PGA European - British Open Preview
From The Sports Network
|DATES: Thursday, July 18th through Sunday, July 21st|
|SITE: Muirfield Golf Club, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland|
|COURSE ARCHITECT: Hall Blyth (1891)|
|Hole-By-Hole:||1 - Par 4 447 Yds||10 - Par 4 469 Yds|
|2 - Par 4 364 Yds||11 - Par 4 387 Yds|
|3 - Par 4 377 Yds||12 - Par 4 379 Yds|
|4 - Par 3 226 Yds||13 - Par 3 190 Yds|
|5 - Par 5 559 Yds||14 - Par 4 475 Yds|
|6 - Par 4 461 Yds||15 - Par 4 448 Yds|
|7 - Par 3 184 Yds||16 - Par 3 186 Yds|
|8 - Par 4 441 Yds||17 - Par 5 575 Yds|
|9 - Par 5 554 Yds||18 - Par 4 470 Yds|
|36 3,613 Yds||35 3,579 Yds|
|Annual: || 142nd|
|Television: || ESPN - Thursday/Friday -- 5 a.m.-3 p.m. (ET),|
| || - Saturday -- 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (ET),|
| || - Sunday -- 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (ET)|
|Defending Champion: || Ernie Els|
|Runner-Up: || Adam Scott|
|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: || $8,023,324 (5,250,000 pounds) - Rates as of July 3, 2013|
|Shares: || 1st Place - $1,444,250; 2nd Place - $832,891; 3rd Place - $534,884|
|Ernie Els||273||Graeme McDowell||278|
|Adam Scott||274||Thomas Aiken||279|
|Brandt Snedeker||277||Nicolas Colsaerts||279|
|Tiger Woods||277||10 players at||280|
|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|
|Davis Love III||T-4||T-5||mc||mc||mc||T-19||T-27||mc||T-9||mc|
|Sports Network Selections|
|Pick to Win - Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els|
|Darkhorse - Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan|
|Last Week's Pick to Win (Phil Mickelson) - Won|
|Last Week's Darkhorse (Robert Rock) - Missed the cut|
Can world No. 1 Tiger Woods prove to the world that he is all the way back and
win his 15th major championship? Will Ernie Els defend his title from last
and from 2002 at Muirfield? Can Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Graeme
McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel or Keegan Bradley win a second
major? Will Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood or Sergio
Garcia claim their first major championship? Will Phil Mickelson win his third
leg of the career grand slam and capture his fifth major? These questions
will all be answered this week as the 142nd British Open Championship takes
shape at Muirfield. This will be the 16th British Open to be played at
Muirfield and first since 2002, when Els won his first of two British Opens.
Woods is playing for the first time since finishing tied for 32nd at the U.S.
Open five weeks ago. He has not played since due to an elbow injury. Woods is
the only player on the PGA Tour with four wins this season.
Last year, Els won in a stunning final round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that
saw 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. Brandt Snedeker, who held the 36-hole lead at a
record-tying 130, finished tied for third with Woods.
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
the four majors both came at this championship -- second in 1997 and third in
Clarke's win gave Northern Ireland its second straight major championship
title and third in six majors contested. Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open in
June of 2011, a year after Graeme 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. It was Clarke's 20th start at the British
Open, which breaks the record for most starts before winning the title. Nick
Price had the old record, winning the British Open in his 15th appearance.
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-
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
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), Watson (1982-83), Lee Trevino (1971-72) and
Arnold Palmer (1961-62) as the only players to repeat in the last 50 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,
Justin 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
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
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 14 appearances at the British Open as a professional, Woods
has three wins, eight 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 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 inaugural Russian Open
Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club in the Moscow Region.
07/17 22:53:38 ET
As of July 17, 2013, at 10:54 PM ET