GULLANE, Scotland – The first order of business at the British Open was for Ernie Els to hand over the claret jug.
Els climbed out of a station wagon Monday morning in front of the clubhouse at Muirfield, holding the silver trophy he won last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He gave it to Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson, and they posed for photographs.
Now it's up to the 43-year-old South African to get it back, and that doesn't figure to be easy.
Els won last month in Germany. He won the last time at Muirfield. But he has this piece of history working against him — the last major champion in his 40s to successfully defend his title was Old Tom Morris, and that was 151 years ago.