Open Championship 2012: Tiger Woods, 25 Early Favorites for Golf's Next Major

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Open Championship 2012: Tiger Woods, 25 Early Favorites for Golf's Next Major
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson

With two major championships now complete in this 2012 golf season, it's not too early to begin looking towards the 141st Open Championship—aka the British Open—now less than a month away at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

Defending champion Darren Clarke will lead a field of the world's best golfers in pursuit of the coveted Claret Jug.

The last time Royal Lytham and St. Annes hosted the Open Championship was over 10 years ago, in 2001, with David Duval winning his first and only major championship in a three-shot victory over his closest competitor, Sweden's Niclas Fasth.

The late, great Seve Ballesteros also earned the first—and last—of his five majors here in 1979 and 1988 respectively.

This will be the 11th time the club has hosted the event and it's considered by some pros to be the most difficult in the Open Championship rotation, especially the back nine. It's a punishing golf course with over 200 bunkers—20 of them on the epic, 453-yard par-four 17th hole.

World rankings will likely make a difference. Lytham is known for producing winners who are positioned as the best in the world, and I don't expect this year to be any different.

Here are 25 early favorites for golf's next major championship.

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