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PGA European - British Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, July 17th through Sunday, July 20th
SITE: Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, England
COURSE ARCHITECT: Robert Chambers and George Morris (1869)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,312
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 458 Yds10 - Par 5 532 Yds
2 - Par 4 454 Yds11 - Par 4 391 Yds
3 - Par 4 426 Yds12 - Par 4 447 Yds
4 - Par 4 372 Yds13 - Par 3 194 Yds
5 - Par 5 528 Yds14 - Par 4 454 Yds
6 - Par 3 201 Yds15 - Par 3 161 Yds
7 - Par 4 480 Yds16 - Par 5 577 Yds
8 - Par 4 431 Yds17 - Par 4 458 Yds
9 - Par 3 197 Yds18 - Par 5 551 Yds
34 3,547 Yds37 3,765 Yds
Annual:  143rd
Television:  ESPN - Thursday/Friday -- 4 a.m.-3 p.m. (ET),
  - Saturday -- 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (ET),
  - Sunday -- 6 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (ET)
Defending Champion:  Phil Mickelson
Runner-Up:  Henrik Stenson
Tournament Record:  267 (Greg Norman, 1993 - Royal St. George's)
54-Hole Record:  198 (Tom Lehman, 1996 - Royal Lytham & St. Annes)
36-Hole Record:  130 (Nick Faldo, 1992 - Muirfield,
  Brandt Snedeker, 2012 - Royal Lytham & St. Annes)
18-Hole Record:  63 (Mark Hayes, 1977 - Turnberry)
  (Isao Aoki, 1980 - Muirfield)
  (Greg Norman, 1986 - Turnberry)
  (Paul Broadhurst, 1990 - St. Andrews)
  (Jodie Mudd, 1991 - Royal Birkdale)
  (Nick Faldo, Payne Stewart, 1993 - Royal St. George's)
  (Rory McIlroy, 2010 - St. Andrews)
Total Purse:  $9,200,000 (5,400,000 pounds)
Shares:  1st Place - $1,440,000; 2nd Place - $832,106; 3rd Place - $534,884
2013 Finish
Phil Mickelson281Zach Johnson286
Henrik Stenson284Hideki Matsuyama286
Ian Poulter285Tiger Woods286
Adam Scott285Hunter Mahan287
Lee Westwood285Francesco Molinari287

* - Won in Playoff

Top Contenders in the Field
Phil Mickelson3rdT-60T-22mcT-19---T-48T-2mcWon
Henrik Stenson---T-34T-48mcT-3T-13T-368th---2nd
Adam ScottT-42T-34T-8T-27T-16mcT-27T-252ndT-3
Ian PoulterT-25T-11mcT-272ndmcT-60mcT-9T-3
Lee Westwood4thmcT-31T-35T-67T-32ndmcT-45T-3
Tiger WoodsT-9WonWonT-12---mcT-23---T-3T-6
Zach JohnsonmcmcmcT-20T-51T-47T-76T-16T-9T-6
Hideki Matsuyama---------------------------T-6
Hunter MahanT-36---T-26T-6mcmcT-37mcT-19T-9
Francesco Molinari---------mc---T-13mcmcT-39T-9
Brandt Snedeker------------mcmc---mcT-3T-11
Angel Cabrera---mc7th34thmcT-24mcmcmcT-11
Miguel A. JimenezT-47T-52T-41T-12mcT-13T-27T-25T-9T-13
Justin LeonardT-16T-52---mcT-16T-8mcmcmcT-13
Keegan Bradley------------------------T-34T-15
Matt Kuchar---------mcmcmcT-27mcT-9T-15
Charl Schwartzel---mcT-22mc---mcT-14T-16mcT-15
Darren ClarkeT-11T-15mcmc---T-52T-44WonmcT-21
Sergio GarciamcT-5T-52ndT-51T-38T-14T-9mcT-21
Ernie Els2ndT-343rdT-4T-7T-8mcmcWonT-26
Jason Dufner------------------mcmcT-31T-26
Paul LawriemcT-52mcmcmcT-47mcT-66T-34T-26
Stewart CinkT-14mcmcT-6mcWonT-48T-30mcT-26
Dustin Johnson---------------mcT-14T-2T-9T-32
Bubba Watson---------------mcmcT-30T-23T-32
Martin Kaymer------------80thT-34T-7T-12mcT-32
Y.E. Yang---mc---mc------T-60T-16mcT-32
Jason Day------------------T-60T-30---T-32
Geoff Ogilvy---T-5T-16mcmcmcmcmcT-9T-44
Jordan Spieth---------------------------T-44
Padraig Harringtonmc---mcWonWonT-65mcmcT-39T-54
Graeme McDowellmcT-11T-61mcT-19T-34T-23mcT-5T-58
Tom LehmanmcT-23mcT-51T-32T-60T-14T-22mcT-58
Ben CurtismcmcmcT-8T-7mcmcmcmcT-64
Thomas BjornmcmcT-41T-53------mc4thT-54T-73
Todd HamiltonWonmcT-68mcT-32mcmcmcmcT-73
Sandy Lyle73rdT-32mcT-65wdmcmcmcmc84th
Luke DonaldmcT-52T-35T-63---T-5T-11mcT-5mc
Rickie Fowler------------------T-14T-5T-31mc
Jim Furykmcmc4thT-12T-5T-34mcT-48T-34mc
Rory McIlroy---------T-42---T-47T-3T-25T-60mc
Tom Watson---T-41T-48---mc2ndmcT-22mcmc
Justin Rose---------T-12T-70T-13mcT-44mcmc
Louis Oosthuizenmc---mc------mcWonT-54T-19wd
Jimmy Walker---------------------------mc
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose
Darkhorse - Rickie Fowler, Thongchai Jaidee, Danny Willett
Last Week's Pick to Win (Jamie Donaldson) - Missed the cut
Last Week's Darkhorse (Robert Karlsson) - Finished tied for 8th
Can Tiger Woods prove to the world that he is healthy and win his 15th major championship? Will Phil Mickelson defend his title from last year and win his sixth major title? Can Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer win their second major championship this year and third overall? Can Justin Rose, Adam Scott or Graeme McDowell win a second major? Will Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood or Sergio Garcia claim their first major championship? Will Rory McIlroy win his third leg of the career grand slam? These questions will all be answered this week as the 143rd British Open Championship takes shape at Royal Liverpool. This will be the 12th British Open to be played at Royal Liverpool and first since 2006, when Woods won his third British Open.

Woods will be playing for the first time since missing the cut at the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour three weeks ago. That tournament was the first that he played in three months due to back surgery. Woods is still looking for his first win of the season and has fallen to No. 7 in the world rankings.

World No. 1 Adam Scott is playing for the first time since finishing tied for ninth at the U.S. Open. He has one victory this season at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on the PGA Tour. Scott has six top-10 finishes this season and has made 38 straight cuts dating back to 2012.

World No. 2 Henrik Stenson comes into this major in good form. He is still looking for his first victory of the year, but has four straight top-7 finishes, including a runner-up finish at the BMW International Open three weeks ago.

World No. 3 Justin Rose is the hottest player in the world, winning his last two events. He captured the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour three weeks ago and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open last week on the European Tour.

Kaymer will be looking to win for the third time this year, after capturing two huge events at the Players Championship on the PGA Tour and his second major title at the U.S. Open.

Last year, Mickelson put together one of the best final rounds in major championship history as he fired a 5-under 66 to win. He matched the low round of the week and his second-best score in a major to finish at 3-under-par 281. With four birdies in the last six holes, Mickelson was able to rally for his first Claret Jug.

In 2012, Ernie Els won in a stunning final round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that saw Adam Scott bogey the last four holes to lose by one. Scott held a 4-shot lead with four to play and bogeyed them all. Els drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th, then watched Scott miss an 8-foot par save at the last to give Els his fourth major title. Els picked up his second Claret Jug after he won at Muirfield in 2002. He won the U.S. Open in both 1994 and 1997 and has now captured major titles in three different decades. Els fought back from seven behind after two rounds.

In 2011, Darren Clarke fought off challenges by Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the final round to win. Clarke fired rounds of 68-68-69-70 to finish at 5-under-par 275 for a 3-stroke win over Mickelson and Johnson. It was Clarke's first major championship title in his 54th attempt. His best previous finish in the four majors both came at this championship -- second in 1997 and third in 2001.

Clarke's win gave Northern Ireland its second straight major championship title and third in six majors contested. McIlroy won the U.S. Open in June of 2011, a year after McDowell won the same event. The back-to-back wins for Northern Ireland were the first for any country other than the United States since 1910. Clarke was also the second player from Northern Ireland to win the Claret Jug, joining Fred Daly, who won the crown in 1947. He also became the first major champion over the age of 40 since Vijay Singh won the PGA Championship in 2004.

Louis Oosthuizen shot rounds of 65-67-69-71 in 2010 to finish his first major championship title in style at 16-under-par 272. He ended seven strokes clear of Westwood on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Oosthuizen became the fourth South African to win this event, joining Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Els. Locke also won at St. Andrews. Americans Sean O'Hair and Nick Watney tied for seventh. It was the first time since 1969 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that there were no Americans in the top five at a British Open.

In 2009, Stewart Cink denied Tom Watson's run at history by winning in a 4-hole playoff. Cink totaled 14 strokes in the extra session, while Watson needed 20 shots in the same stretch at Turnberry. For Cink, it was his sixth PGA Tour win and first major championship. Watson had been going for his record-tying sixth Open Championship title and was trying to become the oldest major champion. Cink posted a 1-under 69 in regulation, that included a birdie on the 72nd hole to post 2-under-par 278. Watson led by one on the 18th tee of regulation, but knocked his approach over the green at the last and could not save par. Watson shot 2-over 72 in the final round to match Cink at minus-2. Cink never owned a piece of the lead until his birdie putt dropped on the 72nd hole.

Padraig Harrington became the fifth player in 50 years to successfully defend his title in 2008. Harrington fired an outstanding, 1-under 69 in the final round to win his second major championship at 3-over 283. He was an amazing 4-under on his back nine when conditions intensified at Royal Birkdale. Greg Norman's amazing run at becoming the oldest major champion ended on the back nine of the final round. The 53-year-old and 2-time former British Open champion held the lead on the 10th tee, but four back-9 bogeys derailed his chances. Norman, who held the third-round lead, finished with a 7-over 77 and tied for third place.

Harrington joined Woods (2005-06), Tom Watson (1982-83), Lee Trevino (1971-72) and Arnold Palmer (1961-62) as the only players to repeat in the last 51 years. Amateur Chris Wood finished in a tie for fifth in 2008. It was just the third top-10 finish by an amateur in any major championship since 1970, joining Rose (T-4 at 1998 British Open) and Jim Simons (T-5 at 1971 U.S. Open).

In 2007, Harrington got a second chance and defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff to earn his first major at Carnoustie. Harrington took the aggregate, four-hole playoff 15-16. Harrington became the first European to win a major since Paul Lawrie titled at Carnoustie in 1999. Harrington made a disastrous double-bogey on the 72nd hole in regulation, but Garcia followed him with a bogey at 18 to force the 4-hole playoff to decide the title.

With his win in 2007, Harrington became the first Irishman to win the British Open since Northern Ireland's Fred Daly in 1947. Harrington's 6-stroke comeback in the final round was the largest come-from-behind win since Lawrie came from 10 strokes back to win at Carnoustie in 1999.

Woods successfully defended his title in 2006 with a 2-shot victory at Royal Liverpool. He was threatened by Chris DiMarco on the back nine, but three consecutive birdies from the 14th allowed Woods to shoot a final-round, 5-under 67. Woods finished the event at 18-under-par 270. It was Woods' third British Open title and first at a venue other than St. Andrews. It was his first victory since his father, Earl, passed away in May of 2006.

In 2005, Woods captured his second British Open championship at the Old Course at St. Andrew's to become the second player in golf history to win the career Grand Slam twice. He did it on the same course where he completed his first slam. In 2000, Woods dusted the field at St. Andrews to win and become the fifth player in golf history to win all four major championships. In 2005, he joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to do it more than once. Woods opened the event with a 66 and never looked back, as he led wire-to-wire. With his win, Woods became the sixth player to win this event in wire-to-wire fashion. The others are: Ted Ray (1912), Bobby Jones (1927), Gene Sarazen (1932), Henry Cotton (1934) and Tom Weiskopf (1973). He became the fifth player to win two British Opens at St. Andrews, joining Bob Martin (1876, 1885), J.H. Taylor (1895, 1900), James Braid (1905, 1910) and Nicklaus (1970, 78). Woods won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 to join Nicklaus as the only two players to win the career Grand Slam three times.

Nicklaus competed in the final major of his career in 2005 at St. Andrews. The same week Nicklaus bowed out of competitive golf, Woods completed another type of slam. Every major championship Nicklaus stepped away from, Woods hoisted the trophy. It first started in 2000 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, then a few months later at Valhalla, Woods claimed the PGA Championship. Earlier in 2005, Nicklaus announced it would be his last trip to the Masters as a player and Woods went on to defeat Chris DiMarco in a playoff. In his 15 appearances at the British Open as a professional, Woods has three wins, nine top-10s and one missed cut.

In 2004, for the second consecutive year, an underdog of the biggest proportion captured the title. Todd Hamilton joined 2003 winner Ben Curtis as British Open champions, as he outdueled Els in a playoff to capture the Claret Jug. When Curtis won in 2003, he was the 396th-ranked player in the world. He stunned the planet's best with his final round of 69 and a 1-shot win over Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh. Curtis, who jumped to 35th in the world after his win, became the first player since Francis Ouimet at the 1913 U.S. Open to capture a major in his first major appearance. With his win in 2004, Hamilton became the second consecutive rookie on the PGA Tour to win this event. Prior to winning, Hamilton was ranked 96th in the world and climbed to 16th after the win.

Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor and Gary Player are the only players to win the British Open in three different decades. Henry Cotton set the record for the largest 54-hole lead in British Open history when he took a 10-stroke advantage into the final round at Sandwich in 1934. Cotton carded a final-round 79, but still won by five over Sidney Brews.

The European Tour travels to Russia next week for the M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club in Moscow, where Michael Hoey won in 2013.

07/14 16:18:53 ET

As of July 14, 2014, at 04:20 PM ET

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Danny Lee -6 9
Adam Hadwin -5 F
Charley Hoffman -5 F
Marc Leishman -5 F
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Shawn Stefani -4 F
Brandt Snedeker -4 F
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