With Luke Donald and Lee Westwood in first and third place respectively in the official world rankings, and their compatriot Justin Rose not far behind them in ninth, hopes of a home winner are great.
Remarkably, it is now 43 years since our neighbours last celebrated a win in this event by one of their sons on their own turf, when Tony Jacklin triumphed at Royal Lytham & St Annes way back in 1969. Although Faldo dominated the Open in his heyday, his three victories all came in Scotland; he won at Muirfield in 1987 and 1992 and at St Andrews in 1990.
There are indications in the performances of the leading Englishmen of late which strongly suggest that barren run could be brought to an end come Sunday evening. Yet, for all their undoubted ability, their tournament successes and their astronomical earnings, there remain question marks over Donald, Rose and Westwood when it comes to the majors. The celebrated trio do not have a solitary victory to show for their efforts in the Masters, US Open, Open and US PGA.
Indeed, of the 20 English players in the 157-strong field in Lancashire there is not a single major winner. Even we Scots, with just six representatives, can boast a couple of those – Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle. Donald's track record in the Open is, to put it bluntly, pathetic. His highest finish was fifth at Turnberry in 2009. It is his only top-10 placing in 11 outings. For a player of his standing, that is embarrassing.
The 34-year-old believes he has been guilty of placing unnecessary pressure on himself in past Opens and has consciously decided to take a more relaxed approach this week. "I have just been a little bit too anxious," he said. "I am trying to control that. There will be times when I get uptight. But the remedy has to come from me."
Were Westwood any more laid back off the golf course he would, in all probability, be asleep. If he is feeling any unease about carrying the hopes of his nation he is not showing it. He feels the location of this week's tournament will help actually help his cause.
"We have very few events in England now," he said. "We just have the Open and the PGA Championship. So it is fun to play in front of a home crowd and feel all that support. It doesn't add to the pressure. It is nice to play on home turf. I have always enjoyed playing this golf course. I played in the Lytham Trophy a lot as an amateur and have played a couple of Opens here. I don't see any reason why I can't contend."
Westwood's renowned accuracy and length off the tee should work in his favour when the first round of the tournament gets underway tomorrow. With deep pot bunkers and penal rough awaiting stray shots, keeping the ball on the fairway on the 7086-yard, par-70 layout will be crucial. "I think driving is one of my advantages so I definitely want to use it as much as possible," he said. "But there are certainly places out there where you have to weigh things up. It is quite a good course for strategy."
The Worksop man also brushed aside persistent suggestions that his chipping and putting are not of a high enough standard to win an Open. "I don't think you can get to No.1 in the world without much of a short game," he said. "It is just my strengths are tee to green."
Donald's short game, in stark contrast to his countryman, is absolutely exceptional. The fact Seve Ballesteros, who was uniquely gifted around the greens, won the Open across this daunting stretch of linksland in 1979 and 1988 has given him hope he can challenge. "Seve was known as someone who would hit it wild off the tee and then use his short game to get out of trouble," he said.
"No matter where he was, he felt he could hole a shot. I have a great short game. I have great skills to get the ball in the hole no matter how I am playing. I have to go into this with that sort of fun attitude."
Westwood, unlike Donald, has challenged in the Open in the past. The 39-year-old was third at Turnberry in 2009 and runner-up behind Louis Oosthuizen at St Andrews in 2010. He admitted a victory here would mean more to him than Europe retaining the Ryder Cup in September. "I'd prefer to win a major because I'm selfish," he said. "Obviously, I'd like to win the Ryder Cup as well. But I haven't won a major yet so I'd like to win one. Or two. Or three."
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