The British Open began Thursday with Colin Montgomerie hitting the opening tee shot on the Royal Troon links where his father once was club secretary.

Montgomerie, widely considered the best player to have never won a major, qualified at age 53 for what likely will be his last Open. The R&A chose him to be the first player to hit a shot on a gorgeous morning along the Irish Sea.

There wasn't an empty seat in the grandstand next to the first tee, where the silver claret jug was on a podium. Five dogs were on the beach.

There was no wind, allowing the early starters to take aim at one of the shorter courses on the Open rotation. Montgomerie teed off with Marc Leishman and Luke Donald.