Ernie Els said recently that Carnoustie was possibly the only course in the world you could rock up and host a major at a week’s notice.
It’s in fabulous nick for the Women’s Open this week, but then again it always is.
More to the point the course is not the somewhat diluted version we had for this championship in 2011.
It’s in the right arrangement, par 72 for the women rather than 71 as the 12th is playing as a par five, which it does for every event here bar the men’s Open. The 17th is a par four, rather than inexpicably a par five as it was in 2011.
Still, ten years ago the best player in the world at the time, Yani Tseng, won handsomely. Will it be the best again this year?
Nelly Korda (9-1)
KPMG PGA Champion, Olympic champion, World No 1 – all the spoils have fallen to the younger Korda sister in the last month or so. At just 23, her game is incredibly solid all-round. The one caveat is she has no real form on links at all – her best WBO finish was T9 at Woburn in 2019. Still, the one they’re all gunning for.
Lydia Ko (14-1)
As Yani Tseng and Francesco Molinari proved in 2018, Carnoustie tends to find the best player of the moment. Lydia has had her travails of late but finally won again this year, and was seamless on Sunday at Dumbarnie Links, shooting 63 to finish second. Her careful mistake-free plotting of that course in high winds on the previous three days also augurs well.
Leona Maguire (40-1)
Carnoustie is where Padraig Harrington broke through for Ireland in 2007, and the girl from Cavan, just a couple of years into her pro career, might have a sneaky chance here. She played outstandingly on Sunday at the KPMG, proving she’s not fazed by majors, and her magnificent amateur career was played mostly on links. Solid last week as well.
Ariya Jutanugarn (25-1)
A player that you should get to know anyway, as she’s funny and more than a little off the wall. But also a killer on the course. Won the 2018 Scottish Women’s at Gullane, played really well last week – especially in high winds on Friday and Saturday – and plenty of major championship pedigree.
Anna Nordqvist (66-1)
Who is the most experienced on this course in the field? Catriona Matthew probably, but the tall Swede is not far behind. Her fiancé is former Scottish Amateur champion Kevin McAlpine – now caddie for PGA Tour Scot Martin Laird – and they’ve played a fair bit of golf here. She’s got the ability for sure, and would help Matthew’s Solheim Cup wildcard deliberations no end by coming through.