Golf: Golf-Celebrations and controversy put aside as The Open gets underway


ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) – Scotsman Paul Lawrie launched the one hundred and fiftieth British Open on the “Home of Golf” on Thursday, as anniversary celebrations and controversy have been pushed aside.

With the Claret Jug standing on a pedestal alongside the primary tee reminding each golfer of what’s at stake this week, Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, was awarded the honour of hitting the primary shot at St. Andrews for a second time to get play underway.

With the buildup to the season’s closing main distracted by a feud between the PGA and DP Tours and the insurgent LIV Invitational Series the main focus was again on golf as a small however enthusiastic crowd – that’s anticipated to swell to file numbers over the day – gathered within the morning chill.

The early wave will embody scorching favorite and world quantity two Rory McIlroy, who will head out simply earlier than 10am (0900 GMT) native time with defending champion Collin Morikawa and in-form American Xander Schauffele.

The Northern Irishman, wanting so as to add to his haul of 4 majors together with the 2014 Open, has been in nice kind, efficiently defending his Canadian Open title in June whereas posting high 10 finishes in all three majors this season, together with a runnerup on the Masters.

Many of the outstanding names which have signed on with the breakaway Saudi-backed LIV Series, together with main winners Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed are additionally set for early begins.

Six-time main champion Mickelson tees off at 0730 (0630 GMT), two teams forward of DeChambeau, the long-hitting 2020 U.S. Open winner who will play with 56-year-old fellow American John Daly, the Open champion at St Andrews in 1995.

The afternoon wave is not going to lack for marquee names, led by Tiger Woods, who continues his comeback from a 2021 automotive crash that almost resulted within the lack of his proper leg, on the course he counts as his favorite on the earth.

Woods, twice Open champion at St Andrews, begins his bid for a sixteenth main title at 1459 GMT alongside Briton Matthew Fitzpatrick, who received this yr’s U.S. Open.

World primary Scottie Scheffler will play with Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and Briton Tyrrell Hatton whereas 2017 Open champion Jordan Spieth can be among the many later starters in a gaggle together with world quantity three Jon Rahm of Spain.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in St Andrews. Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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