Golf / The Open Championship: Six to follow: Robert Green on the chances of those most likely to threaten the favourites

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The Independent Online
Greg Norman

Nationality: Australian. Age: 38.

World ranking: No 4. It is somehow apt that Norman, winner of the Open in 1986, has played 13 tournaments this season. No top-class golfer has been more unlucky. Has won once this year, but near-misses column shows six other top-four finishes. Will he ever win a second major? Time may be running out.

Payne Stewart

Nationality: American. Age: 36.

World ranking: No 14. Has finished in Open top 10 five times in 10 attempts, including second to Sandy Lyle at Sandwich in 1985. Was second at US Open and has been second or third six times on US tour this year. His problem is that he hasn't won since the US Open in 1991. But this could be the week.

Jose Maria Olazabal

Nationality: Spanish. Age: 27.

World ranking: No 7. With Azinger, the best contemporary golfer not to have won a major. Still seems haunted by one-shot defeat at 1991 Masters. Hasn't won since March 1992, although he was third in the Open last year. Second place in Ireland last week may indicate that at last he is ready to win again.

Lee Janzen

Nationality: American. Age: 28.

World ranking: No 20. US Open victory last month was only third of his career, and one of seven top-10 finishes from 20 starts in 1993. Surely won't get the number of lucky breaks that he got at Baltusrol again, but can play links golf. Opening 66 last year shared lead with Faldo and John Cook.

Bernhard Langer

Nationality: German. Age: 35.

World ranking: No 2. Has only played a dozen tournaments this year, but his victories have come in two big ones - the Masters and the Volvo PGA Championship. Chances of the Open title may be hampered by a neck injury, but was second at Sandwich in 1981 and third, as Masters champion, in 1985.

Paul Azinger

Nationality: American. Age: 33.

World ranking: No 6. Finished bogey-bogey to lose the 1987 Open by one shot to Nick Faldo. 1993 form is mercurial - in 16 starts, has missed six cuts but seven times been in the top three. Won the Memorial Tournament in June with a bunker shot at the last to thwart Payne Stewart. Has the game to win.

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