The 137th Open Championship will begin Thursday at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Here are some groups worth keeping an eye on come Round 1.
*Starting on 10th tee
1:30 a.m. ET: Craig Parry, Lucas Glover, Simon Dyson
The first group out off the first tee. Sure its 1:30 in the morning East Coast time, but cmon ' its the Open Championship! Log on to GolfChannel.com and follow the scores online. OK, now that Ive met my professional obligation to pump our scoring, heres a better idea: Sleep in a little, wake up at 7 a.m. ET, log on to GC.com, and follow along with the Golf Guys running blog. Hes not in England. But he will be in an English pub in Orlando. Thats gotta count for something.
2:36 a.m. ET: Justin Rose, Tom Watson, Aaron Baddeley
Watson won at Royal Birkdale in 1983 for his fifth and final Open Championship title. At the time, Justin and Aaron were a combined 5 years old.
2:58 a.m. ET: Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard
Bad news for Paddy: Players dont repeat at The Open unless their name is Woods or Watson. Those are the only two players to win back-to-back claret jugs over the last 35 years. On another note, its nice Goosen was released from Witness Protection for a week.
3:20 a.m. ET: Martin Kaymer, Scott Verplank, Ernie Els
Is Els happy Tiger isn't playing and confident he can win? Is he nervous because now people expect him to contend? One can only imagine Ernie's state of mind right now. Nobody in golf has ever needed a sports pyschologist more than has he.
4:20 a.m. ET: Phil Mickelson, Hideto Tanihara, Paul Casey
Mickelsons confidence cant be too high this week. Not after his tune-up in Scotland blew up in a cloud of smoke. But you never know, maybe hell be able to light it up, steer clear of Birkdales bad grass, and, if he gets in position to win, maybe he wont cough up another major.
4:31 a.m. ET: Colin Montgomerie, Boo Weekley, Mike Weir
In February, at the WGC-Match Play, Monty joked with the media, I can't call him Boo. What's his name? It can't be Boo, can it? What's his birth certificate say?' It says: Thomas Brent Weekley. They couldn't bring these two in the press center at the same time because it would be so good that the rest of the event would be a huge letdown.
4:53 a.m. ET: Simon Kahn, David Duval, David Frost
You have to give credit to Duval for just showing up. Even with a brief layover its still about a 15-hour trip from Denver to Manchester, which is where most players were flying into to reach Birkdale. Unfortunately, he has a late tee time on Friday, which means, if he misses the cut, hell have to wait until Saturday morning to catch a flight back.
5:48 a.m. ET: Jamie Elson, Rohan Blizard (A), John Bevan
There must be 20 threesomes like this one, where you couldnt pick out whos who if the players stood next to different caddies.
6:41 a.m. ET: Steve Webster, Jean Van de Velde, Andrew Tampion
Is there anyone in the field happier than Van de Velde that theyre not playing at Carnoustie this year? Maybe Sergio.
7:14 a.m. ET: Rocco Mediate, Paul Lawrie, Angel Cabrera
As one of the good guys in the game, heres to hoping Rocco gets another chance to win a major. But as Lawrie ' and maybe even Cabrera in the future ' can tell you, sometimes you dont get a second chance; you better take advantage of the first one.
7:25 a.m. ET: Niclas Fasth, Mark OMeara, Michael Campbell
OMeara won the last time The Open was contested at Royal Birkdale, in 1998. The thing is: I cant remember one thing he did. But I can remember the bunker shot Brian Watts hit on the 72nd hole in regulation which came 6 inches from being the greatest shot in major championship history. Small consolation for Watts, though, who is at home in Texas recovering from myriad injuries.
7:58 a.m. ET: Robert Karlsson, Greg Norman, Woody Austin
Normans competitive fire has been stoked recently as hes been seen quite a bit more on the golf course lately. Guess thats what happens when you marry someone who has 16 more individual major titles than you.
9:31 a.m. ET: Sergio Garcia, Ryuji Imada, Sean OHair
Sergio is the odd-on favorite to win this week, listed by one source at 8-to-5. Doesnt that seem strange? Like it might start raining frogs in Lancashire?
11:21 a.m. ET: Jonathan Lomas, Yoshinobu Tsukada, Peter Appleyard
Seriously, there must be 20 threesomes like this. Peter Appleyard? Cmon, the R&A just made that name up. I could just type a trio of aslkfjpaojdngldua, opuadjfalodpau and ywwoeundapulad and it would be just as recognizable.