Welcome to GOLF.com’s “Seen & Heard” video series, where we’ll endeavor to give you an inside look at golf’s biggest events through the eyes and ears of our onsite crew. On deck this week: The 2023 Open Championship from Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Let’s go!
On Wednesday at Royal Liverpool, the players’ preparations were in full swing, the fans were brimming with excitement as they enjoyed Open Eve in person and our GOLF.com team was on the ground to take it all in.
After a brief conversation debating the winning score-to-par while walking to the course (“My prediction is that 16 under is going to win again, the same score Rory shot [in 2014]” – Sean Zak), the team headed to the practice green to watch Justin Thomas put in some work, while debating the merits of Thomas’ hoodie and the garment’s place in the game.
James Colgan joined the crew at the practice green to watch Tommy Fleetwood and contemplate whether home-field advantage for the English star, who grew up near Royal Liverpool, is a positive or negative going into this year’s Open.
“It would be really, really silly to not go out with the aim to enjoy it and embrace it and see what you can do out there,” Fleetwood said at his Wednesday press conference. “I would like to play well, I’ll be disappointed, and I’ll be upset if I don’t, but you also have to realize that there are certain things about the week that are very special and focus on them as well.”
But the action was happening all over the sunny Royal Liverpool property on Wednesday, so our crew took to the course to get a lay of the land and watch pros make their final prep.
Rory McIlroy could be seen trying (and failing) to escape one of the course’s devilish pot bunkers, whose faces were altered to make them even more difficult this week, as Zak explained.
Seamus Power answered a few questions from gathered media, explaining how watching friend and fellow Irishman Shane Lowry win the Open has given him the confidence that he can lift the Claret Jug this week.
Josh Berhow took a stroll across the course to discuss the Village Play at Royal Liverpool, an Artisans Club for which locals trade their labor for tee-time privileges at the storied course.
Dylan Dethier explained the story of the new Tiger, aka Tiger Christensen, the 19-year-old German in the field who was named “50-50” for Tiger Woods and a friend of Christensen’s dad.
The crew then surveyed the fans in attendance on the final preview day, trying to find out who they thought would win the Open this week.
The answers were varied, from local favorite Matthew Jordan and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, to American Brooks Koepka and defending champion Cam Smith. But there was one name the people of Hoylake identified more than any other as the player they think and hope will win: world No. 3 Rory McIlroy.
To close out the day, our team heads back to the media center where they make their own final predictions for who will win this week.
Check out the entire video above to see who they think will take home the $3 million winner’s prize on Sunday.