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The Open Championship 2015: Top 5 Contenders to Win the Claret Jug

The Open Championship is the tournament every golfer dreams of winning.

It’s the most hallowed professional golf tournament known to man, and this year it’s being played on the most hallowed golf course in the world, the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Claiming the Claret Jug at this venue isn’t easy, and the Open Championship is known for producing surprising finishes.

This year’s crowded field features many big names you know. However, it’s safe to say the old guard is fading into the ether, making way for an exciting new group of young golfers.

Here’s a look at the top five contenders to win this year’s British Open.

1. Jordan Spieth, USA

There isn’t a hotter golfer on the planet right now than Spieth, who won this year’s first two major championships, along with two others.

He’s aiming to match Ben Hogan, who way back in 1953 won the first three majors of the season. To this point in history, Hogan is the only one to accomplish this monumental feat.

Staying this hot for this long is extremely rare and is difficult to maintain. That said, you’d be a fool to count him out this weekend.

2. Rickie Fowler, USA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZosWqGVMSUQ

Fresh off his victory at Gullane, Fowler’s Scottish Open win sets him up as a strong contender this weekend.

He’s also considered one of the best golfers in the world who has yet to win a major. A commonly held belief amongst the golf community is that this young man is finally ready to break through. When asked if he’d pick Spieth or Fowler to win this year’s British Open, ESPN’s senior golf writer chose Fowler:

“It’s hard to go against Spieth at the moment, but Fowler is better prepared to play this kind of golf. He won on a links course last week and has played in several Opens, which suggests he’s in a better position to succeed.”

It was only last year that the colorful ball-striker tied for second place at the 2014 British Open. Fowler also finished in a tie for fifth place during the 2011 iteration.

3. Dustin Johnson, USA

Anyone who has felt gut-wrenching heartache can relate to Johnson’s recent U.S. Open experience. Lipping out a three-foot putt on the 18th hole in the final round, he gift-wrapped the tournament to Spieth.

Rather than wallow in self-pity, however, the lanky American golfer seems to have hardened his resolve going forward.

With one win under his belt and seven top-10 finishes this year, Johnson has re-established himself as one of the top golfers in the world after leaving the game last year for a time due to personal challenges.

4. Adam Scott, Australia

One of the most consistent majors performer in the world, Scott will almost surely be in contention this year. He displayed fine golfing chops at this year’s U.S. Open, finishing in fourth place, and has finished in the top five the past three trips to Great Britain for The Open Championship.

With 13 career top-10 finishes in majors to go with his victory at Augusta in 2013, Scott’s prowess under pressure cannot be denied. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume he will win at least one more major before his time at the top of golf’s mountain comes to an end.

5. Justin Rose, England

The real wild card of this list, nobody should count out the local boy.

Rose burst onto the scene as an amateur golfer in 1998, finishing in fourth place at the 1998 British Open. Local fans have been clamoring for him to return to such prominence, and nothing could be sweeter than a British golfer winning The Open Championship.

Unfortunately, Rose hasn’t been able to recapture the magic, finishing no higher than a tie for 12th place in 2007. With a U.S. Open title under his belt, however, Rose has shown the ability to win at the highest level.

If he does win this year’s tournament at St. Andrews, then the afterparty will last for days.

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports