British Open 2012: Breaking Down Tee Times for Top Stars
Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club will host the 141st Open Championship July 19-22.
A complete list of Thursday and Friday tee times is available at the event's website, but this breakdown focuses on six groups of the world's top golfers.
Weather.com predicts that the British climate will bring frequent rain and strong wind gusts. The players can only pray that the worst of it doesn't coincide with their pre-determined schedules.
Here's a glance at a half-dozen notable threesomes and when they'll be navigating the historic par-70 course.
Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Zach Johnson
Thursday tee time: 9:09 a.m. (4:09 a.m. ET)
Friday tee time: 2:10 p.m. (9:10 a.m. ET)
Zach Johnson arrived in England on a later flight than most. He was busy shooting a six-under 65 this past Sunday to clinch the John Deere Classic. It was his second victory of the season.
The 2007 Masters champion has never finished better than 16th at the British Open. He seeks to join Lee Trevino in the record books and raise the Claret Jug after winning elsewhere the previous week (h/t Rob Bolton).
On the other hand, Darren Clarke has been mired in an awful slump since finishing atop the leaderboard at Royal St. George's a year ago. He has missed the cut in seven of 11 tournaments in 2012.
Ernie Els is a decade removed from his dramatic triumph at the 2002 Open Championship.
There are 15 groups that will begin Round 1 ahead of these gentlemen, but none are as noteworthy.
Lee Westwood, Yoshinori Fujimoto, Bubba Watson
Thursday tee time: 9:20 a.m. (4:20 a.m. ET)
Friday tee time: 2:21 p.m. (9:21 a.m. ET)
Lee Westwood enters this major as the third-ranked player in the world.
Keep in mind that he'll have home-field advantage, too. Westwood was born in the town of Worksop, which is only a two-hour drive from Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Bubba Watson will have the edge on tee shots, considering his average drive (316.3 YDS) is longer than anyone's. Of course, that won't do him much good on the front nine.
Their group also includes 22-year-old rookie Yoshinori Fujimoto. He won in his first professional appearance, but the British Open is hardly comparable to the Japan Golf Tour.
Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia
Thursday tee time: 9:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET)
Friday tee time: 2:43 p.m. (9:43 a.m. ET)
"Tiger Woods vs. the field" debates are popping up everywhere for the first time in years. If he's not in top form, he's pretty close.
Woods has 14 career Major Championship wins, including three at the British ('00, '05, '06).
Sergio Garcia was paired with him during the final stage of the 2006 competition.
Of late, Garcia hasn't been playing many extraordinary rounds. As a result, he has achieved just one top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this season. At least he makes every cut.
Thirdly, there's Justin Rose, whose ability to reach greens in regulation should keep him in the hunt.
Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Thursday tee time: 2:21 p.m. (9:21 a.m. ET)
Friday tee time: 9:09 a.m. (4:09 a.m. ET)
Rory McIlory will struggle in this competition if he lets the weather affect him (it did last time).
His 2012 season has lacked consistency, so—talented as he may be—McIlroy is not the odds-on favorite at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Keegan Bradley, reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, is a busy man. He has participated in 19 pro events since January.
The Open Championship is the only major in which he has never played.
Louis Oosthuizen (29) rounds out this particularly young group of golfers.
Rickie Fowler, Padraig Harrington, Manuel Trappel
Thursday tee time: 2:32 p.m. (9:32 a.m. ET)
Friday tee time: 9:20 a.m. (4:20 a.m. ET)
Padraig Harrington was a back-to-back winner at this event in 2007 and 2008.
He hasn't quite returned to an elite level, but faring well at both the Masters and the U.S. Open earlier this year should give him confidence.
Austrian amateur Manuel Trappel has the pleasure of tagging along.
Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy
Thursday tee time: 2:43 p.m. (9:43 a.m. ET)
Friday tee time: 9:31 p.m. (4:31 a.m. ET)
This marks the third straight year that Phil Mickelson has flown to Europe early and gradually adjusted to the foreign time zone. He played in the Scottish Open (July 9-12) and was among the leaders entering the last round.
About 27 months have passed since Lefty's last major title.
Hey, at least he has a few!
It's bizarre that Englishman Luke Donald, though winless in the sport's four most prestigious tournaments, owns the No. 1 distinction that everybody envies.
Australian Geoff Ogilvy adds further diversity to this group, but shockingly, zero top-10 finishes in 2012. I'd say he's due.