Here is a first look at The Open Championship, which will be played at Royal Troon Golf Club.
• COURSE: Royal Troon GC, 7,190 yards, par 71. Set against the rugged coastline of Scotland’s western coast, Royal Troon was established in 1878 and will serve as The Open’s backdrop for the ninth time. The course didn’t settle into its current form until 1909, when head professional Willie Fernie laid out its two most iconic holes in No.8 (Postage Stamp) and No.11 (Railway). The Open first arrived in 1923, which Arthur Havers won with a bunker holeout on the 72nd hole. Even more memorable is Gene Sarazen’s hole-in-one at the Postage Stamp in the 1973 Open, coming at age 71. Five of the eight Open champions at Royal Troon claim it as their only major title.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 points.
- CHARITY: The R&A contributes more than $7 million annually to programs designed to enhance the game worldwide. Particular emphasis is given to junior golf programs, along with growth initiatives in emerging golfing nations.
- FIELD WATCH: U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, now No.2 in the world after also winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, joins No. 1 Jason Day to head a lineup expected to feature 84 of the top 85 in this week’s Official World Golf Ranking. … Rory McIlroy makes his Open return after an ankle injury last year prevented him from defending his 2014 crown. … Openings remain for the Scottish Open’s four highest top-12 finishers still without berths. … World Golf Hall of Famers Vijay Singh and Colin Montgomerie return after lengthy absences – three years for Singh, six for Monty. … Among the 12 survivors of local qualifying is Paul Dunne, who held a share of last year’s 54-hole lead but fell outside the top 10 in the final round.
- 72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Greg Norman (1993 at Royal St. Georges).
- 18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Mark Hayes (2nd round, 1977 at Turnberry), Isao Aoki (3rd round, 1980 at Muirfield), Greg Norman (2nd round, 1986 at Turnberry), Paul Broadhurst (3rd round, 1990 at St. Andrews), Jodie Mudd (4th round, 1991 at Royal Birkdale), Nick Faldo (2nd round, 1993 at Royal St. Georges), Payne Stewart (4th round, 1993 at Royal St. Georges), Rory McIlroy (1st round, 2010 at St. Andrews).
- LAST YEAR: Zach Johnson emerged from a wild extended weekend at St. Andrews, prevailing in a three-man playoff to cap a Monday finish that ended Jordan Spieth’s run for a third consecutive major title. Johnson’s 6-under 66 set the bar in the final round, closing with a 30-foot birdie putt to complete four rounds at 15-under 273. He was later joined by Marc Leishman (66) and Louis Oosthuizen (69) – but not Spieth (69), whose bogey at No. 17 and missed birdie try at No. 18 left him a stroke in arrears. It was the Open’s first Monday finish since 1988, thanks to a short Friday storm delay and 10 1/2-hour wind suspension on Saturday.
- STORYLINES: Dustin Johnson, winner of the last two big trophies at Oakmont and Firestone, seeks to make it three in a row when he arrives on the Scottish coast. Sunday struggles also seem a thing of the past, having won both in come-from-behind fashion. … After being unable to defend the Claret Jug last year, McIlroy also has seen his game round into form in recent weeks. His victory at the Irish Open highlights a trio of top-5 finishes in his past four starts worldwide. … Scott Piercy has been runner-up in his past two starts, with only Johnson finishing ahead of him. … It will be a poignant Open return for Montgomerie, a Royal Troon member whose father once served as the club’s secretary. The 53-year-old Scotsman just squeezed into the field, taking the last of three spots from a qualifier at Gailes Links.
- SHORT CHIPS: This Open will be the first for new R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, who took over for the retiring Peter Dawson last September. It also will mark the club’s second with women members, adding two more last December in Judy Bell and Marlene Streit. … Though the R&A has raised the purse slightly from last year, a weak exchange rate means a smaller amount in dollars. The 2016 payout converts to $8.42 million, compared to $9.77 million at St. Andrews.
- TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 4-7 a.m. (GC); 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 4-7 a.m. (GC); 7 a.m.-2 p.m. (NBC).