The Open: Rahm has all the makings of an Open champion - Norman

Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood

Asked to pick between winning at Augusta and prevailing at The Open this week at Royal Birkdale, Garcia said: "It's hard to say".

Stenson will hope to emulate the Irishman this year at the Merseyside course, but he has serious competition to contend with.

Could world no. 1 Dustin Johnson bounce back from a missed Masters and a missed cut at the US Open to clinch his second Major?

"I have thought about winning The Open since I was five years old, so I think thinking about it another few days isn't going to make any difference to me", he said.

"It's very touching, actually, seeing things like that, but the banners will be off in a couple of weeks so I best not get used to it too much". "I don't feel extra pressure from it".

"For me growing up Royal Birkdale wasn't a course that I would be playing on", said Fleetwood, who when asked to name some of his favourite public spots in the town as a youngster picked golf courses. I hit balls for an hour and a half last night, but then felt stiff and said, "That's enough".

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"I also remember producing one of the best putting displays of my career when I finished third as Lee Trevino won the 1971 Open at Birkdale".

"It was the third leg of the grand slam - I'm still waiting for the fourth one - but I love the Open, I love the fans". The 29-year-old Yorkshireman is now trying to ease himself back into action and played a practice round at the Southport links on Sunday. So we're going to try to keep it as much as possible.

Norman would not be surprised to see another player join the list of major-winners due to a combination of the quality of emerging talent and the inconsistency of some of the leading lights. As ever with the Open Championship, anything could happen. All players tee off the first hole.

My plan for this evening is to check into Southport's Vincent Hotel while I've booked a table in a nearby Asian-Pacific restaurant for 8pm to get some good food, may be washed down by a cool beer before starting the real work tomorrow. "We certainly need to step that up quite a lot if we want to have anything to do with it next week. You never know, it might be the only time we're defending champion at the Open Championship so I might as well enjoy it".

"So definitely it's something that I would like to achieve and we're going to give it a shot this week". That is not to say none of those guys can turn things around.

Stenson was understandably reluctant to rush to hand back the Claret Jug he won in record-breaking style at Royal Troon previous year, but he was given an extra few minutes with his "baby" as he took part in a Q&A with the space-age Mercedes.

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