THIS WEEK: The Open Championship, July 18-21
Royal Portrush – Dunluce Links, Portrush, Northern Ireland (Par 71, 7,344 yards)
Purse: $10.75 million (Winner: $1.935 million)
Defending champion: Francesco Molinari
FedEx Cup leader: Matt Kuchar
Television: Thursday-Friday: 1:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday: 5-7 a.m. (GC), 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (NBC); Sunday: 4-7 a.m. (GC), 7 a.m.-2 p.m. (NBC).
NOTES: The field includes three Northern Ireland natives: Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke. McIlroy (32 under) holds the lowest score in relation to par at The Open since 2014. … Royal Portrush has hosted only one previous Open (won by Max Faulkner in 1951). … Americans have won the first three majors of 2019. They have not won all four in a year since 1982. … Gary Woodland attempts to become the first player to win the U.S. Open and The Open in the same year since Tiger Woods in 2000. …
Woods is competing for the first time since last month’s U.S. Open. He is one win shy of tying Sam Snead’s record of 82 career PGA Tour titles and is three majors shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. … No. 1 Brooks Koepka is attempting to become just the fourth player to win at least five majors before turning 30 (Nicklaus, Woods, Bobby Jones). He can also become the first player under 30 to finish first or second in all four majors in a single year. Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott, grew up in Portrush. … Molinari seeks to become just the seventh player to successfully defend an Open title since World War II. … Twenty of the past 21 major champions entered the week ranked within the top 25 in the world.
BEST BETS: McIlroy (+900 on PointsBet) set a course record with a 61 at Royal Portrush in the 2005 North of Ireland Amateur, at age 16. He has geared his entire 2019 schedule around winning a major in his native country and has four consecutive top-five finishes in The Open. … Jon Rahm (+1400) is coming off a victory two weeks ago as he seeks his first career major title. … Xander Schauffele (+2500) finished T2 last year and has four top-5s and a T6 in 10 career starts in majors. … McDowell (+8000) is the only Portrush native in the field. On a course very unfamiliar to most players in the field, McDowell estimates he has played it “300 to 500 times.”
THIS WEEK: Barbasol Championship, July 18-21
Keene Trace GC – Champions, Lexington, Ky. (Par 72, 7,328 yards)
Purse: $3.5 million (Winner: $630,000 – based on 2018)
Defending champion: Troy Merritt
Television: Thursday-Friday, 5-8 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 4-6 p.m. (GC). Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (GC).
NOTES: Former major champions Jason Dufner and John Daly are in the field. Daly withdrew from The Open after being denied the use of a power cart. … 2011 FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas is in the event for the first time. … Kentucky native Kenny Perry, 58, makes his seventh Tour start of 2019. … The event is in its second year at Keene Trace, with the Champions course one of only two on Tour that end in a par 3.
NEXT WEEK: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Memphis, Tenn.