Today marks the start of the 144th Open Championship, the third of the major golf tournament of the year. The Open is the oldest major golf tournament in the world, and is being held at St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
Last years tournament held at Royal Liverpool saw victory claimed by Northern Irelands Rory Mcllroy who finished on 17 under par, which was 2 shots ahead of Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia.
However Mcllroy will be unable to defend his title as he injured his ankle in the weeks before start and was forced to withdraw. With the world number one out, Jordan Spieth has a chance to win his third consecutive major and take over the world number one position.
There will be a 156 strong field of competitors taking to the fairways and greens with the winner of the tournament picking up the famous Claret Jug and a cool £1.15 million, which is in stark contrast to the first ever tournament in 1860 when Scotsman Willie Park Snr took home no monetary prize at all (just the Challenge Belt). In fact it wasn’t until 5 years later that Tom Morris Snr took home the lofty sum of £6.
Fans packing the course hoping for a British or Irish winner on Sunday can have their hopes raised by the fact that there have been 9 winners in the last 30 years.
The course they will be playing on at St Andrews is one of oldest and most famous in the world.
One of the unique features of the Old Course are the large double greens. Seven greens are shared by two holes each, with hole numbers adding up to 18 (2nd paired with 16th, 3rd with 15th, all the way up to 8th and 10th). The Swilcan Bridge, spanning the first and 18th holes, has become a famous icon for golf in the world. Everyone who plays the 18th hole walks over this 700 year old bridge, and many iconic pictures of the farewells of the most iconic golfers in history have been taken on this bridge. A life-size stone replica of the Bridge is situated at the World Golf Hall of Fame museum in St. Augustine, Florida. Only the 1st, 9th, 17th and 18th holes have their own greens. Another unique feature is that the course can be played in either direction, clockwise or anti-clockwise. Along with that, the Old Course has 112 bunkers which are all individually named and have their own unique story and history behind them. The two most famous are the 10 ft deep "Hell Bunker" on the 14th hole, and the "Road Bunker" on the 17th hole. Countless professional golfers have seen their dreams of winning the Open Championship squandered by hitting their balls in those bunkers.
The Holes of the St Andrews Course
Hole 1 Burn 375 yards Par 4
Hole 2 Dyke 452 yards Par 4
Hole 3 Cartgate (Out) 398 yards Par 4
Hole 4 Ginger Beer 480 yards Par 4
Hole 5 Hole O’Cross (Out) 570 yards Par 5
Hole 6 Heathery (Out) 414 yards Par 4
Hole 7 High (Out) 371 yards Par 4
Hole 8 Short 174 yards Par 3
Hole 9 End 352 yards Par 4
Hole 10 Bobby Jones 386 yards Par 4
Hole 11 High (In) 174 yards Par 3
Hole 12 Heathery (In) 348 yards Par 4
Hole 13 Hole O’Cross (In) 465 yards Par 4
Hole 14 Long 614 yards Par 5
Hole 15 Cartgate (In) 455 yards Par 4
Hole 16 Corner Of The Dyke 418 yards Par 4
Hole 17 Road 495 yards Par 4
Hole 18 Tom Morris 356 yards Par 4
Total yards - 7297 – Par 72
For more information or up-to-date scores please head on over to The Open's website here.