Here are the six biggest questions being asked.

Will American dominance of the majors be broken?

Patrick Reed's victory in the Masters and Brooks Koepka's successful title defence in the US Open means American players currently hold all four major titles, as well as all the transatlantic team competitions.

American major winners Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas during practice. PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images.

American players have won three of the last five Open Championships, with Henrik Stenson lifting the Claret Jug in 2016 and Rory McIlroy doing so two years earlier.

The lion’s share of the field is playing under the Stars and Stripes, with 54 Americans in the field of 156.

Can Jordan Spieth become the first back-to-back winner for a decade?

Padraig Harrington was the last player to make a successful title defence, following his play-off victory over Sergio Garcia at Carnoustie in 2007 with a four-shot win at Royal Birkdale 12 months later. However, Spieth has struggled for consistent form this season, finishing third in the Masters after a closing 64 but also missing four cuts in 16 starts, including at the US Open.

Can Australia’s 25-year win drought at The Open be broken?

There are eight Australians in the field at Carnoustie – Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Cameron Smith, Brett Rumford, Matt Jones and debutantes Lucas Herbert and Cameron Davis.

Marc Leishman has contended at three of the past four Open Championships. PHOTO: Getty Images.

Day and Leishman are considered our best chances, but don’t be surprised if Scott – with Fanny Sunesson caddying and a conventional putter in the bag – is thereabouts on Sunday afternoon.

Greg Norman was the last Aussie to hoist the Claret Jug, back at Royal St George’s in 2003, so a victory is long overdue.  

Is a shock winner possible?

Since Darren Clarke and Keegan Bradley won the last two majors of 2011 when ranked 111th and 108th in the world respectively, the lowest-ranked winner of any major has been Jimmy Walker, who was 48th when he won the 2016 US PGA Championship.

Darren Clarke was the last shock winner of the Open, back in 2011. PHOTO: Getty Images.

The 2017 major winners were ranked 11th, 22nd, third and 14th, while Reed was 24th before his victory in the Masters and Koepka ninth at Shinnecock Hills. The days of Ben Curtis (396), Shaun Micheel (169) and Y.E Yang (110) appear to be over.

Can Tiger Woods win his 15th major this week?

Woods has not played the Open since missing the cut at St Andrews in 2015 and his last major title came in 2008. But his remarkable recovery from spinal fusion surgery means the 42-year-old's bid for a fourth Claret Jug cannot be overlooked.

Woods was seventh at Carnoustie in 1999 and 12th in 2007, while he also played the course in the 1995 Scottish Open as an amateur. The 14-time major winner bounced back from a missed cut in the US Open with a tie for fourth in the Quicken Loans National.

Without the need to hit driver, Tiger Woods becomes part of the conversation about the favourites are this week. PHOTO: Getty Images.

Given the hard and fast conditions at Carnoustie this week, Woods will be able to keep the driver – his Achilles Heel in recent years – in the bag like he did on his way to winning at Hoylake in 2006.

Will "Car-nasty" rear its ugly head again?

A severe course set-up and bad weather combined to make the 1999 Open the toughest in living memory, with Paul Lawrie eventually winning in a play-off after finishing tied with Jean van de Velde and Justin Leonard on six over par.

Carnoustie is rock hard because of the lack of rain in the past six weeks. PHOTO: Getty Images.

Lessons were learnt when the Open returned in 2007, with Harrington defeating Garcia in a play-off after the pair had finished tied on seven under.

And with the USGA coming in for stinging criticism over their approach in the recent US Open, the R&A will be determined to avoid similar mistakes.

Additonal reporting – Brendan James at Carnoustie