If you had other plans on Sunday, and had returned to the news that Jordan Spieth had retained his three shot lead to add a first Claret Jug to his 2015 Masters and U.S. Open triumphs, you may have given a rather nonplussed shrug of the shoulders in expectation of the fact that you actually didn’t miss that much.
On the contrary, you missed a real humdinger. This was a major championship in which one of the world's best snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after said defeat had, in itself, been snatched from the jaws of seemingly obvious victory - and all played out in about as memorable a manner as you are ever likely to see.
Now that we've all caught our breath, and to help wind down our coverage of the 146th Open Championship, we thought it would be an idea to focus in on the top-10 golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and rate their individual performances in Southport this week.
Dustin Johnson – OWGR No.1 (w/c 17 July)
DJ was devoid of competitive action since the U.S. Open back in mid-June at Erin Hills and, at times, it showed.
An impressive third round 64 had the current world number one tucked in at T-7 heading into Sunday’s play but, ultimately, a seven-over-par 77 put paid to any lingering hopes of following up his missed cut in Wisconsin with a solid showing at The Open. Few would have expected to be three majors down in 2017 and seeing Johnson without a top-50 in the major season.
Will start to feel Spieth’s breath on his neck in the OWGR as we head towards Quail Hollow next month.
Final Rating – 5/10
Hideki Matsuyama – OWGR No.2
After a second place at Erin Hills, and impressive play all year, much was expected of the Japanese superstar.
Having settled into an interesting position after a four-under-par 66 on Saturday, hopes and dreams of a first major title came and went on the challenging first during his final round on Sunday afternoon, after a gut-wrenching triple-bogey seven .
He would have been hoping for more but, although fading in the final round, Hideki did give a good account of himself.
Final Rating – 6/10
Jordan Spieth – OWGR No.3
There’s not much to say on Jordan that hasn’t already been said. He effortlessly meandered through Saturday’s play and, at one point, seemed likely to capture the third leg of a career grand slam – and the title of Champion Golfer of the Year - with consummate ease.
A worrisome first six holes on Sunday started to raise questions about the Texan’s frame of mind but, over the remaining holes, he displayed the mental toughness of a true champion in avoiding another major meltdown and will go on to Quail Hollow looking to complete the career grand slam.
If he manages to win the USPGA Championship at Quail Hollow, he will be the youngest to have achieved the feat in the history of golf.
Final Rating 10/10
Watch Jordan’s post-round interview on Sunday:
Rory McIlroy – OWGR No.4
A real gutsy display from the former world number one helped turn a potentially disastrous Open Championship into a tale of what might have been.
After six holes of round one he seemed to be facing back-to-back missed cuts at major championships this year, as well as potential embarrassment after his pre-tournament view that his game “wasn’t far away” from being at the level required to win again on Tour.
Rory’s caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, can take some of the credit for the turnaround in performance after he reminded the Northern-Irishman “you’re Rory McIlroy”, thus helping to shake the four-time major winner towards the sort of play we expect to see from such a prodigious talent.
Final Rating – 7/10
Sergio Garcia – OWGR No.5
Now with a Green Jacket safely tucked away after his win at Augusta National back in April, Sergio has taken his place in both major fields since with a visible tranquility and the air of a man released from the shackles of being tagged ‘the best golfer without a major’.
Whereas in Georgia he was at his miraculous best, at Royal Birkdale it was more a case of four solid, efficient rounds as he closed to a T-37 at two-over-par.
Final Rating 5/10
Jason Day – OWGR No.6
The 2015 PGA Champion had a mixed bag of a championship and finally signed for a one-over-par final total, thanks to a healthy 65 during Saturday’s perfect golfing conditions. By that time he had already slipped out of contention thanks, in no small part, to having leaked five shots in the final three holes of his second round.
A final chance in 2017 of a second major comes in a fortnight’s time at Quail Hollow for the PGA Championship.
Final Rating 5/10
Jon Rahm – OWGR No.7
After a scintillating performance at Portstewart Golf Club during the DDF Irish Open just a fortnight ago, many thought the young Spaniard would feature at the head of affairs in Southport.
Having gone so low during his last jaunt round a links course, Rahm’s four days play was rather under-whelming and the only round he managed to post a sub-par number was Thursday when, after surviving a second ruling scare in two weeks, he clambered to a one-under 69.
Too many errant tee shots put him in trouble too often to seriously challenge. Here’s just one of them below – his recovery shot was something else though:
Final Rating 4/10
Henrik Stenson - OWGR No.8
With all the hullabaloo that surrounds the reigning Open Champion in the lead-up to their defence of the Claret Jug, Swede Henrik Stenson managed to take it all in his stride.
On the course an impressive third round 65 may have paled into insignificance when measured against the historic 62 of South African Branden Grace, but it helped propel Stenson to a tied 11th place. Certainly a solid showing.
The R&A also spoke in glowing terms of his role as an ambassador for the game during his year as Champion Golfer of the Year.
Final Rating 7/10
Alex Noren - OWGR No.9
Threatened to put a run together and challenge but, as it turned out, he remained on the periphery of proceedings en-route to a closing four-under-par total and T6 on the leaderboard.
Noren can add this career-best major performance to his BMW PGA win back in May, and now boasts a career-high OWGR ranking. Added to that, last year’s four European Tour wins help confirm that a guy who was so unfortunate to miss out on last year’s Ryder Cup will be one to consider for future major glory.
Final Rating 7/10
Rickie Fowler – OWGR No.10
Many had Rickie down as a possible winner of his first major this past week and, while he did manage to make the weekend, there was never a point where he managed to put a run of birdies together and get that ‘momentum’ that is needed to feature.
He is firmly in the discussion now for the ‘best player without a major’, and you would get few arguments from us if you were to pay him golf’s ultimate back-handed compliment.
His time will come.
Final Rating 6/10
How was your Open Championship? Who excelled and who flattered to deceive? Let us know below.