For sports fans preparing themselves for some early mornings watching the upcoming London Olympics, this year's British Open offers the opportunity to get in some practice at waking up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the best of a sport compete for one of its most prestigious titles.
ESPN will cover all four days of the tournament live on its flagship network, with several opportunities for viewers to catch the action at more civilized hours. The tournament will also be available to ESPN subscribers on the streaming service ESPN3. ESPN3 can be viewed on ESPN.com or on the free iPhone and iPad app WatchESPN.
Coverage of the opening round begins on Thursday, July 19th, at 4:30 a.m. EST, more than three hours after the first golfers tee off at 1:19 a.m., but just in time for Tiger Woods's 4:42 a.m. tee time. Coverage will continue until 3:00 p.m.
Friday's coverage will also begin at 4:30 a.m. EST, and early birds will be rewarded with Phil Mickelson's 4:31 a.m. tee time. Once again, coverage will continue until 3:00 p.m.
American golf fans will be able to sleep in a bit on Saturday due to the reduced post-cut field, but it will still be an early start. Coverage begins at 7:00 a.m. EST and lasts until 2:30 p.m. EST.
The final round of the tournament begins broadcasting at 8:00 a.m. EST on Sunday, July 22nd, and continues until 1:30 p.m.
For American viewers unable or unwilling to wake up so early, ESPN will offer highlights of the rounds on The Open Championship Today from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, The Open Championship Today will be broadcast on ABC from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
To further add to coverage of the Open, ESPN will show The Best of the Open Championship on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7:00-10:00 p.m. EST. ESPN2 will broadcast the program on the final night of the tournament between 9:00 p.m. and midnight.
Will Tiger Woods return to his old form and win his first major since 2008? Will hometown favorites Lee Westwood or Luke Donald win their first major? Can 2011 surprise Open winner Darren Clarke repeat?
With more than 70 hours of coverage scheduled over four days, there will be plenty of opportunity to watch and find out.