Just as much attention - if not more - figures to be on Rory McIlroy, playing before a home crowd in Northern Ireland on a course where he showed off his potential as a 16-year-old who set the course record at Royal Portrush with a 61 in the North of Ireland Amateur.
"If I'm being honest, it would obviously mean the world to me", said the Northern Irishman, who won the 2014 Open at Hoylake.
Brooks Koepka may be a four-time major victor and world number one, but for the only time in his career he is playing second-fiddle to his caddie this week.
That was about as clear as picking who stands the best chance at Royal Portrush.
"But being able to control it as best you possibly can in the air to control it on the ground allows the older players to have a chance to do well in The Open Championship".
"I liked the way he went about things", Koepka said Tuesday. He was joking on the phone.
"This is just a wonderful golf course". I know 17 and 18 are not there anymore. "He's pretty laid back".
Things, as they say, were moving quickly, and everyone started scrambling at the realization that Tiger might win his 15th major that day. After winning his second straight U.S. Open title last year, Koepka won his second straight PGA Championship this year. The only data that one can review is the 2012 edition of the Irish Open which was played at Royal Portrush. "It's hard to believe that I pulled it off and I ended up winning the tournament". McIlroy said he's entirely comfortable on the challenging course, which "just feels like Portrush to me". "It's incredible. But at the same time, it's been quite disappointing, you know?" "Finishing second sucks", he said. He said he texted Koepka, hoping to get some advice on the course.
Woods played plenty past year trying to get back inside the top 50 in the world - he now is up to No. 5 - to become eligible for World Golf Championships he once took for granted. He's been so consistent, so solid.
On the 10th anniversary of Tom Watson's near miracle at Turnberry at the age of 59, it would be both more and much less surprising to see Tiger win his fourth Open and 16th major. "If it was any other tournament, I'd take the week off". Woods has never before played at Royal Portrush, which is hosting The Open for the first time since 1951.
Brooks Koepka and Jena Sims attend The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
"To play for this long, I'm very thankful and appreciative", Mickelson said. "Every great athlete has one", he added.
Portrush native Graeme McDowell is off at 9:14am in the company of 2016 victor Henrik Stenson and American Xander Schauffele, who finished joint second at Carnoustie a year ago. Now it doesn't matter to me.
"A lot of it was trying to qualify for certain events, trying to get into play-offs, trying to build a schedule where my world ranking would get me up where I'd be in the biggest events. How many majors I want to win, how many wins, my own accomplishments".