Ranking every player in The Open at Carnoustie, starting with Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose

Golf

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Rank the whole field?

Again?

But everyone knows this is the major where Mother Nature determines the winner.

That was my answer when my editor asked me one more time to attempt this rankings nightmare. There was that evil grin still on his face.

“You’re good. It’ll be a challenge.”

So here we go again, my full list (with some explanations tossed in along the way). Now, I’ll be over there curled up in the fetal position muttering and blubbering.

1. Tommy Fleetwood
It’s his time. The pressure is off after last year’s home game at Royal Birkdale. Fleetwood is playing like a man who believes he can win. Karma alert!!! The first golfer I saw after arriving in Carnoustie on Saturday? Yep, Tommy Fleetwood. I had already decided he was my pick.

2. Rickie Fowler
Being a bridesmaid is getting old. This one might hurt even more than the loss at the PGA Championship. Do not be surprised if something crazy happens and Rickie wins with Fleetwood finishing second.

3. Justin Rose
It seems now that Justin Rose is in the mix at every major. This week will be no exception.

4. Brooks Koepka
The reigning U.S. Open champion is showing exactly what would happen if he remained healthy.

5. Henrik Stenson
Built to be the perfect villain in a Jason Bourne movie, we all know what he’s capable of at an Open championship.

6. Thorbjorn Olesen
Not many Americans are familiar with “Thunder Bear.” Olsen was known for his power when he first came on the European Tour. Having won a European Tour event recently, he’s a name you shouldn’t be surprised to see on this leaderboard come Sunday.

7. Alex Noren
The “other Swede” (Henrik Stenson being the best known), Noren is second in the Race to Dubai after winning in France a couple of weeks ago. He’s ready and now rested.

8. Dustin Johnson
This is where his “B game” gets him nowadays. If he finds his way back to his “A game” like the first two rounds at the U.S. Open … game over for everyone else.

9. Matthew Fitzpatrick
Just a kid when he was first introduced to us at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in 2014 (he was just 19 then), Fitzpatrick is now an established European Tour player with eyes on this year’s Ryder Cup.

10. Jordan Spieth
Oh putter, where art thou? The beauty of The Open means he doesn’t have to be “great” with the flat stick, just better than he’s been.

11. Thomas Pieters

12. Ian Poulter
This will be the “feel-good” story for European Ryder Cup fans. Poulter is in a perfect position to play himself into the conversation, but far enough away off the lead to not feel the true pressure. This performance will definitely make him a captain’s pick later this year.

13. Ross Fisher
14. Rafael Cabrera Bello
15. Kiradech Aphibarnrat
16. Russell Knox

17. Patrick Reed
I bet you didn’t know Reed is leading the points on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. And after winning the Masters, Captain America finished fourth at the U.S. Open. I won’t be the least bit surprised if he’s in contention heading into the weekend.

18. Jon Rahm
19. Rory McIlroy
20. Charley Hoffman

21. Phil Mickelson
Lost in all the talk about “The Match” is how much Phil enjoys the challenge of playing this style of golf. Remember the battle Phil and Stenson had a couple of years ago? So does Lefty.

22. Tiger Woods
Weather is what will determine how high TW finishes. With all things equal, he won’t contend. That will disappoint some people. But step back and think big picture. This will be a big step in the right direction toward Woods returning to the winner’s circle.

23. Paul Casey
24. Jason Day
25. Branden Grace
26. Justin Thomas
27. Zach Johnson
28. Luke List

29. Hideki Matsuyama
The pairing with Tiger Woods will hurt Matsuyama on Friday, but benefit him Thursday. He’ll have the adrenaline Thursday, but watch out for the letdown Friday when he has a short turnaround after the late first-round starting time. I also have Matsuyama here because the weather is supposed to be mild. If the weather gets crazy Thursday or Friday, he won’t be here for the weekend.

30. Tyrrell Hatton
31. Adam Hadwin
32. Matt Kuchar
33. Brandt Snedeker
34. Kevin Kisner

35. Eddie Pepperell
He got one of the final three spots available at last week’s Scottish Open when he finished second. He will be able to carry the momentum through to this week and make the weekend.
36. Shane Lowry
37. Sung Kang
38. Andy Sullivan
39. Ryan Moore
40. Marc Leishman
41. Brett Rumford
42. Julian Suri
43. Kyle Stanley
44. Nicolas Colsaerts
45. Danny Willett
46. Charl Schwartzel
47. Anirban Lahiri
48. Kevin Na
49. Rhys Enoch
50. Adam Scott

51. Jazz Janewattananond
Not only does he have my favorite name of anyone in the field, but his caddie has a beard that almost perfectly matches mine. Of course we had a beard-bonding moment on the driving range when Jazz was the one who said “You guys gotta get a picture!” This pick is totally my heart and not my head.
52. Ryan Fox
53. Lee Westwood
54. Tony Finau
55. Russell Henley
56. Daniel Berger
57. Brandon Stone
58. Charles Howell III
59. Webb Simpson
60. Paul Dunne
61. Patrick Cantlay
62. Chris Wood
63. Alexander Bjork
64. Dylan Frittelli
65. Si Woo Kim
66. Peter Uihlein
67. Jimmy Walker

68. Emiliano Grillo
69. Francesco Molinari
70. Kevin Chappell

71. Padraig Harrington
The last man to win here at Carnoustie won’t be around on the weekend to try to get the magic back or, as it happened back then, grab the trophy dropped by Sergio!

72. Bubba Watson
73. Byeong Hun An
74. Bryson DeChambeau
75. Bronson Burgoon
76. George Coetzee
77. Chesson Hadley
78. Gary Woodland
79. Pat Perez
80. Brian Harman
81. Kodai Ichihara
82. Bernhard Langer
83. Lucas Herbert

84. Louis Oosthuizen
85. Oliver Wilson
86. Stewart Cink
87. Sergio Garcia
88. Ernie Els
89. Keegan Bradley
90. Beau Hossler
91. Thomas Curtis
92. Brady Schnell
93. Jonas Blixt
94. Marcus Armitage
95. Martin Kaymer
96. Abraham Ancer

97. Michael Kim
Last week’s winner of the John Deere Classic just won’t have the energy to keep the momentum going.

98. Retief Goosen
99. Jhonattan Vegas
100. David Duval
101. Mark Calcavecchia
102. Shota Akiyoshi
103. Ryan Armour
104. Danthai Boonma
105. Fabrizio Zanotti
106. Grant Forrest
107. Austin Cook
108. Sang-Hyun Park
109. Yuta Ikeda
110. Jorge Campillo
111. Shubhankar Sharma
112. Cameron Smith
113. Brendan Steele
114. Min Chel Choi
115. Tom Lehman
116. Gavin Kyle Green
117. Ryuko Tokimatsu
118. James Robinson
119. Chez Reavie
120. Ashton Turner
121. Jordan L. Smith
122. Jason Dufner
123. Patton Kizzire
124. Hideto Tanihara
125. Sean Crocker
126. Jason Kokrak
127. Yuxin Lin
128. Cameron Davis
129. Satoshi Kodaira
130. Scott Jamieson
131. Harldur Magnus
132. Andrew Landry
133. Xander Schauffele
134. Matt Jones
135. Masahiro Kawamura
136. Shaun Norris
137. Marcus Kinhult
138. Matthew Southgate
139. Yusaku Miyazato
140. Manasori Kobayashi
141. Tom Lewis
142. Haotong Li
143. Zander Lombard
144. Alexander Levy
145. Kelly Kraft
146. Jovan Rebula
147. Sam Locke
148. Jack Senior
149. Nicolai Hojgaard
150. Mike Hendry
151. Matt Wallace
152. Erik van Rooyen
153. Todd Hamilton
154. Darren Clarke
155. Sandy Lyle

156. Jens Dantorp
I don’t have anything against this man except for the fact that he kept Trevor Immelman from being what could have been an amazing Cinderella story for this year’s Open by taking that spot in the championship.

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