The 2013 British Open promises to be filled with thrills during Sunday's fourth and final round.
Lee Westwood holds the 54-hole lead at three under par after a third-round 70. Just two shots behind are prospective playing partners Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods, a 14-time major winner—a duo which played in the final pairing at the U.S. Open, too.
The Englishman played brilliantly alongside Woods and continued his head-to-head dominance over the world No. 1 in golf's biggest events, per ESPN's Justin Ray:
Westwood and Tiger have played together six times in majors since 2008. Westwood better score 4 times, Woods 0. Lee combined +2, Tiger +12.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) July 20, 2013
Plenty of other class players are hunting for their own maiden major trophies, though, including Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Day. Some who have gotten it done in the past include Adam Scott (E), Angel Cabrera (+1) and Phil Mickelson (+2).
Round 4 offers all the excitment a golf fan could want in an Open Championship, so let's take a look at where to catch the action, followed by a recap and outlook for the top contenders.
Note: Statistics are courtesy of PGATour.com and EuropeanTour.com. British Open information was obtained from the official website. Tournament history can be located at the Official World Golf Ranking.
Round 4 Information
When: Sunday, July 21
Where: Muirfield Golf Links in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland
Tee Times: First group is off at 7:00 a.m. BST (2:00 a.m. ET). For a complete list of tee times for Round 4, visit TheOpen.com.
Real-Time Leaderboard Updates: The Open
TV Schedule (h/t ESPN.com)
ESPN, 6 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET
The Open Championship Today: 3-5:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Best of The Open Championship: 9 p.m.-12 a.m. ET on ESPN 2 (Final Round Encore Presentation)
|Start Time (ET)||Event|
|5 a.m.||@TheOpen LIVE|
|6 a.m.||The Open Championship Final Round|
|6 a.m.||The Open Championship Coverage (Holes 1, 7, 8, 9, 18)|
|7 a.m.||The Open Championship Final Round (International View)|
|8 a.m.||Final Round Coverage|
|9 p.m.||Best of the Open Championship (Final Round Encore Presentation)|
Information courtesy of Watch ESPN
Outlook for Top Contenders
Lee Westwood (-3)
The fact that Westwood was able to trade blows with Woods on Saturday bodes extremely well for his chances at his first major title in Round 4.
For whatever reason, though, he hasn't ever been able to seal the deal despite being a perennial winner on the European Tour and in such serious contention so often.
Westwood is a shaky putter historically and one of the best tee-to-green of his era, but the tables have been completely flipped with regard to those career trends at Muirfield Golf Links. He leads the field with 26 one-putts but is tied for 52nd in fairways hit and tied for 62nd in greens in regulation.
Approaches have been tricky throughout the Open Championship because of dry, extreme conditions, which make judging the bounce on such shots all the more difficult.
What's discouraging is that there hasn't been a terrible amount of swirling wind, which Muirfield is known for, yet Westwood is still in the rough off the tee almost as much as the short grass.
Getting that swing in order will be of utmost importance as Westwood embarks on his latest promising quest for a major. Hopefully, this one doesn't end with more heartbreak.
Hunter Mahan (-1)
Well, here is Mahan once again—right in the thick of it at a major. The American star often struggled to consistently put himself in ideal position to threaten for one of golf's marquee events, but 2013 has been a different story.
Mahan missed the cut at The Masters but played with Phil Mickelson at Merion a month ago in the last group and wound up tying for fourth.
He'll look to better that in Gullane, Scotland, after a phenomenal display of golf in firing a three-under 68 in Round 3.
The big difference for Mahan—similar to Westwood—has been his work with the flatstick.
Putting has been Mahan's drawback—a department where he's streaky at best. But he led the field entering the final day at the U.S. Open in putting and is tied for 10th in one-putts with Woods, Mickelson and Thomas Bjorn.
The shortest club in the bag failed Mahan on a Sunday at the U.S. Open, in which he didn't make a single birdie. If he learns from that and rolls it better this time around, he may very well be the one raising his first major trophy.
Tiger Woods (-1)
It's a major, and Woods doesn't have at least a share of the 54-hole lead.
Shane Bacon of Yahoo! humorously highlights the statistic every observer, analyst, fan and anyone paying remote attention to this event will inevitably bring up:
Does anybody know if Tiger has ever won a major coming from behind? Can't find that information anywhere.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) July 20, 2013
While Woods, indeed, hasn't won a major from behind, this would seem the ideal time to do it. He took what was probably Westwood's best shot on Saturday, and despite closing out with a disappointing bogey at No. 17 and a birdie putt that went begging at the last, he's still just two strokes off.
Some may look at Woods' scorecard and feel he cooled off on the back nine with zero birdies, eight pars and one bogey. Such isn't really the case at a course like Muirfield with how it's playing at the moment.
The pairing with Scott is especially spicy since the reigning Masters champion has Woods' former caddie Steve Williams on the bag.
You could say Williams was a bit bitter over the breakup with Woods, when he called his win with Scott at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the, "best win of my career."
Really? Better than the seven times Woods won that event, not to mention the other 13 majors? Tensions have eased since that occasion in 2011, but nevertheless, this will be a big storyline.
Scott is about as cool and collected as anyone, so the dynamic between Woods and Williams will certainly be interesting.
Adam Scott (E)
Losing the Open after holding a four-stroke lead with four holes to play at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012 could have caused Scott to implode.
Scott simply wasn't having it. He wound up turning it into a positive, notching a green jacket at Augusta National in dramatic fashion in April over Angel Cabrera. Scott drained a clutch birdie on the 72nd hole, then another at No. 10 to win the playoff.
Such fortitude wasn't present in Scott's prior efforts at majors. Now, he's a changed player, and had one of the better quotes of the week, per Sky Sports Golf:
Adam Scott on being suddenly in contention: "I've somehow crept back into it. I feel like I've got nothing to lose, just majors to gain."— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) July 20, 2013
Talk about having a positive outlook. As if he didn't handle himself well enough in defeat in last year's Open Championship, he seems to have an even more enhanced perspective this time around.
Getting the major monkey off his back certainly had to help.
Scott is at even-par and has simply been hanging tough all week long, grinding like the seasoned veteran he is.
A big positive is that he's near the top in terms of fairways hit at 78.57 percent, which is only beaten by Henrik Stenson. With Scott's typically beautiful swing and the way he strikes the ball, if he can keep it out of the tough rough, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
While Scott may not be one to stir controversy with Woods and Williams being together, it's worth noting: the last man to win The Masters and British Open in the same year was Woods in 2005.