2021 Open Championship: Groups to Watch Thursday and Friday

The 2021 Open Championship gets underway on Thursday at Royal St. George’s in England. The world’s best have assembled for the final major championship of this year.

There are a number of outstanding groups in this event on Thursday and Friday. Here are the top five groups to watch over the first two days of the championship.

Bryson DeChambeau, Branden Grace, Jordan Spieth (Thursday, 4:25 a.m. ET; Friday, 9:26 a.m. ET) – DeChambeau will be very interesting to watch this week. How does he handle the weather? How does he handle dialing it back to avoid the thick rough? Grace holds the all-time scoring record in a major with a 62 in the Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017. Spieth won the Open in that same year, one of his three major championship.

Shane Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen, Jon Rahm (Thursday, 4:58 a.m. ET; Friday, 9:59 a.m. ET) – Lowry is still the defending champion, having won the last Open in 2019. It’s an odd title defense, but one Lowry embraces. Oosthuizen won the Open in 2010 and nearly won the U.S. Open this year. Rahm actually did win the U.S. Open this year, his first major title. More will follow.

Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Will Zalatoris (Thursday, 5:20 a.m. ET; Friday, 10:21 a.m. ET) – DJ is back on top of the world rankings, despite not having his best season. Rose burst onto the world golf scene at this event in 1998 as a 17-year-old amateur. Now a 40-year-old veteran, he’s still chasing the Claret Jug. Zalatoris was second at the Masters earlier this year and has risen to No. 30 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Tommy Fleetwood, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas (Thursday, 10:10 a.m. ET; Friday, 5:09 a.m. ET) – Fleetwood will be a popular pick this week, even though he’s not at the top of his game. Scott is still haunted by his collapse at the Open in 2012 and would love to finally get his hands on the Claret Jug. Thomas played well in Scotland last week and will be among those with a realistic chance this week.

Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Cameron Smith (Thursday, 10:21 a.m.; Friday, 5:20 a.m. ET) – McIlroy won the Open in 2014 and will be considered one of the favorites this week. Reed seems to always make his way into contention when it matters most. Smith has the talent to compete in majors, and he has. But this setup may not be ideal for him.