Andrew Cotter: Rory McIlroy definitely the Lennon or McCartney and not the Ringo in golf's Fab Four

Graeme McDowell may also find some joy on the Royal Troon course

mcilory, olympics, golf, the open, ireland

Picture by: Danny Lawson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

While withdrawals from the Olympics have dominated the golf news of late, it's now time to turn one's attention to the next major of 2016.

The great and good of golf have arrived at Royal Troon for The Open.

It's an event which has seen four Irish winners in the past decade: Padraig Harrington (2007 and 2008), Darren Clarke (2011) and Rory McIlroy (2014).

But can another emerge at this year's course?

Ex-European Tour pro Ronan Rafferty and the BBC's Andrew Cotter joined Off The Ball to discuss Royal Troon and the main challengers including the Big Four of McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.

At one time, McIlroy was seen as well ahead of the pack when he was playing at his maximum but that gap appears to have closed among the top names.

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, left, walks with Jason Day, of Australia, center, and Jordan Spieth, right, during the first round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

"Absolutely and for a right reason. They saw this kid trail-blaze majors by eight nine shots along the way for first time wins and they saw a kid who could hit shots which were literally stuff you wouldn't do in practice rounds, so of course they're learning as well, they're adapting, they're seeing what's going to make themselves better and look at the work they're doing in the background," Rafferty said, highlighting the amount of hours put into gym work for example.

He also spoke about how the course might well suit Graeme McDowell, while Cotter spoke about the conditions and how Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood might expect to perform well.

Cotter also gave his take on the comments during the week which seemed to pitch McIlroy as being in danger of becoming the "Ringo" in golf's aforementioned Fab Four.

"If Ringo had all the Grammy's and the others were all trying to catch up, definitely, but he's never going to be Ringo. Rory McIlroy is certainly Lennon or McCartney," he said, while hinting that Shane Lowry has the game to thrive around Royal Troon.