Monty to Hit First Shot
Colin Montgomerie will hit the first shot of The 145th Open in front of his home-town fans at Royal Troon after the tee times for Thursday’s first round were announced.
The veteran Scot makes his first start in the Championship since 2010, after coming through Final Qualifying at Gailes Links, and will feature in the first group starting at 6.35am alongside England’s Luke Donald and Australia’s Marc Leishman, who lost out in a play-off against Zach Johnson at St Andrews twelve months ago.
This stellar first group sets the tone for the rest of the day, with numerous marquee pairings on view right up until 4.16pm when the last group, comprising South Africa’s Zander Lombard and English duo Callum Shinkwin and Ryan Evans, tee off.
At 9.03am, World No. 2 Jordan Spieth starts his bid for a third Major Championship title and is paired with former US Open champion Justin Rose and Ireland’s Shane Lowry. At 9.25am Masters Champion Danny Willett tees off in the company of World No. 1 Jason Day and America’s Rickie Fowler.
Spectators on the first tee will then be able to see 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year Rory McIlroy, making his return to The Open after a year’s absence due to injury, as he sets off in the the company of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and former Masters champion Bubba Watson at 9.36am.
One of the most intriguing groups features Marc Calcavecchia, Justin Leonard and Todd Hamilton, who start at 12.31pm, and have all won The Open on the last three occasions the Championship has been held at Royal Troon; 1989, 1997 and 2004.
There are also two past Champion Golfers of the Year in the 1.26pm tee time, which features Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els together with England’s Lee Westwood, who will be hoping to go one better than 2010 when he finished second behind Louis Oosthuizen at St Andrews.
This year’s Championship features one of the strongest fields for years and at 2.04pm spectators will be able to watch US Open Champion Dustin Johnson begin his quest for a second successive Major Championship alongside Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Scotland’s Russell Knox. They are immediately followed eleven minutes later by defending Champion Zach Johnson, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.
Johnson admitted in today’s media conference that he was looking forward to his bid to claim the title for a second year in a row.
“Last year was last year but now I’ve got another opportunity to win the Claret Jug again,” said the American. “I’m excited about getting started.”