The Open 2016: Jason Day most equipped to win - Nick Faldo
|The Open Championship|
|Venue: Royal Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland Dates: 14 July to 17 July|
|Coverage: Highlights on BBC TV and online, listen live on BBC Radio 5 live and follow live text on the BBC Sport website. Click here for full details|
Jason Day is the "most equipped" of the world's top four to win this week's Open Championship at Royal Troon, says six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo.
Day, 28, is world number one and has won seven times in the past 12 months, including the 2015 US PGA Championship.
His main rivals are American duo Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.
"Physically, technically and mentally Day is a little bit better than the other three guys," said Faldo.
McIlroy - the 2014 Open champion - is making his return to the event after an ankle injury prevented him defending the Claret Jug last year.
The 27-year-old has not won a major in two years and fallen to fourth in the world rankings.
"Mentally, Rory runs on emotion, which is great when he's up and you see that spring in his step, but he gets a little deflated if the putter is not working or a few drives are pounded out not in the right place," said Englishman Faldo, 58.
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McIlroy focused on his own game
Since then, he has struggled to challenge consistently, while 22-year-old Spieth has risen to prominence by winning back-to-back majors in 2015, Day has succeeded him as US PGA champion and Johnson has won his first major - the 2016 US Open.
McIlroy said: "My game has been quite consistent - apart from in 2013, when I didn't play well. That is probably the only time in the last six years I have dropped outside the top 10 in the world.
"I am happy with where my game is. I can't worry about other guys. I am confident if I go out and play my best golf I will win more than not.
McIlroy added that Royal Troon is a course where you "have to keep it out of the bunkers", and it was a point underlined during Tuesday's practice round, when he found the sand on the infamous par-three Postage Stamp and needed six shots to get out.
"Hopefully that is the struggles out of the way for that hole," he added.
Day has the eye of the Tiger
Australian Day has finished in the top 10 in each of his past five majors, which included his US PGA Championship victory at Whistling Straits last year.
In his quest to win more titles he has sought the advice of friend and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, who remains sidelined following the back operation he had in September.
"I've learned a lot from him, the mental strength he had, just the will to try and get the job done regardless of how you're hitting the ball," said Day.
Spieth 'craves' Open win
This year, Spieth has won two PGA Tour events, the most of recent of which was the Dean and Deluca Invitational at the end of May, and finished second to Danny Willett at the Masters after throwing away a five-shot lead during the final round.
He came into last year's Open after victory at the John Deere Classic but missed out on a play-off by one stroke having finished the tournament at St Andrews on 14 under.
"This is a very special tournament," said the 22-year-old. "The Claret Jug is something I have now held - I was with Zach [Johnson] the night he won it last year. I crave to have that trophy in my possession at some point.
"I have been here since Saturday and seen the different wind conditions. I love playing links golf. Hopefully, over the next 20 or 30 years, I will show that this style of golf plays to my strengths.
"I believe if I am in contention I can close. The process of getting into contention I am a little more hesitant with.
"Right now, I feel I have to do more work through my swing to get it more compact and ready for this style of golf."
Player: Give me 30 minutes with Spieth...
Gary Player, who won nine majors including three Open Championships, says he only needs 30 minutes with Jordan Spieth to turn him into the best ever player.
"Jordan Spieth has got a big fault in his swing,' said the 80-year-old South African. "He's not finding it and it's so obvious to me what he's doing.
"I'd give anything to spend half an hour with Spieth. If I could spend half an hour with him, he might turn out to be the best player the world has ever known."
Willett knows he can 'compete with the best guys'
Englishman Willett claimed a shock Masters victory at Augusta in April, capitalising on Spieth's final-round collapse to win by three shots and claim his first major at the age of 28.
"I know I've done it, played well and competed and won against the best guys," said Willett, who tied for 37th place at the US Open in June.
"You try not to have too much expectation on yourself every time you go out because it can be a lonely game when things aren't going your way.
"You can struggle if you keep reminiscing about how well you played a few months ago."
Rose wants to fulfil his potential
Justin Rose became the first Englishman to win the US Open in 43 years in 2013 - and it remains the 35-year-old's only major victory.
His best performance at The Open is still the joint fourth he achieved on his first appearance as a 17-year-old amateur at Royal Birkdale, although last year he finished tied for sixth.
"In recent years I've had a few decent looks at The Open," he said. "Last year, nine under par and entering the last round it would have taken a big round to win, but Zach Johnson and Marc Leishman both shot 66.
"I'm gaining more confidence and feeling a lot more confident in The Open. I'd love to lift it more than once - but really you only have to lift it once to feel you've fulfilled your potential."
Hamilton returns to scene of his greatest triumph
Todd Hamilton has returned to Royal Troon for the first time since 2004 after deliberately staying away to preserve the memories of his shock Open victory.
The 50-year-old American has played in every Open since, but did not even visit this year's course when the tournament was held at nearby Turnberry in 2009.
"I never have been tempted," said Hamilton. "I'm not superstitious or anything, but I always wanted to have good memories and didn't want to mess it up by coming here and hitting a drive in a bunker where I shouldn't, or three-putting a hole where I shouldn't.
"I don't remember everything that happened, but I remember enough to make it a very memorable and cherished event.
"I would like to have some other good memories this year."