The first of four women's golf majors in the next four months begins Thursday.
The 2020 Women's British Open takes place at Royal Troon Golf Club, and it will be the only major contested in Europe after The Open Championship was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hinako Shibuno will begin her title defense alongside a familiar foe in Ashleigh Buhai, who she was paired with on the final day of the 2019 tournament.
To defend her crown, the 21-year-old must play well and fend off challenges from a handful of previous winners, including Stacy Lewis, who is coming off a victory at the Ladies Scottish Open last weekend.
Women's British Open Information
Dates: Thursday, August 20-Sunday, August 23
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday & Friday: 5:30-8:30 a.m. ET, 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. ET); Saturday & Sunday: 9 a.m.-Noon ET); NBC (Saturday Noon-2 p.m. ET, Sunday Noon-1 p.m. ET)
Tee Times: Full list of Thursday and Friday tee times can be found here.
Prize Money: $4.5 million ($675,000 to champion)
Shibuno and Buhai will be among the later first-round tee times Thursday and will be playing with Canadian Brooke Henderson, who is ranked seventh in the world.
Shibuno is looking to rebound from missing the cut last weekend, but she knows she also has to weather the difficult conditions of links golf this week, per GolfChannel.com's Randall Mell:
"This week, it's going to be windy, and there's some rain to be expected, and the course is going to play out very differently, depending on the wind. I'm going to have to play smart, but at the same time, as defending champion, I'm going to enjoy. Also, I want to show a new part of the game, some new part of my game this year."
Although Shibuno is the reigning champion, she may not be considered the favorite to take home the season's first major.
Lewis and Danielle Kang come into Royal Troon in the best form of any players in the field.
Kang, 27, won the first two events following the resumption of play after the sport's hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic and has a trio of top-five major finishes on her resume.
However, the San Francisco native has struggled with contending overseas, as she missed the cut in three of the last four Women's British Opens.
Lewis conquered the Old Course at St. Andrews to win the tournament in 2013, and she comes into the week at Royal Troon with confidence after a playoff win at the Ladies Scottish Open over three other competitors.
Since 2013, the 35-year-old is one of two players who did not win their first major tournament at the Women's British Open. Inbee Park was the other.
If that trend continues, American Nelly Korda and Nasa Hataoka from Japan, who are No. 4 and No. 5 in the Rolex Rankings, respectively, could be the best candidates.
They could feel pressure from within their group right away, though, as they are paired alongside 2018 champion Georgia Hall in the first round.