British Open 2012: Analyzing Top Major Tournament Storylines
The year's third major is underway at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England. The Open Championship usually provides the world's best golfers with some of the most challenging conditions they face all season.
Last year's winner Darren Clarke has returned to defend his title, but recent history says he faces an uphill battle. That's just one of the big storylines that will be tracked throughout the weekend as players chase the British Open trophy.
Royal Lytham is waterlogged after a steady dose of rain recently, which will make the already difficult playing conditions even harder throughout the week. Players must exercise a lot of patience to avoid falling out of contention.
The most talked about part of the course has been the rough. Tiger Woods described it as "almost unplayable" (via BBC) because of its length and thickness. That means the winner will likely be somebody with deadly accuracy off the tee.
In each of the past three times the Open Championship has been held on this course, the winning score has been at least 10-under par. It will be interesting to see if that streak stays alive this time around after a quick start.
Who's your British Open pick?
Another New Winner?
The last 15 major tournaments have been won by 15 different golfers. It's a group that ranges from superstars like Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson to lesser-known players like Louis Oosthuizen and YE Yang.
One name absent from that list is Tiger Woods, who hasn't claimed a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open. Will he or somebody else emerge to make it 16 in a row or will the streak finally come to an end with a repeat winner?
While parity is normally viewed as a good thing, golf thrives when the most popular players are winning a lot of tournaments. After Woods' dominance in prior years, the new-winner run has been amazing and has a good chance to continue this weekend.
European Player Performance
European stars Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy are the top three ranked players in the world, but you wouldn't know it by their performance in majors this season. Only Westwood has been a legitimate contender.
Donald has always struggled in the biggest events, which makes his top overall ranking seem a bit hollow. It's hard to be considered the best golfer on the planet without one of the marquee championships under his belt.
McIlroy has been in a funk ever since the Masters and will be looking to get back on track on a tough course. Westwood remains the best bet to contend out of the trio, but they all need good showings to prove they deserve their rankings.
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