The Open: Rickie Fowler has Carnoustie’s number, says Gary Player

Gary Player believes anybody in the field of 156 can win this week’s Open because of the unusual conditions and the competition’s record for unearthing hidden golfers.

But pushed to make a pick, the legendary South African tipped Rickie Fowler to break his major duck. Player thinks Fowler is in prime form and has the game to tackle Carnoustie’s scorched brown fairways.

The 29-year-old American has finished runner-up in three majors, was third in the PGA Championship and tied sixth at last week’s Scottish Open, having hit a 458-yard drive. 

Gary Player, 82, believes that Rickie Fowler (pictured) can break his major duck at The Open

Gary Player, 82, believes that Rickie Fowler (pictured) can break his major duck at The Open

Gary Player, 82, believes that Rickie Fowler (pictured) can break his major duck at The Open

Player, a winner here 50 years ago, said: ‘If you get a feeling about somebody winning, my feeling is Rickie Fowler. He’s been very close at majors. He played so well last week, he’s in a good frame of mind, and he’s a marvellous putter.’

But the 82-year-old sees a fiercely competitive event. ‘The way the golf course is set at the moment, as the conditions are, anybody who plays in this tournament could win,’ Player added. ‘We’ve seen some big shocks in the last few years, people you’ve never heard of coming out and winning.’

Adopting his customary role as a raconteur on Wednesday, Player also took aim at appearance fees. He said a request for an unnamed golfer to play a charity day at Wentworth not long ago was met with a remarkable demand.

‘He was playing up at Troon and wanted $500,000 for the one day,’ Player said. ‘When I went overseas, I was paid, but within reason. When you see an ordinary player who’s never won a major asking for $500,000, it’s a very sad day.’

But Player, pictured on Wednesday, admits it is hard to pick a winner ahead of the tournament

But Player, pictured on Wednesday, admits it is hard to pick a winner ahead of the tournament

But Player, pictured on Wednesday, admits it is hard to pick a winner ahead of the tournament

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