13 sleeper picks to win at the Open Championship this weekend

Asked if he feels, beginning with this week's British Open at Carnoustie, which began Thursday, like he needs to "cement" his legacy with more major championships, McIlroy said: "At this point I'm not trying to cement anything".

The 33-year-old journeyman led by three on the last tee.

Johnson has been idle since finishing third at last month's US Open as a +800 favourite, a performance that vaulted him back to the top of the World Golf Rankings, where he remains entering the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland. And there's something about links golf that inspires him. It applies to your weekend golfer and to most great players throughout history, including Woods and Phil Mickelson.

"Nobody could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did", said Padraig Harrington, who won The Open at Carnoustie in 2007. "And I think that's the fun challenge of it".

Northern Ireland's McIlroy won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur on his Open debut in 2007, the last time the championship was held at Carnousite.

"The guys who have done well have been wonderful feel players and also wonderful lag putters", he said, citing Tom Watson, who almost won the Open at age 59 in 2009, and Greg Norman, who contended at Birkdale the year before at 53.

"Because the golf course is playing so firm and fast. there's some guys that will see it completely different than the way I see it, and vice versa, " he said.

"It's just not going to happen with wind conditions, with pins". "With links golf, you have to adapt".

He has been heavily involved in the Ryder Cup going to France for the first time in September, and in 2012 became an ambassador for Unicef, using golf to raise funds for initiatives mainly in poverty-stricken Madagascar.

"I played there once about three years ago at the British Amateur", the world No.128 said of Carnoustie.

Already, there are numerous stories about how far the ball is rolling down fairways. It's how far it travels once it gets on the baked turf. He says, with his signature brevity, that he will hit driver "a lot of times". The next day, his drive was a few yards short of the burn. "I like all of them".

"I've struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career and it's one of the reasons I really like the fact this putter has grooves in".

On Sunday, Woods played the par-4 fourth hole by hitting a 7-iron off the tee to avoid well-positioned bunkers. US Open champion Brooks Koepka might hit as many as nine drivers. It hasn't been this dry since Hoylake in 2006, when Woods hit only one driver all week and captured the Open for the third time. "If it does go in the rough, you're still able to get some control and then you're trying to land the ball on the front edge and get it trundling on to the green". "It's just hard to keep the ball in play, even something hitting four- and five-irons". You'll see a lot of low liner shots to keep the ball out of the winds of Scotland.

His club off the tee was an eight-iron. It was not only dry but extremely hot, and Reed was in rain trousers because he didn't like wearing shorts.

"I'll never forget hitting the first tee shot and being as young as I was, getting up there, and it was 308, " Reed said.

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