LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Sergio Garcia should think seriously about his wardrobe on the opening day of the 141st Open Championship.
It’s probably best not to wear yellow.
Garcia tees off at 4:42 a.m. EDT at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in the company of Tiger Woods and Justin Rose. The last time Garcia wore yellow while playing with Woods, the Spaniard seemed to turn the same color with fear.
The pair played together in the final two-ball at Royal Liverpool in 2006. In a bright yellow outfit that made him look like a canary, Garcia started two shots behind Woods and finished seven shots adrift in fifth place as Woods won his third Open Championship.
Needless to say, yellow isn’t Garcia’s lucky color. Maybe something a little more macho for the first round. Blue, perhaps?
The Woods-Garcia-Rose pairing is one of the most intriguing of the first two days, and likely to garner the lion’s share of attention. However, Royal Lytham galleries have some good trios to follow.
Defending champion Darren Clarke tees off alongside Ernie Els and Zach Johnson. That pairing once would have been seen as The Big Easy along with The Big Angry, with the diminutive Johnson acting as peacemaker, but Clarke’s temper has cooled quite a bit in recent years.
Lee Westwood is heavily favored to win his first major here at Royal Lytham. The Englishman is one of the best drivers in the game, and accuracy is a premium here this week, considering the deep rough off the fairways. Westwood goes alongside Masters winner Bubba Watson, who isn’t always as accurate. Japan’s Yoshinori Fujimoto completes that trio.
Feature groups on the other side of the draw include Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley, respective winners of the U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship. Bradley will be hoping this game of links golf goes better than his last one with McIlroy. Three weeks ago, Bradley played the first two rounds with the Northern Irishman in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush and missed the cut.
Like Westwood, Luke Donald is looking to make his major breakthrough this week. He tees it up alongside four-time major winner Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy.
Spare a thought for the two amateurs in this year’s field. Alan Dunbar won the British Amateur last month at Royal Troon and gets a plum draw alongside Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar. Austria’s Manuel Trappel, meanwhile, takes his place in the field courtesy of winning last year’s European Amateur. He tees it up with Rickie Fowler and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.
Will Dunbar and Trappel rise to the occasion, or be yellow with fear like Garcia was six years ago?
The pairings and tee times for the first two days: