Former champion Mark O'Meara to tee off first at the Open

Doug Mendoza
July 17, 2017

"Having The Open back at Royal Birkdale is going to be really cool".

Masters champion Sergio Garcia will pair up with Jason Day and 2015 Open champion Zach Johnson while Padraig Harrington, who lifted the Claret Jug the last time the tournament was held at Royal Birkdale in 2008, will link up with Pat Perez and Thomas Pieters.

He said his ball-striking hasn't been good for the last 18 months, apart from during a two-month stretch in the summer of 2016 when he won the BMW International Open in Germany followed by the Open Championship three weeks later. A final round 66 brought him back to -8, only five shots off the 72-hole score of eventual victor Rafa Cabrera Bello.

SOUTHPORT, England - Henrik Stenson will begin defense of his Open title on Thursday at 4:47 a.m. ET (9:47 a.m. local time) alongside two-time major champion Jordan Spieth and Players champion Si Woo Kim.

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A downbeat Henrik Stenson all-but dismissed his chances of retaining his Open title, despite a closing 68 in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

'We certainly need to step that up quite a lot if we want to have anything to do with it next week. "You never know, it might be the only time we're defending champion at the Open Championship so I might as well enjoy it". "It's always that battle and I don't feel I have enough game to play the way I want to, and as soon as you go into practice mode you are losing the possibility to play your best".

1998 Open Champion Mark O'Meara will hit the first tee shot at this year's Championship.

The 60-year-old, who won his second major title when the Open was staged at Birkdale in 1998, has been given a 6.35am start time alongside Chris Wood and Ryan Moore.

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