As the Open Championships are increasingly being dominated by players in their 20s, it is worth taking a look at next year’s events and considering one player from the younger generation who has a chance at causing an upset.
In the past two years, the Open Championship has been won by 29-year-old Australian Cameron Smith and 25-year-old US golfer Collin Morikawa, while the US Open has seen three twenty-somethings triumph in the last three tournaments in the form of Matt Fitzpatrick, Bryson DeChambeau, and Jon Rahm. In fact, the top five golfers in the world are currently all under 30.
The next golfing sensation?
This raises the question of whether the 2023 Open Championships could be the year for a fresh-faced standout to make it big. The South Korean golfer Kim Joo-hyung, who also goes by the name Tom Kim, recorded two creditable finishes at the Open Championships this year. At just 20 years of age, he finished 23rd in the US Open and tied in 47th place in the Open Championship. Joo-hyung has achieved 19th place in the Official World Golf Ranking, his highest ranking to date. This creates an opportunity for the young Korean to mount a significant challenge next year.
Joo-hyung, who is benefitting from the resurgent Asian Tour, can be encouraged by the exploits of Justin Rose, who won the hearts of fans all over the world when, as a 17-year-old amateur, he tied for fourth place in the 1998 Open Championship held at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Rose finished +2, just one stroke behind Tiger Woods and two behind Mark O’Meara, who ultimately beat Brian Watts in a playoff. Of course, as an amateur, Rose missed out on over $90,000 in prize money for finishing fourth alongside the likes of Jim Furyk.
Young professionals can also take inspiration from Spanish golfer Jon Rahm, who at the age of 27 won his first ever major championship when he triumphed in the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, San Diego. He also tied for third at the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich. Of course, veterans such as 33-year-old Rory McIlroy are still expected to dominate the Open Championships this year. He won the U.S. Open at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland in 2011 and the Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Merseyside, England in 2014.
Tried and tested golfers still dominant
Not surprisingly, McIlroy and Rahm are amongst the favorites to win the two Open Championships next year. In the outright market, Rory McIlroy is currently priced at odds of +1000 to win the 2023 US Open Championship and Jon Rahm is second favorite at odds of +1200 with BetMGM, which is rated the overall best sportsbook for sports betting in Colorado. The two European golfers are quoted at the same price to win the Open Championship in 2023. The young pretender Kim Joo-hyung is an outsider to emerge victorious, priced at +4000 to win the Open Championship and the same price to win the US Open Championship.
The 2023 Open Championship will be held at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake in July 2023. It will be the first time the venue has hosted the tournament since 2014. The 2023 US Open will take place next June at the Los Angeles Country Club for the first time in history.
While it is no surprise to see McIlroy and Rahm favorites to dominate the major Open Championships, there is always a chance for a young contender such as Kim Joo-hyung to spring a surprise, he just has to look to Justin Rose for inspiration, demonstrating that young age is no barrier to success.