The contenders

DUSTIN JOHNSON, 34 (USA)

• World ranking: 1

• Best finish: T2 (2011)

The world No. 1 could be forgiven for thinking that one Major win, the 2016 US Open, is scant reward for a player so impressive.

He may even resent the fact that the name Johnson already appears on the Open winner's Claret Jug but belongs to a lesser talent - the gritty Zach Johnson.

The 34-year-old is once more a serious contender, having finished in the top 10 in both the Masters and the US Open and with two US Tour wins this season.

JON RAHM, 23 (ESP)

• World ranking: 5

• Best finish: T44 (2017)

The signs are there that this may be Rahm's year: two wins this season, one in the US and the other on home soil at the Spanish Open. Add to that a strong performance in the Masters, where he finished fourth.

Another string to his bow and vital at Carnoustie - he can play links golf, winning the Irish Open last year at Portstewart and putting up a decent title defence this time round.

RICKIE FOWLER 29, (USA)

• World ranking: 7

• Best finish: T2 (2014)

Fowler, one of the best players never to have won a Major, may see his talents outshine his sartorial taste this time.

The American, known to step out in orange golfing gear and garish headgear, has shown he has taken to links golf with a runner-up finish in the 2014 Open. He warmed up for Carnoustie by finishing sixth at the Scottish Open.

RORY MCILROY, 29 (NIR)

• World ranking: 8

• Best finish: Champion, 2014

He started the season brightly with a win on the US Tour but little has flowed for him of late. He sparked back into life only in the PGA Championship final round when the pressure was off.

The 29-year-old has not added to his four Majors since 2014, but there is always the feeling he is never far from rediscovering the vim of yesteryear.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline 'The contenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe