Published July 14, 2012
LYTHAM, England – Facts and figures for the British Open golf championship:
Event: 141st British Open
Dates: July 19-22
Site: Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Length: 7,086 yards
Field: 156 (154 professionals, 2 amateurs).
Prize money: 5 million pounds (about $7.75 million).
Winner's share: 900,000 pounds (about $1.4 million).
Defending champion: Darren Clarke.
Last year: Darren Clarke, who had not even contended at a major in 10 years, withstood a pair of American challenges and finally captured a major championship. He closed with an even-par 70 at Royal St. George's to win by three shots over Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson. Johnson's charge was stopped when he hit out-of-bounds with his second shot to the par-5 14th. Mickelson's undoing was missing a 3-foot par putt on the 11th. At 42, Clarke became the third-oldest player to win his first major.
Last time at Lytham: David Duval started in a four-way tie for the lead and closed with a 4-under 67 to capture his first — and only — major championship. He finished on 10-under 274 for a three-shot win over Niclas Fasth. Ian Woosnam made birdie on the par-3 opening hole, only to discover he had an extra driver for 15 clubs in his bag, which cost him two shots. He wound up four shots behind.
Open champions at Royal Lytham & St. Annes: David Duval (2001), Tom Lehman (1996), Seve Ballesteros (1979, 1988), Gary Player (1974), Tony Jacklin (1969), Bob Charles (1963), Peter Thomson (1958), Bobby Locke (1952), Bobby Jones (1926).
The course: Royal Lytham & St. Annes is filled with distinctions. It is the only links on the Open rotation that begins with a par 3 and ends with six successive par 4s. It is the only links with no open views of the sea, protected on three sides by houses. It is the smallest property among links courses on the rotation, and it has more bunkers — 206 — that any of the other courses. The club opened in 1866 and hosted its first Open in 1926, won by Bobby Jones. This year, the sixth hole will be played as a par 4, meaning par for the course will be 70 for the first time.
Key statistic: The last 15 majors have been won by 15 players, the second-longest streak since the Masters began in 1934.
Tailing Tiger: Tiger Woods has not had a top 10 in the British Open since winning at Royal Liverpool in 2006. He did not play in 2008 and 2011.
Noteworthy: Americans have a chance to hold all four straight majors for the first time since Phil Mickelson won the 2004 Masters.
Quoteworthy: "There's no experience like walking down the 18th hole at The Open Championship when the grandstands are full." — Two-time British Open champion Padraig Harrington.
Television (all times EDT): Thursday and Friday, 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., ESPN. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., ESPN. Sunday, 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., ESPN.