Complete coverage: Open Championship
LYTHAM, England -- There are plenty of storylines this week: Will Tiger Woods pick up his first major win since 2009? Can Rory McIlroy get back on track? Will Luke Donald or Lee Westwood finally win their first major title?
Or could it be another year where we see a Darren Clarke or John Daly surprise the golf world?
Our staff of five writers will bring you all the answers throughout the week.
To follow our esteemed staff on Twitter throughout the week, here is a series of links:
• • •
Tournament coverage: Sunday
• Easy does it: "Bizarre" or "crazy" doesn't begin to describe how Ernie Els managed to get his hands on a second Claret Jug on Sunday. This simply came out of nowhere. Story.
• How it happened: On a day of big numbers, Ernie Els managed to fire a 2-under 68 and win his second Claret Jug after Adam Scott bogeyed the final four holes to relinquish a four-shot lead. Tracker.
• 5 Things: How will you remember the 2012 Open Championship? As the tournament in which Ernie Els made an unlikely comeback? Or as the one that Adam Scott threw away? Story.
• Triple trouble: A triple bogey at the par-4 sixth hole doomed Tiger Woods' chance to win his 15th major title, sending him into a tailspin that saw him fire a 3-over 73 and finish tied for third. Story.
• Notebook: Ernie Els captured the Open Championship by dominating Royal Lytham's final three holes; Nicolas Colsaerts makes big push toward European Ryder Cup squad. Story.
• • •
Tournament coverage: Saturday
• 5 Things: Adam Scott is 18 holes from his first major title, but he'll have big names like Graeme McDowell, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker trying to cut down that four-shot lead. Story.
• Looking for help: Will Tiger Woods' game plan have to change now that he is five back of Adam Scott? Does Ernie Els or Zach Johnson have a chance from six back? Weather might be their best friend. Story.
• Dream come true: Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell dreamed of one day getting into the final group of an Open Championship. On Sunday, that dream will come true, with the Claret Jug on the line. Story.
• In position? Brandt Snedeker didn't card a bogey for the first 40 holes at Royal Lytham. But he made up for lost time with five in his next seven holes. Thankfully, he's comfortable coming from behind. Story.
• Beware the Viking: Who exactly is 22-year-old Thorbjorn Olesen? He could be a rising star of tomorrow. Story.
• Bold stroke? The R&A and the U.S. Golf Association will take a serious look at belly and long putters, and specifically the act of anchoring the club to the body. Story.
• Rough day: Jason Dufner started the day with a new caddie after his normal looper fell ill. Then came a penalty at the par-5 seventh. The bright side? Dufner's 73 could have been worse. Story.
• Tiger Tracker: Tiger Woods turned in a pair of 3-under 67s in the first two rounds of the Open Championship, but is four shots back of leader Brandt Snedeker as the third round starts. Follow live!
• Notebook: With Charl Schwartzel and Phil Mickelson failing to stick around for the weekend, Steve Stricker now owns the longest made-cut streak in major championships. Notes.
• • •
Tournament coverage: Friday
• Iron-man: With iron after iron, Tiger Woods dissected Royal Lytham on Friday to the tune of a second consecutive 3-under 67. Whether his game plan of bunting his way around will work is yet to be seen. Story.
• Weekend warrior: With an unlikely birdie at 18, Tom Watson satisfied his competitive side with a made cut at the Open. Story.
• Day at the beach: Rule No. 1 about links golf? Don't go in the bunkers. On Friday at Royal Lytham, an extra hazard made accuracy even more important: Water filling those very bunkers. Story.
• Rough day: Rory McIlroy will be playing the weekend at the Open Championship, but his 5-over 75 Friday wasn't inspiring. Phil Mickelson will be heading back home after an 8-over 78. What happened? Story.
• Golden opportunity: Brandt Snedeker has yet to pick up a bogey at the 141st Open Championship, allowing himself to move to 10 under and build a commanding lead at Royal Lytham. Story.
• All eyes on him: Adam Scott should have won a major by now, right? Forget the past, as the present state of his game could lead him to the Open Championship come Sunday. Story.
• Notebook: Thorbjorn Olesen has blistered Royal Lytham's par 3s to the tune of 6 under. His reward? A Saturday pairing with the one-and-only Tiger Woods, who Olesen calls his "idol." Notes.
• Tiger Tracker: Coming off a solid 3-under 67, Tiger Woods tees off in the afternoon on Friday at the Open Championship, giving him a chance to survey what the course will challenge him with. Follow shot-by-shot!
• Looking back: With the second round underway at the Open Championship, take a look back at some interesting tidbits from Round 1, including Miguel Angel Jimenez winning the battle of ponytails. Story.
• Plans for the weekend? Americans Ted Potter Jr., Troy Kelly and Justin Hicks all gave themselves a chance at Royal Lytham. Story.
• • •
Tournament coverage: Thursday
• Looney Lytham: From Rory McIlroy plunking a kid on the head - and the ball ricocheting out-of-bounds - to putters in a bunker, Royal Lytham offered plenty of odd moments on Thursday. Story.
• Searching for Lefty: Anyone seen Phil Mickelson? He sprayed the ball all over Royal Lytham on Thursday, reverting to the days when the Open Championship simply was not his cup of tea. Story.
• That's all you got? The world’s elite turned up for the 141st Open Championship expecting Royal Lytham & St. Annes to play like a lion and found a pussycat. Story.
• Great Scott! Adam Scott brought in a different mindset on Thursday morning: Play the first hole like it is the 72nd hole of a tournament. After a 6-under 64 at Royal Lytham, looks like it might work out. Story.
• Deja vu? Tiger Woods teased the world last month at the U.S. Open. Is his solid 3-under 67 on Thursday a sign that he is really back? Even Tiger says there is "a long way to go" at Royal Lytham. Story.
• Notebook: Rory McIlroy was able to recover from one big mistake with a pair of birdies, while Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will have plenty of work to do on Friday. Notes.
• Staying hot: Fresh off a PGA Tour win, Zach Johnson shot a 65 Thursday at the Open Championship, his best score in a major by three shots. If he sticks to his game plan, he could be looking at a second major title on Sunday. Story.
• Tiger Tracker: Tiger Woods fired a 3-under 67 to sit three shots back of leader Adam Scott, hitting fairways and greens like a machine, with his putter hot early and suspect late. See how his round unfolded.
• • •
Preview coverage: Wednesday
• Let the chase begin: Wednesday at the Open Championship featured a few side bets, some hearty laughs, plenty of languages and some sun - yes, some sun. Now, it's time to get after that Claret Jug. Story.
• At peace: During a 45-minute session with the media on Wednesday at the Open Championship, David Duval was so well-spoken and relaxed that he resembled a veteran politician or lawyer. Story.
• Did you know? In preparation for the 141st Open Championship, which begins here along the Lancashire Coast of England on Thursday, here are 10 things you might not know about Royal Lytham. Story.
• Getting the job done: If the main job of Open courses is to identify major champions, then give Royal Lytham & St. Annes an A-plus. Story.
• Royal disappointment: The Irish Open started the buzz around Royal Portrush hosting an Open Championship. R&A chief executive Peter Dawson pretty much put that thought to rest after his annual press conference. Story.
• Notebook: Weather will wreak havoc on Wednesday with rain in the forecast, but Thursday is looking more promising, with only a 10 percent chance of precipitation. Notes.
• • •
Preview coverage: Tuesday
• Predictable? Our staff of experts have made their final picks for the 2012 Open Championship, with Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington all popular choices. Predictions.
• Notebook: With wet fairways a reality, players such as Ernie Els are choosing to replace hybrids and 5-woods with long irons at Royal Lytham. Notes.
• Misery loves company: Driving rain, hip-high rough and the pressure of a major championship - it is the players sign up for at the Open Championship, and they embrace it with a smile on their collective faces. Story.
• Odds in his favor? Only four years ago, it seemed Padraig Harrington was destined to win plenty of majors. He then fell off the success map, only to reappear in 2012 and is a legitimate contender at Royal Lytham. Story.
• Back on track: One year after fading at the Open Championship and blaming the weather, Rory McIlroy says he has grown from the experience and has regained his form. Story.
• Royal Lytham snapshots: The Golfweek trip across the pond has been telling in who takes home the Claret Jug come Sunday. Who is sitting pretty this year? Blog.
• Matter of mindset: With both players looking to snap major droughts - Tiger Woods at four years and Lee Westwood at career-long - both players are taking polar opposite attitudes into this week's Open Championship. Story.
• Toughest drive: The longest drive at Royal Lytham is the route for your correspondent simply to get to the golf course. Story.
• Maginnes On Tap: Once commonly referred to as the British Open in the U.S., it is now easy to see why it is rightly called the Open Championship. Story.
• • •
Preview coverage: Monday
• Pairings party: Tiger Woods will tee off with Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose in the first two rounds at the Open Championship. Check out all the tee times and pairings at Royal Lytham.
• 5 Things: Despite his well-known affinity for a brew or two, Darren Clarke did not use the Claret Jug as a drinking device over the past 12 months. Story.
• Watch out! It's easy to take Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy in your office pools. What about players from outside the top 10? Check out our players to watch this week . . .
• Claret curse: Maybe now that Darren Clarke has relinquished the old Claret Jug he can get on with the rest of his career says our Alistair Tait. Story.
• Changed man: David Duval returns to Royal Lytham, site of his lone major title, as a different golfer than in 2001. Given his happy new life, that's just fine. Story.
• • •
Preview coverage: Royal Lytham
• Hole-by-hole: This year's Open Championship venue lacks distinctive flair – especially when viewed on TV – but it possesses strength and character. Story.
• Deceptively difficult: When the wind blows, Royal Lytham's bunkers and hummocked fairways will transform the course into land-mined terrain. Story.
• Historical outlook: A capsule look at the 10 previous British Opens held at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where the 141st British Open will be played July 19-22. Story.
• • •
Preview coverage: The field
• Rush to Portrush: The next available date for the Open Championship is 2017. Royal Portrush should be penciled in. Story.
• Ready to roll: From "Virtual Aerial" to its crew on the ground, ESPN preps for 72 hours of Open Championship coverage. Story.
• Complete field: The 156-man field for the 141st British Open, to be played July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes (players listed only in first category for which they are eligible). Story.
• Korea's growth: K.J. Choi led the charge and now it is much easier for the likes of Seung-yul Noh, Sang-Moon Bae and Sunghoon Kang, who are among eight Korean-born players on the PGA Tour. Story.
• Remember when: A look at some of the key anniversaries this year in British Open history. Story.
• Did you know? Facts and figures for the Open Championship, held July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in Lytham, England. Story.