Ernie Els comes into the 142nd Open Championship this week looking to defend his 2012 title. He was gifted his second Claret Jug in 2012 when Australian, Adam Scott blew a four shot lead on Sunday at Royal Lytham St Annes last year, and gave the championship to the 43 year-old South African. The Big Easy has one win on the European Tour this year, that coming at the BMW International Open last month.
Action gets underway at The 2013 Open Championship on Thursday morning from Muirfield in East Lothian, Scotland. After re-tooling his game to handle US Open and Open Championship style of play, Phil Mickelson comes into this year’s championship as the sentimental favorite. The 43 year-old Mickelson has four major championships on his resume, and to prove he has mastered the links style of golf, won the Scottish Open on Sunday in a playoff against South African, Branden Grace.
Tiger Woods is returning from elbow problems that he says occured at The Players back in May, but surfaced during the US Open. He was seen holding it after hitting from the tough rough at Merion. Woods pulled out of the Congressional and has been rehabbing the elbow to get ready for the third major of the season.
Flying in under the Radar is the world’s number two player, Rory McIlroy. There is absolutly no one talking about Rory this week, so look for him to come in refreshed and ready to play. He just might surprise some people if the weather holds. You can never tell what you’re going to get in Scotland, so it could be interesting.
Tour rookie, Jordan Spieth punched the final ticket into the Open on Sunday by beating PGA tour journeyman David Hearn, and 2007 Masters Champion, Zach Johnson in a five-hole playoff at the John Deere Classic. Spieth validated all of his FedEx Cup points with the win, and vaults into 11th place. I don’t look for the youngster to contend in his first major, but who knows?
You can see the Open Championship on ESPN starting at 4AM Eastern Time starting Thursday and Friday. The broadcast will air until 3PM each day. Saturday coverage starts at 7 AM and runs until 2:30 PM, and Sunday starts at 6AM and goes until the Claret Jug is passed to the new winner.
ESPN’s flagship news and information program, SportsCenter, will originate from the site of the championship with a one-hour special SportsCenter at The Open Championship program on Wednesday, July 17, at 2 p.m. as well as with extensive reports throughout each day beginning Monday, July 15.
Follow Me on Twitter @Spin_47 and In the Golf Community at Google +