PGA European - British Open Preview
From The Sports Network
|DATES: Thursday, July 17th through Sunday, July 20th|
|SITE: Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, England|
|COURSE ARCHITECT: Robert Chambers and George Morris (1869)|
|Hole-By-Hole:||1 - Par 4 458 Yds||10 - Par 5 532 Yds|
|2 - Par 4 454 Yds||11 - Par 4 391 Yds|
|3 - Par 4 426 Yds||12 - Par 4 447 Yds|
|4 - Par 4 372 Yds||13 - Par 3 194 Yds|
|5 - Par 5 528 Yds||14 - Par 4 454 Yds|
|6 - Par 3 201 Yds||15 - Par 3 161 Yds|
|7 - Par 4 480 Yds||16 - Par 5 577 Yds|
|8 - Par 4 431 Yds||17 - Par 4 458 Yds|
|9 - Par 3 197 Yds||18 - Par 5 551 Yds|
|34 3,547 Yds||37 3,765 Yds|
|Annual: || 143rd|
|Television: || ESPN - Thursday/Friday -- 4 a.m.-3 p.m. (ET),|
| || - Saturday -- 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (ET),|
| || - Sunday -- 6 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (ET)|
|Defending Champion: || Phil Mickelson|
|Runner-Up: || Henrik Stenson|
|Tournament Record: || 267 (Greg Norman, 1993 - Royal St. George's)|
|54-Hole Record: || 198 (Tom Lehman, 1996 - Royal Lytham & St. Annes)|
|36-Hole Record: || 130 (Nick Faldo, 1992 - Muirfield,|
| || Brandt Snedeker, 2012 - Royal Lytham & St. Annes)|
|18-Hole Record: || 63 (Mark Hayes, 1977 - Turnberry)|
| || (Isao Aoki, 1980 - Muirfield)|
| || (Greg Norman, 1986 - Turnberry)|
| || (Paul Broadhurst, 1990 - St. Andrews)|
| || (Jodie Mudd, 1991 - Royal Birkdale)|
| || (Nick Faldo, Payne Stewart, 1993 - Royal St. George's)|
| || (Rory McIlroy, 2010 - St. Andrews)|
|Total Purse: || $9,200,000 (5,400,000 pounds)|
|Shares: || 1st Place - $1,440,000; 2nd Place - $832,106; 3rd Place - $534,884|
|Phil Mickelson||281||Zach Johnson||286|
|Henrik Stenson||284||Hideki Matsuyama||286|
|Ian Poulter||285||Tiger Woods||286|
|Adam Scott||285||Hunter Mahan||287|
|Lee Westwood||285||Francesco Molinari||287|
|Top Contenders in the Field|
|Miguel A. Jimenez||T-47||T-52||T-41||T-12||mc||T-13||T-27||T-25||T-9||T-13|
|Sports Network Selections|
|Pick to Win - Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose|
|Darkhorse - Rickie Fowler, Thongchai Jaidee, Danny Willett|
|Last Week's Pick to Win (Jamie Donaldson) - Missed the cut|
|Last Week's Darkhorse (Robert Karlsson) - Finished tied for 8th|
Can Tiger Woods prove to the world that he is healthy and win his 15th major
championship? Will Phil Mickelson defend his title from last year and win his
sixth major title? Can Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer win their second major
championship this year and third overall? Can Justin Rose, Adam Scott or
Graeme McDowell win a second major? Will Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, Jason
Day, Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood or Sergio Garcia claim their
first major championship? Will Rory McIlroy win his third leg of the career
grand slam? These questions will all be answered this week as the 143rd
British Open Championship takes shape at Royal Liverpool. This will be the
12th British Open to be played at Royal Liverpool and first since 2006, when
Woods won his third British Open.
Woods will be playing for the first time since missing the cut at the Quicken
Loans National on the PGA Tour three weeks ago. That tournament was the first
that he played in three months due to back surgery. Woods is still looking for
his first win of the season and has fallen to No. 7 in the world rankings.
World No. 1 Adam Scott is playing for the first time since finishing tied for
ninth at the U.S. Open. He has one victory this season at the Crowne Plaza
Invitational at Colonial on the PGA Tour. Scott has six top-10 finishes this
season and has made 38 straight cuts dating back to 2012.
World No. 2 Henrik Stenson comes into this major in good form. He is still
looking for his first victory of the year, but has four straight top-7
finishes, including a runner-up finish at the BMW International Open three
World No. 3 Justin Rose is the hottest player in the world, winning his last
two events. He captured the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour three weeks
ago and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open last week on the European
Kaymer will be looking to win for the third time this year, after capturing
two huge events at the Players Championship on the PGA Tour and his second
major title at the U.S. Open.
Last year, Mickelson put together one of the best final rounds in major
championship history as he fired a 5-under 66 to win. He matched the low round
of the week and his second-best score in a major to finish at 3-under-par 281.
With four birdies in the last six holes, Mickelson was able to rally for his
first Claret Jug.
In 2012, Ernie Els won in a stunning final round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes
that saw Adam Scott bogey the last four holes to lose by one. Scott held a
4-shot lead with four to play and bogeyed them all. Els drained a 15-foot
birdie putt on the 18th, then watched Scott miss an 8-foot par save at the
last to give Els his fourth major title. Els picked up his second Claret Jug
after he won at Muirfield in 2002. He won the U.S. Open in both 1994 and 1997
and has now captured major titles in three different decades. Els fought back
from seven behind after two rounds.
In 2011, Darren Clarke fought off challenges by Mickelson and Dustin Johnson
in the final round to win. Clarke fired rounds of 68-68-69-70 to finish at
5-under-par 275 for a 3-stroke win over Mickelson and Johnson. It was Clarke's
first major championship title in his 54th attempt. His best previous finish
in the four majors both came at this championship -- second in 1997 and third
Clarke's win gave Northern Ireland its second straight major championship
title and third in six majors contested. McIlroy won the U.S. Open in June of
2011, a year after McDowell won the same event. The back-to-back wins for
Northern Ireland were the first for any country other than the United States
since 1910. Clarke was also the second player from Northern Ireland to win the
Claret Jug, joining Fred Daly, who won the crown in 1947. He also became the
first major champion over the age of 40 since Vijay Singh won the PGA
Championship in 2004.
Louis Oosthuizen shot rounds of 65-67-69-71 in 2010 to finish his first major
championship title in style at 16-under-par 272. He ended seven strokes clear
of Westwood on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Oosthuizen became the fourth
South African to win this event, joining Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Els.
Locke also won at St. Andrews. Americans Sean O'Hair and Nick Watney tied for
seventh. It was the first time since 1969 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that
there were no Americans in the top five at a British Open.
In 2009, Stewart Cink denied Tom Watson's run at history by winning in a
4-hole playoff. Cink totaled 14 strokes in the extra session, while Watson
needed 20 shots in the same stretch at Turnberry. For Cink, it was his sixth
PGA Tour win and first major championship. Watson had been going for his
record-tying sixth Open Championship title and was trying to become the oldest
major champion. Cink posted a 1-under 69 in regulation, that included a birdie
on the 72nd hole to post 2-under-par 278. Watson led by one on the 18th tee of
regulation, but knocked his approach over the green at the last and could not
save par. Watson shot 2-over 72 in the final round to match Cink at minus-2.
Cink never owned a piece of the lead until his birdie putt dropped on the 72nd
Padraig Harrington became the fifth player in 50 years to successfully
defend his title in 2008. Harrington fired an outstanding, 1-under 69 in the
final round to win his second major championship at 3-over 283. He was an
amazing 4-under on his back nine when conditions intensified at Royal
Birkdale. Greg Norman's amazing run at becoming the oldest major champion
ended on the back nine of the final round. The 53-year-old and 2-time former
British Open champion held the lead on the 10th tee, but four back-9 bogeys
derailed his chances. Norman, who held the third-round lead, finished with a
7-over 77 and tied for third place.
Harrington joined Woods (2005-06), Tom Watson (1982-83), Lee Trevino (1971-72)
and Arnold Palmer (1961-62) as the only players to repeat in the last 51
years. Amateur Chris Wood finished in a tie for fifth in 2008. It was just
the third top-10 finish by an amateur in any major championship since 1970,
joining Rose (T-4 at 1998 British Open) and Jim Simons (T-5 at 1971 U.S.
In 2007, Harrington got a second chance and defeated Sergio Garcia in a
playoff to earn his first major at Carnoustie. Harrington took the
aggregate, four-hole playoff 15-16. Harrington became the first European to
win a major since Paul Lawrie titled at Carnoustie in 1999. Harrington made a
disastrous double-bogey on the 72nd hole in regulation, but Garcia followed
him with a bogey at 18 to force the 4-hole playoff to decide the title.
With his win in 2007, Harrington became the first Irishman to win the British
Open since Northern Ireland's Fred Daly in 1947. Harrington's 6-stroke
comeback in the final round was the largest come-from-behind win since Lawrie
came from 10 strokes back to win at Carnoustie in 1999.
Woods successfully defended his title in 2006 with a 2-shot victory at Royal
Liverpool. He was threatened by Chris DiMarco on the back nine, but three
consecutive birdies from the 14th allowed Woods to shoot a final-round,
5-under 67. Woods finished the event at 18-under-par 270. It was Woods' third
British Open title and first at a venue other than St. Andrews. It was his
first victory since his father, Earl, passed away in May of 2006.
In 2005, Woods captured his second British Open championship at the Old Course
at St. Andrew's to become the second player in golf history to win the career
Grand Slam twice. He did it on the same course where he completed his first
slam. In 2000, Woods dusted the field at St. Andrews to win and become
the fifth player in golf history to win all four major championships.
In 2005, he joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to do it more than
once. Woods opened the event with a 66 and never looked back, as he led
wire-to-wire. With his win, Woods became the sixth player to win this event
in wire-to-wire fashion. The others are: Ted Ray (1912), Bobby Jones (1927),
Gene Sarazen (1932), Henry Cotton (1934) and Tom Weiskopf (1973). He became
the fifth player to win two British Opens at St. Andrews, joining Bob Martin
(1876, 1885), J.H. Taylor (1895, 1900), James Braid (1905, 1910) and
Nicklaus (1970, 78). Woods won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 to join
Nicklaus as the only two players to win the career Grand Slam three times.
Nicklaus competed in the final major of his career in 2005 at St.
Andrews. The same week Nicklaus bowed out of competitive golf, Woods
completed another type of slam. Every major championship Nicklaus stepped away
from, Woods hoisted the trophy. It first started in 2000 at the U.S. Open at
Pebble Beach, then a few months later at Valhalla, Woods claimed the PGA
Championship. Earlier in 2005, Nicklaus announced it would be his last trip to
the Masters as a player and Woods went on to defeat Chris DiMarco in a
playoff. In his 15 appearances at the British Open as a professional, Woods
has three wins, nine top-10s and one missed cut.
In 2004, for the second consecutive year, an underdog of the biggest
proportion captured the title. Todd Hamilton joined 2003 winner Ben Curtis
as British Open champions, as he outdueled Els in a playoff to capture the
Claret Jug. When Curtis won in 2003, he was the 396th-ranked player in
the world. He stunned the planet's best with his final round of 69 and a
1-shot win over Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh. Curtis, who jumped to 35th in
the world after his win, became the first player since Francis Ouimet at the
1913 U.S. Open to capture a major in his first major appearance. With his win
in 2004, Hamilton became the second consecutive rookie on the PGA Tour to win
this event. Prior to winning, Hamilton was ranked 96th in the world and
climbed to 16th after the win.
Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor and Gary Player are the only players to win the
British Open in three different decades. Henry Cotton set the record for the
largest 54-hole lead in British Open history when he took a 10-stroke
advantage into the final round at Sandwich in 1934. Cotton carded a
final-round 79, but still won by five over Sidney Brews.
The European Tour travels to Russia next week for the M2M Russian Open at
Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club in Moscow, where Michael Hoey won in 2013.
07/14 16:18:53 ET
As of July 14, 2014, at 04:20 PM ET