Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

1998 champion O'Meara tees off the 146th Open

1998 champion O'Meara tees off the 146th Open

Two-time Open victor Norman believes the Spaniard can further enhance his burgeoning reputation by landing the biggest prize of his career at Royal Birkdale.

There he held off Dustin Johnson, and he then finished second to the world number one at the WGC-Mexico Championship to elevate him to the next level.

I want to say it's probably the winningest year we've had on Spanish golf, between the PGA Tour and the European Tour, or one of them.

He said: "I am feeling okay, but it is something I am going to have to manage until the end of the year".

I've played a bit of amateur golf here, a few of my friends are members here and I feel I know the course pretty well and in fact was at Birkdale a few weeks ago for a practice round. I might have be bunked on the odd time and hit the odd shot. "I have a special feeling for Birkdale because I was named Most Valuable Player at the 1969 Ryder Cup there".

With the last seven majors having been won by players who had never previously won any of the sport's biggest prizes, Fleetwood is hoping to extend that run.

Norman would not be surprised to see another player join the list of major-winners due to a combination of the quality of emerging talent and the inconsistency of some of the leading lights. It's the Open Championship.

My plan for this evening is to check into Southport's Vincent Hotel while I've booked a table in a nearby Asian-Pacific restaurant for 8pm to get some good food, may be washed down by a cool beer before starting the real work tomorrow.

Stenson was pessimistic about his chances despite a closing 68 in the Scottish Open on Sunday, after which he was asked if he could emulate Harrington in winning back-to-back Open titles at Birkdale.

It will be nice to go out tomorrow (Tues) and play either nine or even 18 holes because the weather doesn't look too good for Wednesday. "We certainly need to step that up quite a lot if we want to have anything to do with it next week".

Before a shot has been struck, The Open Championship has already enjoyed the Tommy Fleetwood effect.

"There's always a chance and I'm going to enjoy the week".

"Not feeling that you're playing anywhere near 100%, you can't really put that pressure (on yourself) that you're going to be up there and contend".

Ian Poulter was in a three-way tie for the lead after the Scottish Open third round at Dundonald yesterday as the Englishman seeks his first tournament win in five years.

But he has missed the cut in both majors so far this season and admitted he had struggled to cope with the extra demands on his time which come with being a major champion.

"You can try (sneaking on), I wouldn't recommend it".

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