ADAM SCOTT leads a contingent of 13 Aussies taking on the world’s best golfers at what is expected to be a brutal Royal Lytham & St Annes at the 2012 British Open this week.
Scott is probably Australia’s best chance of holding aloft the coveted Claret Jug but there’s lots of drama to unfold before one lucky golfer among the 156 competing in Lancashire gets to do just that early Monday Australian time.
As is painfully well known, Australia has had a very lean trot in golf majors in recent years.
Australia hasn’t won a British Open since Greg Norman in 1993 or any major since Geoff Ogilvy claimed the US Open in 2006.
This week’s Aussie hopefuls include Scott, Ogilvy, John Senden, Marc Leishman, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Nick Cullen, Marcus Fraser, Ash Hall, Brendan Jones, Brad Kennedy and Aaron Townsend.
Jason Day was to be the 14th participant but pulled out following the birth of his first child last week.
Picking a British Open winner is never easy and looking at a form guide of the last 15 majors is even less helpful – there have been 15 different winners from five different continents (None of them Australia).
According to the latest betting markets the clear favourite is three-time Open winner Tiger Woods followed in order by Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Scott, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter.
After Poulter we’re up to the $50 plus chances and we haven’t got to the likes of US Masters winner Bubba Watson and the defending champion Darren Clarke.
There’s also a smattering of “oldies” playing, among them a bloke called Tom Watson who did quite well just a couple of years back, former champion Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia, Russ Cochran and Sandy Lyle.
Of course, as with most British Opens one of the real stars will be the Royal Lytham & St Annes venue itself.
Forecast wind and rain, 206 devilish bunkers and punishing rough lay in wait.
Woods is already talking about sections of the knee-high rough being borderline unplayable for anyone who strays off the narrow, snaking fairways.
“Oh my God, it’s just that you can’t get out of it,” the American said after an early practice round.
“The bottom six inches is so lush. The wispy stuff, we’ve faced that at every British Open, but that bottom six inches is almost unplayable.”
2012 British Open Leaderboard
2012 British Open Leaderboard
2012 British Open Australian Television Coverage
The 2012 British Open is being telecast in Australia on Fox Sports.
1st Round: Thursday July 19, Live 6pm – 4am; Friday July 20, Repeats/Highlights: 8am – 11.30am; 1.30pm – 5pm.
2nd Round: Friday July 20, Live 6pm – 4am; Saturday July 21, Repeat/Highlights: 8am – 12 noon; 2pm – 6pm.
3nd Round: Saturday July 21, Live 7pm – 4am; Sunday July 22, Repeat/Highlights: 8am – 12 noon; 4pm – 8pm.
Final Round: Sunday July 22, Live 8pm – 4am; Monday, July 23, Repeat/Highlights: 9am – 12 noon; 3.30pm – 6.30pm.2012 British Open Tee Times