt, Germany to Scotland before the Scottish Open began. That led him to struggle on a backup set of clubs and he missed the cut as a result. He should fare better at The Open with his usual set of clubs, but it’s still not the best set-up for him.

Hovland ranks top-15 in the field in SG:OTT, SG:APP and ball striking. However, he ranks near the bottom of it in SG:ARG and three-putt avoidance. As such, should be smooth sailing for Hovland on his first couple of shots, but the St. Andrews greens could give him nightmares and limit his ceiling.

22. Brooks Koepka

OWGR: 20
Odds: +4700

Koepka isn’t the same player who once finish top-10 in seven of eight majors between 2018 and 2020. Injuries have caused him to regress a bit and he hasn’t finished better than 55th in three major appearances this year.

That said, Koepka has been sharpening his game on the LIV Golf Tour and logged a top-10 finish in The Open at St. Andrews in 2015. His ceiling remains high given his strong driver but his floor is low given that he has only made the cut in six of 10 appearances on the PGA Tour this season.

23. Billy Horschel

OWGR: 15
Odds: +10400

Horschel is tough to evaluate. He has missed the cut in three of his last four events, but he won the event at which he made the cut. He had trouble at the Scottish Open, but his respectable, even-par performance on his second day at the course could be a sign that he just needed time to get used to the links courses this season.

Horschel has a below-average approach game but he is good around the green and is a solid ball striker. The greens will be firm at St. Andrews this week so golfers may be more around the green this week than they are on it. If so, that will give Horschel a boost as he looks for his first, top-20 finish at a major since 2016.

24. Seamus Power

OWGR: 37
Odds: +10500

Power is one of the best sleeper picks with longer than 100-1 odds. Why? Because his eighth-ranked ball-striking is among the best on the PGA Tour while his 18th-ranked scrambling numbers allow him to recover when he doesn’t quite hit the target off the tee.

Power has made the cut at all three majors this season and has top-12 finishes in two of them. He should be amped up to play in The Open for the first time in his career and while he may not win, he is a strong anchor in DFS lineups.

25. Tiger Woods

OWGR: 994
Odds: +5500

Look, I get it. There are golfers that are healthier than Tiger Woods, and he hasn’t done much to inspire confidence since returning from a car crash that nearly cost him the rest of his career. Still, Tiger is Tiger, and there always remains a chance that he could put together a terrific outing if his injured leg can hold up.

Woods is the ultimate boom or bust pick, but betting him to make the cut may be worth the risk. He did that at the PGA Championship, after all, and he has had nearly two months to recover ahead of that event. He’s definitely not a must-bet, but there are some solid value plays with him.

Best of the rest

Gary Woodland
Mito Pereira
Bryson DeChambeau
Aaron Wise
Chris Kirk
Keegan Bradley
Abraham Ancer
Talor Gooch

Full Open Championship field 2022

Below is the full Open Championship field for 2022 listed alphabetically by last name. Also included is each player’s Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). The top-ranked player in the field is the World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler while numerous amateurs participating in the tournament rank last at 1,806th overall.

Several other players are unranked and will be marked with a “UR” designation.

Aaron Jarvis
Aaron Wise
Abraham Ancer
Adam Scott
Adri Arnaus
Adrian Meronk
Aldrich Potgieter
Alex Wrigley
Alexander Bjork
Anthony Quayle
Ashley Chesters
Barclay Brown
Ben Campbell
Ben Curtis
Bernd Wiesberger
Billy Horschel
Brad Kennedy
Brandon Wu
Brooks Koepka
Bryson DeChambeau
Cameron Smith
Cameron Tringale
Cameron Young
Chan Kim
Chris Kirk
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Collin Morikawa
Corey Conners
Danny Willett
Darren Clarke
David Carey
David Duval
David Law
Dean Burmester
Dimi Papadatos
Dustin Johnson
Dylan Frittelli
Emiliano Grillo
Erik Van Rooyen
Ernie Els
Fabrizio Zanotti
Filippo Celli
Francesco Molinari
Garrick Higgo
Gary Woodland
Guido Migliozzi
Hao-Tong Li
Harold Varner III
Harris English
Henrik Stenson
Hideki Matsuyama
Ian Poulter
J.T. Poston
Jack Floydd
Jamie Rutherford
Jason Kokrak
Jason Scrivener
Jediah Morgan
Jimmy Walker
Joaquin Niemann
John Catlin
John Daly
John Parry
Jon Rahm
Joohyung Kim
Jordan L. Smith
Jordan Spieth
Jorge Fernandez-Valdes
Justin De Los Santos
Justin Harding
Justin Leonard
Justin Rose
Justin Thomas
Kazuki Higa
Keegan Bradley
Keita Nakajima
Keith Mitchell
Kevin Kisner
Kevin Na
Kurt Kitayama
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
Lars Van Meijel
Laurie Canter
Lee Westwood
Louis Oosthuizen
Lucas Herbert
Mackenzie Hughes
Marc Leishman
Marco Penge
Marcus Armitage
Mark Calcavecchia
Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Ford
Matthew Griffin
Matthew Jordan
Max Homa
Min Woo Lee
Mingyu Cho
Minkyu Kim
Mito Pereira
Nicolai Hojgaard
Oliver Farr
Pablo Larrazabal
Padraig Harrington
Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Reed
Paul Casey
Paul Lawrie
Phil Mickelson
Richard Bland
Richard Mansell
Robert Dinwiddie
Robert Macintyre
Ronan Mullarney
Rory McIlroy
Russell Henley
Ryan Fox
Sadom Kaewkanjana
Sahith Theegala
Sam Bairstow
Sam Burns
Sam Horsfield
Scott Vincent
Scottie Scheffler
Seamus Power
Sergio Garcia
Shane Lowry
Shaun Norris
Shugo Imahira
Sihwan Kim
Stephen Dodd
Stewart Cink
Sungjae Im
Takumi Kanaya
Talor Gooch
Thomas Detry
Thomas Pieters
Thriston Lawrence
Tiger Woods
Todd Hamilton
Tom Hoge
Tommy Fleetwood
Tony Finau
Trey Mullinax
Tyrrell Hatton
Victor Perez
Viktor Hovland
Webb Simpson
Will Zalatoris
Wyndham Clark
Xander Schauffele
Yuto Katsuragawa
Zach Johnson
Zander Lombard

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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