The 147th Open Championship — or, if you prefer, British Open — tees off Thursday morning well before sunrise in the United States. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s model, set to take place at Carnoustie Golf Links and featuring an array of talent from across the globe.
Set the alarm and make the coffee, because this is one of those sporting events that’ll require you to miss some sleep. But it’ll be worth it; there’s nothing quite like early-morning golf. Here’s where to tune in throughout the tournament:
Thursday, Friday: 1:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Golf Channel
Saturday: 4:30 a.m.-7 a.m., Golf Channel; 7 a.m.-3 p.m., NBC
Sunday: 4:30 a.m.-7 a.m., Golf Channel; 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m., NBC
You can also stream the tournament live on your phone via the NBC Sports app or The Open app and website. You know, just like Jack and Arnie used to do.
Tee times & groupings
We won’t know until later this week how the weather will affect the groupings at the Open Championship, but we already know who’s falling on what side of the draw. Here are the big-name pairings and tee times for Thursday and Friday (all times Eastern):
3:03 a.m., 8:04 a.m.: Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello
4:58 a.m., 9:59 a.m.: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
5:09 a.m., 10:10 a.m.: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood
7:53 a.m., 2:52 a.m.: Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:04 a.m., 3:03 a.m.: Dustin Johnson, Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman
8:26 a.m., 3:25 a.m.: Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace
8:37 a.m., 3:46 a.m.: Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li
10:10 a.m., 5:09 a.m.: Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma
10:21 a.m., 5:20 a.m.: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox
The course at a glance
Carnoustie Golf Links is one of the oldest golf locales on the planet, with some version of the game being played on the site all the way back in the 16th century. Those ancient golfers would play through the same wind, rain and gorse as today, if not necessarily the same on-course challenges: pot bunkers deep enough to shelter a family, and winding burns (waterways) designed to snare wayward, rolling shots.
And oh, will the shots roll at Carnoustie this week; most players are keeping drivers in the bag, since there are reports of tee shots rolling 80 yards on the hard, baked surface. There’s not much rain in the forecast, and winds are predicted to be mild, so it’s entirely possible this will be an Open determined by skill and touch, not by nature. But where’s the fun in that?
Carnoustie has hosted seven Open Championships prior to this week, none more memorable than in 1999, when Jean van de Velde stood on the final tee needing only a double-bogey to win … and proceeded to card a triple-bogey and lose in a playoff. Gary Player and Tom Watson have won here in the past, but that 1999 debacle is the one golf fans will remember with a cringe.
The key storylines
Weather’s always the leader in the clubhouse at the Open Championship, but putting that aside, all eyes turn to local favorites. Europeans like Rory McIlroy draw plenty of action at the local betting parlors — and betting’s legal all around the Open Championship, which adds a whole new dimension — even if McIlroy isn’t putting particularly well these days. Expect other odds-on Euro favorites like Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm to get plenty of love from the Carnoustie galleries. And don’t overlook Sergio Garcia (25-1), who lost at Carnoustie in a playoff to Padraig Harrington back in 2007. Sergio’s got that elusive first major already, but there’s always time for him to win the one he seems destined to take down one day.
Over on the American side of the bracket, Dustin Johnson, the world No. 1, comes in as oddsmakers’ favorite at 12-1. (The high odds for even a “favorite” indicate the dicey nature of this tournament.) Not far behind him are the usual suspects: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, and perpetual major bridesmaid Rickie Fowler, all of whom come in at 20-1 or better. Also in the mix: Jordan Spieth, the defending champ, who hasn’t won a tournament since this time last year. Is there reason to start doubting Spieth?
Finally, yes, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are playing. Neither one will win, but both will draw plenty of attention from TV cameras and galleries. And that’s just fine.
Is it “British Open” or “Open Championship”?
Every year, the debate rages: do we call it the “British Open” or the “Open Championship”? Truth: both are correct in their own way. Here’s a helpful primer to explain it all:
Whatever you call it, the Battle for the Claret Jug tees off at 1:35 a.m. Eastern on Thursday morning. Enjoy, and check back with Yahoo Sports throughout the tournament for news, updates, and analysis.
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