Rory McIlroy favourite to win The Open, says Gary Player
Three-time Open winner also backs Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka to be in the mix at Royal Portrush
Last Updated: 04/07/19 5:17pm
Gary Player has tipped Rory McIlroy to win his second Open Championship in Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush later this month.
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McIlroy - who won The Open in 2014 - has not won a major since emerging victorious at the PGA Championship later that same year.
However, the Northern Irishman has had an impressive 2019 campaign, winning the Players Championship in March and shooting 22 under par to romp home in the Canadian Open in his last outing.
Player has high hopes for McIlroy, telling Sky Sports News: "I fancy Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland to win this year.
"He just won the Canadian Open the other day, he's so talented and he will be at home with the support of the galleries.
"Rory is as talented as any golfer in the world today. I remember Tiger Woods saying 'he's more talented than I am' when they were younger.
"His short game has been a little bit up and down, which happens to everybody, but I fancy Rory."
However, Player, who won three Open Championships over a 15-year period, will also have his eye on two other names when the tournament begins on July 18.
One of those is three-time Open winner Tiger Woods following his spectacular victory at the Masters in April - his first major success in 11 years.
"Well Tiger Woods is Tiger Woods," Player said. "I never thought that he would win another tournament, never mind another major.
"He's swinging so much better now and I wouldn't be surprised to see him win. But you've got to get the luck of the draw."
The other man to watch in Player's eyes is Brooks Koepka, who has won four majors in the last two years but has never finished higher than sixth at The Open.
Player said: "You can't bet against him; he's a wonderful golfer.
"Everyone talks about length and distance off the tee, but the answer to golf is how well you putt. You only have 11 drives a day, but you have 30 putts.
"He's a good putter and I love the way he keeps his cool. He never gets upset and he never gets too anxious."
The Open Championship begins on July 18 at Royal Portrush, and will be exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf.