x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

US could do with healthy filling of Sandwich at golf's British Open

There are no Americans rated among the top 20 favourites for the Claret Jug, which is remarkable considering 11 of the last 16 tournaments have gone to a player from the US.

American golf desperately needs a good British Open.

There are no Americans rated among the top 20 favourites for the Claret Jug, which is remarkable considering 11 of the last 16 tournaments have gone to a player from the US — Stewart Cink was the last winner in 2009 — and they boast four players in the world's top 10.

We all know that Tiger Woods, three times an Open champion, is not there, but it is astonishing so few of his countrymen are unfancied for the year's third major.

And the US PGA Tour really could do with one of their own winning. Television viewing figures are on the slide and with Woods sidelined, they need a new superstar to emerge and bring back the fans.

Steve Stricker is the leading American but he has never won a major and probably doesn't have the game to win on a links course.

Phil Mickelson's outstanding short game could see him do well at Royal St George's but third place in 2004 at Troon is, by some way, his best showing in the tournament. He is the last American to win a major, the 2010 Masters, which seems a long time ago now.

Nick Watney is good, Dustin Johnson has come close in the US Open and US PGA and Rickie Fowler is a great ball striker. But you really cannot see either of them winning it.

In 2004, when a journeyman called Todd Hamilton won at Royal Troon, there were some American journalists who felt embarrassed that this "nobody" beat the best. What they would give for a victory like that on Sunday.