Spieth begins his date with destiny
Jordan Spieth will begin his bid for the Claret Jug when he tees up at The Open 9.33 am on Thursday morning.
Spieth arrives at the Old Course as holder of both The Masters and the US Open titles and this week he will be bidding to become just the second player – after Ben Hogan in 1953 – to win the first three Majors of the year.
The 21 year-old crossed the Atlantic immediately after winning his fourth title of the season at last week’s John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run and will continue his bid for the modern Grand Slam teeing off alongside Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and compatriot Dustin Johnson.
Rickie Fowler, the winner of last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane, will be bidding to go one better than last year when he finished tied second behind Rory McIlroy at Hoylake.
Fowler begins his first round at 2.45 pm in the company of English duo Justin Rose and Sir Nick Faldo, who won his second of three Open titles at the Old Course in 1990. That group is bound to attract a large following and the same will be the case when veteran five-time champion, Tom Watson, who starts his final appearance at The Open at 8.33 am alongside fellow American, Brandt Snedeker, and two-time champion, Ernie Els from South Africa.
The honour of playing the first shot in this year’s Championship has been handed to Australian, Rod Pampling, who starts out at 6.32 am on Thursday together with England’s Greg Owen and Thomas Björn from Denmark. They are to be followed by Ireland’s Paul Dunne, one of nine amateurs in this week’s field, who tees up alongside America’s James Hahn and his compatriot, Todd Hamilton, the winner of the Claret Jug at Troon in 2004
Just under three hours later, Frenchman, Romain Langasque, who won last month’s Amateur Championship at Carnoustie, starts his bid for the Silver Medal at 9.33 am alongside Italy’s Matteo Manassero and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, the champion at Royal St George’s in 2011.
Spieth, Matsuyama and Johnston follow that match and just behind them, at 9.55 am, it is the turn of Tiger Woods, who won The Open at the Old Course in both 2000 and 2005 and Louis Oosthuizen, the winner of the Claret Jug the last time the Championship was held in St Andrews five years ago. The third member of that group is Jason Day, the Australian who finished in the top-10 at last month’s US Open despite suffering from a serious ear infection.
Popular American, Phil Mickleson, the Champion two years ago at Muirfield, begins his bid for a second Open title at 2.34 pm in the company of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and his fellow American, Matt Kuchar, who warmed up for his latest Open appearance by finishing tied second behind Fowler at the Scottish Open down the coast at Gullane. Click here for the draw for the first two rounds of The Open