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Tiger Woods, rest of field face a different Hoylake at British Open

Bubba Watson of the US putts on the 16th green during a practice round ahead of the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Wednesday July 16, 2014. The British Open Golf championship starts Thursday July 17. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Bubba Watson of the US putts on the 16th green during a practice round ahead of the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Wednesday July 16, 2014. The British Open Golf championship starts Thursday July 17. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

David Howell hit the first shot of the 143rd British Open on Thursday. He also was the first to hit in the rough, and the first to make a bogey.

But all eyes were soon to turn to Tiger Woods.

Woods won at Royal Liverpool in 2006 when it was brown and crusty from a dry summer. He is playing his first major of the year because of back surgery, on a links course that is playing longer because of a wet spring that produced more lush conditions.

Thursday and Friday are two of the longest days in golf at The Open. Howell, former champion David Duval and Robert Karlsson teed off at 6:25 a.m. in mild, sunny conditions. The last group plays at 4:06 p.m.