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The Open Golf Championship 2008

Image taken by Flickr user "Eddie Truman", 2006-08-13 23:14:40.

The Open Championship
17-20 July 2008

Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Lancashire UK

The original and arguably the most prestigeous of all the Majors is known in the UK as The Open Championship, or The British Open as it is referred to outside the UK.

First played in 1860 as 3 rounds of 12 holes over the links of Prestwick in Scotland, it was won by Willie Park in 174 strokes and he duly received the first prize, which was custody of the Challenge Belt for 1 year. There was no prize money in those days.

In 2008 the overall purse is well over £4million but it is the title and the silver Claret Jug which was first won in 1872, that the players are most anxious to get their hands on!

There are 9 links courses in Scotland and England that are in the current rota:

* Old Course at St Andrews * Carnoustie Golf Links, Championship Course * Muirfield * The Westin Turnberry Resort, Ailsa Course * Royal Troon Golf Club, Old Course * Royal St George's Golf Club * Royal Birkdale Golf Club * Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club * Royal Liverpool Golf Club, more commonly known as "Hoylake".

The current course rotation in the rota (for years ending in) is as follows:

* (0 and 5) - Scotland - (Old Course at St Andrews)
* (1 and 6) - England
* (2 and 7) - Scotland
* (3 and 8) - England
* (4 and 9) - Scotland

This year, the 137th Open returns to Royal Birdale in the County of Lancashire, for the 9th time. Situated on the North West coast of England, Royal Birkdale is one of three courses within fairly close proximity that are on the Championship rota. Hoylake and Royal Lytham are the other two and if you add the fabulous links courses nearby of Hillside, Southport and Ainsdale and Formby, any golfer in the know will tell you what a fantastic area this is for golfing terrain of the very highest calibre.

Royal Birkdale was formed in 1889, although the current layout was created in 1922 by Fred Hawtree and 5 times Open Champion J H Taylor. With its large, white art-deco style clubhouse dominating the 18th green, all but two of the 18 holes have been altered for this years event. 16 fairway and 4 greenside bunkers have been added and "significant mounding" added to seven of the greens, so the emphasis has been on tightening rather than lengthening the 7,173 yard course.

With its fairways threading their way through the natural valleys between the sand dunes, they tend to provide flatter lies than many of the links courses and this goes down well with the pros. And, of course, the dunes themselves provide a natural grandstand for the spectators, so they too are pleased.

Well, I would normally write : so who's going to be second this year?

But after his fantastic success in The US Open, Tiger is forced to rest and that leaves a huge question as to who is most likely to win this year. There's just no easy answer to that one

In the 8 previous Opens at Birkdale, there have been 5 winners from the USA and 2 from Australia - Peter Thompson having won there twice. Not exactly reassuring for the European contingent but, you never know, whilst the cats away the mice may play!!

Article by: Martin Dawson



About the Author:

Having been a fanatical golfer since the age of 8, Martin has experienced the many highs and the even more lows that this wonderful game of golf has a habit of throwing at us.

But as we all know, it is a game that keeps us coming back for more despite the heartache and frustration it can produce!

Find out Martin's answer to alleviate this by going to www.effortless-golf-swing.com

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