Marlowe Boukis

2013 Open Championship

The 2013 Open Championship begins tomorrow, medical Thursday, July 18 at Muirfield Golf Links in Gullane, Scotland on the northeast coast of the United Kingdom. As golf’s oldest and toughest major with a pool of global competitors competing for the iconic Claret Jug, the Open is definitely one worth keeping up with this weekend.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

Dating back to 1860, the Open Championship (commonly known as the British Open to differentiate from the US Open in the states) tests the best in the world with links style golf.  Some have said the trick to this style is not just getting your ball on the green, but keeping it there.

The firm, fast golf course will be the first challenge. The second will be the unpredictable weather of the United Kingdom coast. Within the course of a few hours there can be sideways rain, howling winds, and clear skies with sunshine.  As is the case with the US Open, this is not only a test of tremendous skill, but also of mental fortitude.

Muirfield has hosted the Championship 15 previous times. South African Ernie Els is the defending Champion in two regards.

Els won the Open Championship last year and also won in 2002 the last time the Championship was hosted at Muirfield.

WHO TO WATCH: 

I sound like a broken record, but of course, Tiger Woods. Even though Woods was tremendously disappointing at the US Open with a t-32 finish, and has recently nursed a left-elbow injury, he still has the most wins on the PGA Tour and is still the #1 ranked golfer in the world. Woods tees off at 9:45 AM EST on Thursday with Graeme McDowell (2010 US Open Champion) and Louis Oosthuzien (2010 British Open Champion).  The last time Woods has won an Open Championship were his back to back wins in 2005 and 2006.

Phil Mickelson has normally never faired well at these Championships.  His best finishes in the last 12 years are only two top 10s.  For one of the modern masters of short game this is surprising.  This year Mickelson decided to get over to the UK early to get accustomed to conditions.  He competed in the Scottish Open last weekend and pulled off a dramatic playoff victory. He is bringing the most confidence he’s ever had into an Open Championship.

Phil Mickelson celebrating Scottish Open win with his family. Photo: guardian.co.uk

Justin Rose and Adam Scott who have both won their first majors this year at the US Open and Masters respectively will be fan favorites.  Rose became the first British US Open Champion in 17 years, he would love to continue that streak to win in his home country.

The dark horse for this year is Sir Nick Faldo.  He won an Open Championship at Muirfield in 1992.  The last time he won an major was in 1996. He is pictured to the right putting on Tiger Woods’ first green jacket in 1997 as is the tradition at the Masters.

Sir Nick Faldo helps Tiger into his first green jacket after his victory at the 1997 Masters

The last time he competed in the Open Championship was 2008.  Faldo has since taken a post in the announcers’ booth and covers the PGA Tour and Major Championships.  He is 55 years old, but will be familiar at Muirfield.  The past two years we have seen winners over 40, maybe this year we will witness one over 50.

 

WHEN TO WATCH:

ESPN has exclusive coverage of the Championship. To catch the first golfers you can pull an all-nighter or wake before the crack of dawn. You can always grab a cup of tee (in the British fashion) after to keep your day going after the broadcast. Unlike the other Championships, you can watch all the coverage in the morning on the weekends and then go out and play a round of golf afterwards. Perfection!

Thursday July 18: 3 AM – 2 PM (CDT)

Friday July 19: 3 AM – 2 PM (CDT)

Saturday July 20: 6 AM – 1:30 PM (CDT)

Sunday July 21: 5 AM – 12:30 PM (CDT)

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The 2013 US Open, shop golf’s second and most difficult major of the season, tadalafil gets underway on Thursday at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, ailment PA. Between the short, water-logged course and the pairing of Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlory, this major is creating more buzz than usual and is definitely one you will want to turn your attention towards.

If you checked out of the golf scene after Adam Scott won the Masters, it’s time to tune back in this weekend as the season’s toughest major is always unpredictable as the best golfers in the world face off.

What You Need to Know

  • The US Open is the hardest Major of the four (the Masters, the US Open, the (British) Open, and the PGA Championship) played each year. The USGA (United States Golf Association), the governing body of golf and creator of the rules, makes the course so difficult to promote a winning score around par.  The average winning score for PGA Tour events is well under par.  The USGA sets the course up to rattle the nerves of the steadiest players, and frighten the over-confident. They lengthen the rough and make the greens blistering fast.  The US Open is about survival.

Merion Golf Club will be a challenging test for the players at the US Open

  • The 2013 US Open will be played at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA, located about 15 miles southeast of Philadelphia.  It is an historic venue that hosted a 1981 US Open and the 2005 US Amateur.  Its signature is that each green does not have a flag, but a post with a red wicker basket.  The course will be extremely challenging, but will also be a much shorter layout than recent Opens. At 6,996 yards this will be the first US Open course under 7,000 yards since 2004.
  • In addition to the course’s challenges and the pressure of performing in a major championship, players will be faced with the wrath of mother nature. Tropical storm Andrea dropped 3 1/2 inches of rain on the course last Saturday.  This has caused flooding on the course.  Subsequent rainfalls have not helped and with thunderstorms in the forecast it could get even dicier. Talking about the weather will not be small talk this week.

Who to Watch For:

The USGA always tries to create a pairing that has a large buzz factor and this year will not disappoint. The top three players in the world will be paired together for the first two days of the championship.  Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Adam Scott will tee off at 1:14 PM EST on Thursday and 7:44 AM EST on Friday. (Pictured in this article’s featured image.)

The two past Major winners in Rory McIlory (2012 PGA Championship) and Adam Scott (2013 Masters) are still overshadowed by Tiger’s dominance in 2013. He’s won 4 of the 8 events he’s played. Absurd!  Even though he recorded his worst nine hole score in his PGA career earlier this month at The Memorial, never count him out.  He has un-matched focus. All he cares about are Majors. This could be his fifteenth, and fourth US Open.

Adam Scott

 

My “sleeper pick” for the week is Rickie Fowler (33rd in Official World Golf Ranking).  He is an incredible young talent with a bold fashion sense. He brings something different to golf, but has the game to back it up.  He played in the most prestigious team Amateur event, The Walker Cup, at Merion in 2009. He played extremely well.  No matter how wet the conditions, because of his young confidence and good memories he could get into the mix come Sunday.

Rickie Fowler dresses and plays to impress

When to Watch (All Times Central)

Thursday, June 13

8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: ESPN

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: NBC

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.:  ESPN

Friday June 14

8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: ESPN

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: NBC

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.: ESPN 

Saturday, June 15

11:00 AM to 6:30 PM NBC

Sunday, June 16

11:00 AM to 6:30 PM NBC

 

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