Tee Times for the 2021 Open Championship – 6 Groups to Watch in the First and Second Rounds

By Michael Wynn in Sports
| July 14, 2021 4:57 am PDT

The Thursday and Friday groupings for the 2021 Open Championship have been released. A trio of Englishmen leads the opening pairing as Richard Bland will promptly strike the first shot of the tournament at 6:35 am local time.

There aren’t as many of the obvious featured groups like we’ve seen at the other majors; we’re still waiting for a Bryson and Brooks pairing to come to fruition. Having said that, a handful of British Open tee times on Thursday and Friday will garner the majority of the public’s attention.

Take a look.

Paul Casey, Abraham Ancer, Ian Poulter

  • Thursday Tee Time:  7:52 AM
  • Friday Tee Time: 12:53 PM

With lots of eyes on Brooks Koepka playing in group #9, I’ve got my eye on group #8 just ahead. Paul Casey and Ian Poulter are a couple of wily vets who have been playing terrific golf this season. They’re both sitting in a prime position to make the 2021 European Ryder Cup roster; expect each to make some noise at Royal St George’s.

Rounding out this trio is the face behind the Flecha Azul Tequila brand, aka Abraham Ancer. Strapped with four top-8 finishes in his last six starts, Ancer clocks in 19th in GIR and 2nd in distance from the edge of fairway on his tee shots. Don’t be shocked if the 36-hole leader arises from this grouping.

Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Branden Grace

  • Thursday Tee Time:  9:25 AM
  • Friday Tee Time: 2:26 PM

Moving onto group #16, here’s one of the Open Championship tee times on Thursday that viewers will be locked into from start to finish. Spieth hasn’t teed it up competitively since finishing 19th at the US Open, one of his 11 top-20s across his last 13 starts. The Claret Jug winner in 2017 has two other career top-10s at the British Open.

Bryson has failed to post a top-50 finish in three starts at the Open Championship and has a new caddie on the bag for the first time in years.

Despite the “unknowns” attached to the Mad Scientist this week, watching him go full bore with his driver is worth the price of admission. 

While all of the hoopla surrounding Spieth and DeChambeau is going on, Branden Grace will attempt to continue his resurgence. The 33-year-old South African was ranked 147th in the world in February; he’s since tacked on a win (Puerto Rico Open) to go along with a 4th at the Memorial and a 7th at the US Open. Grace arrives in South East England ranked 62nd in the world.

Shane Lowry, Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen

  • Thursday Tee Time:  9:58 AM
  • Friday Tee Time: 2:59 PM

After battling for the US Open trophy down the stretch at Torrey Pines, the R&A has ensured that Jon Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen will get an up-close and personal look at each other’s game in Sandwich, Kent. Last month’s winner and runner-up in La Jolla are joined by the defending Champion Golfer of the Year to form arguably the most potent of all the 2021 British Open pairings.

Shane Lowry is yet to visit the winner’s circle since triumphing at Royal Portrush but don’t let that confuse you into thinking his game isn’t trending in the right direction.

Dating back to his T8 at THE PLAYERS in March, Lowry has connected on ten straight cuts racking up four top-10s in the process.

Louis has finished second three times in three of his last five starts, including in each of the last two majors. Rahm’s riding with as much confidence and positive vibes as he ever has.

Xander Schauffele, Robert MacIntyre, Rickie Fowler

  • Thursday Tee Time:  2:59 PM
  • Friday Tee Time: 9:58 AM

Xander’s right behind Rahm in the #2 slot in my Open Championship power rankings – that tells you all you need to know about what to expect out of the newly married man this week in England. Schauffele appears to have ditched the arm-lock putting experiment and is back to the method that has carried him to being a top-5 putter on tour this season.

Robert MacIntyre is a Scotsman born to excel in links golf, as evidenced by his T6 at Royal Portrush in 2019. This will be “Bob’s” second start at The Open.

Filling out this late-Thursday afternoon grouping is Rickie Fowler, a man who’s highly motivated after failing to qualify for two of the four majors this season (Fowler had played in 41 consecutive majors entering 2021).

Rickie was outspoken about his displeasure about how the R&A is handling certain procedures, but that’s water under the bridge now that he’s on-site and ready to go. A couple of top-11 finishes in his last four starts gives him some momentum, as does the fact that he finished 6th at the most recent Open Championship.

Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Adam Scott

  • Thursday Tee Time:  3:10 PM
  • Friday Tee Time: 10:09 AM

Sauntering in off a blemish-free 65 Sunday at the Scottish Open, Justin Thomas is locked and loaded to contend at Royal St George’s. Entrenched as one of the best iron and wedge players in the world, JT made a putter switch last week in hopes of sparking a run on the greens.

Tommy Fleetwood hasn’t played his best in 2021, but the affable Englishman is rejuvenated after seeing Phil emerge out of nowhere to claim the Wanamaker Trophy. Should he get into contention on Sunday, Fleetwood can lean on his experience gained from finishing runner-up in ’19.

“I was stood there on the first tee on Sunday, and I played that whole day in the final group. You can’t buy that, you can’t practice that, and when you do get there again you are a little bit more comfortable and you have got that knowledge of what it was like.”

Playing alongside Thomas and Fleetwood, Adam Scott quietly feels great about his chances. The ball-striking savant finished 7th in SG: Putting last time out at the Travelers Championship (T13), not to mention, he’s landed 5th or better three times at the British Open.

Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Cameron Smith

  • Thursday Tee Time: 3:21 PM
  • Friday Tee Time: 10:20 AM

As businesslike as this triumvirate is on the golf course, don’t expect much chatter from group #47. Rory and Patrick are well acquainted going back to their classic singles match at the 2016 Ryder Cup; the duo were paired together in the final round at Augusta in ’18 when Reed slipped on the Green Jacket.

It’s safe to say that the competition presented by Rory brings out the best in “Captain America.”

Putting the theater between Rory and Reed aside, one can argue that the most drama in this Open Championship tee time is the beef between Reed and Cameron Smith.

The Aussie essentially called Patrick a cheater after Reed’s incident in the bunker in the Bahamas in 2019. At the time, shortly before the Presidents Cup, Smith stated that he hopes “the crowd absolutely gives it to him” at Royal Melbourne. This will be the first time that Cameron and Patrick will play together since, and trust me, no love will be lost.

Two More British Open Tee Times to Watch

Perhaps by design, but none of the Open Championship tee times for the first two rounds feature three men from the United States. However, among the British Open groupings in 2021 showcasing two Americans, here are two more that caught my eye.

  • Phil Mickelson
  • Tyrrell Hatton
  • Kevin Kisner
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Will Zalatoris
  • Justin Rose

Buckle up for a fun ride!



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