Tracker: McIlroy leads British Open

Phil Mickelson is set to play with Ernie Els and Bubba Watson for the first two rounds at Hoylake.

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Open Championship

Royal Liverpool GC, Hoylake, England

7/17/2014 - 7/20/2014

Pos Name Thru Today Overall
1 Rory McIlroy $1,665,788 600 -17
2 Rickie Fowler $785,910 270 -15
2 Sergio Garcia $785,910 270 -15
4 Jim Furyk $478,380 150 -13
5 Marc Leishman $359,639 115 -12
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Tiger Woods, defending champion Phil Mickelson and World No. 1 Adam Scott are chasing Rory McIlroy after the first round of the 2014 British Open championship Thursday at Royal Liverpool.

McIlroy's 66 has him in the lead by a shot over Matteo Manassero.

Recap the highlights from Hoylake, England – and scroll down to recap the round as well as check out our preview coverage of Open Championship happenings at Royal Liverpool!

• • •

Update #28: 3:45 p.m. EDT

Let's take a look at how the top 15 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings fared today:

  1. Adam Scott: T-3, 4 under (68)
  2. Jim Furyk: T-3, 4 under (68)
  3. Sergio Garcia: T-3, 4 under (68)
  4. Matt Kuchar: T-65, 1 over (73)
  5. Henrik Stenson: T-49, even par (72)
  6. Jason Day: T-65, 1 over (73)
  7. Bubba Watson: T-124, 4 over (76)
  8. Jordan Spieth: T-33, 1 under (71)
  9. Justin Rose: T-49, even par (72)
  10. Zach Johnson: T-33, 1 under (71)
  11. Rory McIlroy: Leader, 6 under (66)
  12. Hideki Matsuyama: T-10, 3 under (69)
  13. Webb Simpson: T-124, 4 over (76)
  14. Tiger Woods: T-10, 3 under (69)

(No. 4 Steve Stricker qualified but did not choose to compete.)

• • •

Update #27: 2:41 p.m. EDT

Russell Henley, who was 3 under through 11 holes, finishes with a triple-bogey 8 at the last for a 5-over back nine and a 75. Just three shots off the lead earlier, he'll need a strong second round to make the cut.

• • •

Update #26: 2:23 p.m. EDT

Trouble at the 18th leaves Adam Scott to play his third shot at the par-5 18th from a drop zone with knee-high grass. He finds the green from there and two-putts for par and 68. He'll start the third round two shots off the lead.

Playing in the same group, Jason Dufner wraps up a bogey-free, 3-under 69 with a par and Justin Rose pars as well for a 72.

• • •

Update #25: 2:08 p.m. EDT

Justin Rose made the turn at 1 under and added a birdie at the 10th, but bogeys at Nos. 12 and 14 dropped him back to even par and he's still on that mark playing the 18th.

Phil Mickelson, in a familiar stance this year, tells ESPN he is quite pleased with his ball striking despite a disappointing score of 74. "We had a little bit tougher conditions this afternoon, so I'm quite a few off the lead. But the way I'm playing, there's a good round out there."

• • •

Update #24: 1:56 p.m. EDT

Adam Scott and Jason Dufner add birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 respectively. That pushes Scott back to T-3 at 4 under and Dufner to T-9 at 3 under.

A bogey at the 18th, after an out-of-bounds second shot and a long putt, sends Phil Mickelson to the clubhouse to sign for a 2-over 74 that has him T-88 and needing a strong Friday to play the weekend.

• • •

Update #23: 1:28 p.m. EDT

With 13 pars and birdies at Nos. 4 and 9, Jason Dufner is T-18 at 2 under. The reigning PGA Championship winner is looking to add a second major title to his resume.

Lee Westwood is T-32 at 1 under with four holes to play.

• • •

Update #22: 1:16 p.m. EDT

Adam Scott bogeys the 14th and follows with a par – barely missing a birdie try – to stand 3 under with three holes to play. The World No. 1 is looking to add his second major.

• • •

Update #21: 12:58 p.m. EDT

Adam Scott's third birdie of the day, at the par-3 13th, gets him back to T-3 at 4 under with five holes to play.

• • •

Update #20: 12:42 p.m. EDT

A bogey at the 12th drops Adam Scott back to 3 under and T-8, while Russell Henley falls back to even par with a bogey at the 12th and a double bogey at the 13th.

Phil Mickelson also slips back to even par with a bogey at the 13th.

• • •

Update #19: 12:23 p.m. EDT

A birdie at No. 10 boosts Russell Henley to T-9 at 3 under. Henley bogeyed early at No. 2 but bounced back with birdies at Nos. 4-5 and added another at No. 8.

• • •

Update #18: 12:01 p.m. EDT

Bubba Watson's day takes a disastrous turn at the par-4 11th, where his approach shot comes up short of the green and lands in a pot bunker with a steep face that forces him to play out backward. That shot runs into the rough, and his pitch from there runs past the pin perhaps 10 feet or a little less – from where he three-putts for triple bogey. Combined with a bogey at the ninth, Watson has dropped from 2 under to 2 over in a hurry.

• • •

Update #17: 11:46 a.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson erases his lone bogey of the day with a birdie just before the turn – then adds another at the 10th to get to 1 under for the first time today.

In the group behind, World No. 1 Adam Scott birdies the ninth to move to 4 under and into a six-way tie for third.

• • •

Update #16: 11:39 a.m. EDT

Zach Johnson makes the turn at 2 under and starts the back nine birdie-par; that gets him into a group of 11 players T-8 at 3 under, three back of leader Rory McIlroy.

• • •

Update #14: 11:05 a.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson's run of pars to start his round ends with a bogey at No. 7 with a three-putt as he slips to 1 over. That's got the defending champ in a tie for 71st in an event where he says, "Where I've struggled here is on the greens. I've putted the fescue grasses, the native grasses very poorly. Last year I had a very phenomenal putting week."

• • •

Update #13: 10:47 a.m. EDT

Adam Scott goes birdie-eagle at Nos. 4-5 to climb to 3 under, three back of leader Rory McIlroy with plenty of time to gain ground. Most of McIlroy's closest contenders are in the clubhouse already: Matteo Manassero is a shot back, with five players two back after carding 68: Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Edoardo Molinari and Francesco Molinari.

• • •

Update #12: 10:34 a.m. EDT

He made the turn at 1 over and was even through 11 holes, but a rough finishing stretch sends John Singleton to the clubhouse at T-135 with a 6-over 78. You might not recognize his name – because the worker of a nearby factory was a qualifier – and Singleton, all smiles while shaking hands after his round, will need a strong Friday to make his dream last four days.

• • •

Update #11: 9:41 a.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson misses a prime opportunity at the rough par-4 second hole, pushing a 10-footer for birdie past the hole on the left. He is even through two holes.

Ahead on No. 6, both Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes are 2 under through five holes.

• • •

Update #10: 9:31 a.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson open their respective rounds with pars, with Watson missing a 12-footer at No. 1 for birdie.

U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer is off to a good start, making birdie on No. 3 to get into red figures.

• • •

Update #9: 9:07 a.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy finishes with back-to-back pars at 17 and 18 to card a 6-under 66, good for a one-shot clubhouse lead over Matteo Manassero.

McIlroy was bogey-free on his opening round, doing his damage by picking up birdie on three of the four par-5s.

• • •

Hole 18: Par 5, 561 yards

Tiger is definitely feeling it today, as even his 40-footers look like they are going to drop. Woods now trails Rory McIlroy by three after the Ulsterman birdied No. 16 with a nice up-and-down from a greenside bunker.

Off the tee: With fairway metal, Tiger finds the light rough on the right side of the fairway.

Second shot: From 275 yards, Tiger takes 3-wood and gets it there, but it trickles into a pot bunker. He should have enough green to work with on the sand shot.

Around the green: Simply needing to get it out of the pot bunker, Tiger does just that and leaves himself 25 feet for birdie.

On the green: Tiger's birdie attempt slides by on the left and leaves him 3 feet for par. He knocks that in for a round that saw him card six birdies and three bogeys.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 18)

• • •

Hole 17: Par 4, 458 yards

That's five birdies over six holes for Tiger Woods, and he's now two shots off the lead with two to play.

Off the tee: Tiger is a bit late on this swing, sending his tee ball to the right, hitting a man in the face as he was standing in the rough. Yet again, it looks like the ball is sitting up nicely.

Approach shot: From 237 yards, Tiger muscles a long iron into the green, stopping pin-high and about 40 feet to the left of the hole.

On the green: Tiger thought he had this one, raising the putter into the air, but it lips out hard on the left and leaves him 2 feet for par. He knocks that in and heads to the par-5 18th.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 17)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy saves par from short of the green on 15 and stays bogey-free and in a tie for the lead at 5 under. Sergio Garcia pars the 18th hole to card a 4-under 68, one shot off the lead. Rickie Fowler posts a 3-under 69.

• • •

Hole 16: Par 5, 577 yards

A great bounce-back birdie from Tiger at No. 15, as he pulls himself back to within three of co-leaders Rory McIlroy and Matteo Manassero.

Off the tee: Tiger uses driver for the first time and finds the left side of the fairway, although he seems a bit upset that it isn't in the middle.

Second shot: With fairway wood in hand from just under 270 yards, Tiger puts a bit too much fade on it and finds greenside rough, although it does seem to be sitting up again.

Around the green: A nice chip that nearly finds the hole for eagle, allowing him to tap in for another birdie.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 16)

• • •

Hole 15: Par 3, 161 yards

A poor tee ball cost Tiger at No. 14, and he now trails Rory McIlroy and Matteo Manassero by four shots.

Off the tee: Tiger hits another nice tee ball here, getting it to the back of the green and letting some slope take it to about 12 feet right of the hole.

On the green: Caddie Joe Lacava helps Tiger with the read and he drains it for his fourth birdie in five holes.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 15)

Elsewhere on the course: Matteo Manassero makes a 12-footer for birdie on 18 to card a 5-under 67 and take the clubhouse lead by one.

• • •

Hole 14: Par 4, 454 yards

Three birdies in a row, preceded by three holes where he burned the edges. Tiger has played himself back into early contention at Hoylake, now just two shots off the lead.

Off the tee: Maybe a bit too much adrenaline, but takes a big swing with fairway metal and overcooks it left and into the rough. The ball is sitting up however.

Approach shot: Tiger has a blind shot here and actually gets too much of the ball, sending it right of the green and deep, leaving a long pitch back to the hole.

Around the green: Another poor chip shot that wanders off well left and leaves himself a lengthy par putt.

On the green: Tiger's par-saving putt from 25 feet comes up a revolution short and he picks up his third bogey of the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 14)

Elsewhere on the course: After a nice approach to 10 feet at No. 12, Rory McIlroy drains the birdie putt to take the outright lead at 5 under.

• • •

Hole 13: Par 3, 194 yards

An impressive run by Tiger here, as he's battled back after a rough start with better pace on his putts.

Off the tee: Tiger seems dialed in now, as he leaves this one about 8 feet right and above of the hole.

On the green: And that's three in a row for Tiger, as he puts this one in the heart of the cup.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 13)

• • •

Hole 12: Par 4, 447 yards

Tiger needed that putt to fall after three consecutive close calls and is back to within striking distance of the leaders.

Off the tee: Tiger takes fairway metal and again bends it right down the middle of the fairway.

Approach shot: From 185 yards, Tiger hits his best iron shot of the day and will have about 5 feet from under the hole for birdie.

On the green: Tiger gets this one to drop as well, hitting the right edge and spinning in. That's back-to-back birdies.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 12)

Elsewhere on the course: Edoardo Molinari and Brooks Koepka both birdie the par-5 18th hole to card 4-under 68s and take the clubhouse lead. Rory McIlroy makes birdie on the par-5 10th hole to join what is now a six-way tie for the lead at 4 under (Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk). Tom Watson is hanging tough, making a 15-footer for birdie on No. 15 to get to even for the tournament.

• • •

Hole 11: Par 4, 391 yards

That was definitely a missed opportunity for Tiger after he drilled his tee ball. Another poor chip shot proved costly. He is five back of new solo leader Rickie Fowler, who birdies No. 12 to break an 11-way tie for the lead.

Off the tee: Another iron, another fairway. He's now 8 of 9 in fairways hit.

Approach shot: From 134 yards, Tiger takes wedge and leaves it short of the green, taking a bit too much off that one.

Around the green: Putting from off the green, Tiger gets one to fall finally, having to stab at the ball up against the collar.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 11)

• • •

Hole 10: Par 5, 532 yards

Tiger hit 6 of 7 fairways on the front nine and seemed to get into a better groove after back-to-back bogeys to start his round. At 1 over, Tiger makes the turn four shots back of a seven-way tie for the lead.

Off the tee: With fairway metal, Tiger drills it down the throat of the fairway. He liked that one immediately.

Second shot: Long iron in hand and 238 yards to the green, Tiger tugs in a bit left and finds the rough to the left of the green. The ball does sit up and isn't in the long stuff.

Around the green: Tiger's chip is solid at best, as he leaves himself 10 feet from under the hole for birdie.

On the green: Hits another lip, this time on the left side and he has to settle for par again. Maybe slightly too firm again.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 10)

Elsewhere on the course: Sergio Garcia, facing a second consecutive bogey, chips in from off the green at the par-4 11th to move back into a tie for the lead at 3 under. Marc Leishman joins Robert Karlsson in the clubhouse with a 3-under 69 after a birdie at No. 18. Erik Compton just misses a birdie putt on the par-5 18th, carding a 1-under 71.

• • •

Hole 9: Par 3, 197 yards

Another birdie chance missed at No. 8 for Tiger, although all are mid-range.

Off the tee: Nice ball here from Tiger, as it settles about 12 feet left of the hole. A good look at birdie.

On the green: For the third straight hole, Tiger scares the cup, but this one sits on the lip and he settles for another par and a 1-over 36 on the front nine.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 9)

Elsewhere on the course: Sergio Garcia makes a mess of the par-5 10th and drops back to 2 under, one off the lead. Brooks Koepka and Edoardo Molinari are back in a share of that lead after birdies at the par-5 16th.

• • •

Hole 8: Par 4, 431 yards

That birdie putt at No. 7 is one that Tiger could have had, but he is now giving himself chances.

Off the tee: No change to the game plan, as Tiger takes iron and finds the middle of the fairway.

Approach shot: From 136 yards, Tiger finds the green, but isn't happy that he'll have 20 feet from the right of the hole for birdie.

On the green: Tiger thinks he has this one, but the ball hits the right edge and spins out. Just a tad too much pace for it to fall. He knocks in an 18-incher for his fifth par of the round.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 8)

Elsewhere on the course: With back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10-11, Matteo Manassero has joined a six-way tie for the lead at 3 under. Rory McIlroy is one of those co-leaders after draining a 12-footer for birdie on No. 6. Jim Furyk has moved to 3 under as well after a birdie at No. 10. The 10th hole has been birdied 18 times in 36 tries so far today.

• • •

Hole 7: Par 4, 480 yards

Solid par at No. 6, especially on a lengthy par 3. The front nine at Hoylake has only one par 5, which Tiger took advantage of.

Off the tee: Tiger is hesitant on liking this iron, but it finds the left side of the fairway.

Approach shot: Tiger starting to look a little more dialed in, getting this second shot to about 20 feet right of the pin.

On the green: Tiger has the pace perfect on this birdie putt, but settles 2 inches left of the cup and he settles for a par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 7)

Elsewhere on the course: Robert Karlsson ends his round with pars at Nos. 17 and 18 to get into the clubhouse with a 3-under 69. He's tied for the lead with Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia, with Fowler picking up birdie on No. 8. Rory McIlroy just misses and eagle putt on No. 5, settling for a 3-footer for birdie to move to 2 under.

• • •

Hole 6: Par 3, 201 yards

Nice birdie there by Tiger to potentially get some momentum going and inch back toward red figures.

Off the tee: Solid tee ball here, as it runs down the right side of the green and settles 20 feet right of the cup.

On the green: Tiger misreads his birdie putt, not playing it enough to the left and the battles settles 3 feet right of the cup, which he knocks in for par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 6)

Elsewhere on the course: Jordan Spieth birdies Nos. 3 and 4 to move to 2 under, and he heads to the par-5 fifth in search of a tie for the early lead. Brooks Koepka has joined that lead after a birdie at the par-3 13th.

• • •

Hole 5: Par 5, 528 yards

Tiger's putt from off the green on No. 4 was dismal by his standards, but the par-saving putt looked solid. Tiger is definitely struggling around the greens since returning from back surgery.

Off the tee: Sticking to his game plan, Tiger takes iron and finds the middle of the fairway, although he doesn't seem too pleased with it.

Second shot: Tiger can't get to the green, so lays it up in front of a greenside bunker and will have a short chip to the front right pin.

Around the green: Tiger nearly holes out, but it still runs about 8 feet past the hole. His first real look at birdie.

On the green: Tiger gets one to fall, hitting the right edge of the cup and he cards his first birdie of the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 5)

Elsewhere on the course: Sergio Garcia now shares the lead with Robert Karlsson at 3 under, with Karlsson picking up birdie on No. 16.

• • •

Hole 4: Par 4, 372 yards

Tiger showed better speed on his birdie putt on No. 3, and that will be critical today as the temperatures rise.

Off the tee: Another iron here and another fairway hit. He'll need to get something going, as he can't let the likes of Sergio Garcia get too much breathing room.

Approach shot: Tiger motions for it to come back a bit right, but it stays left of the flag and catches a small ridge at the back of the green and settles just off the green, about 25 feet from the hole.

Around the green: Putting from off the green, Tiger doesn't commit fully to it and leaves it about 6 feet under the hole. Simply didn't hit it hard enough.

On the green: Tiger makes the par putt to avoid a third bogey of the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over (thru 4)

Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy nearly holes out for eagle on No. 2, coming to rest inches from the cup and the Ulsterman is 1 under early in his round. Sergio Garcia has joined the leaders at 3 under after making a 15-footer for birdie on the par-5 fifth hole. Rickie Fowler also birdies No. 5 and is just one off the lead.

• • •

Hole 3: Par 4, 426 yards

Tiger's short game continues to be a thorn in his side. First a subpar bunker shot at No. 1, then a three-putt on No. 2. While early, he's now five back of current leader Marc Leishman.

Off the tee: Iron again and Tiger finds the fairway on the right.

Approach shot: Solid shot into the green here, settling about 25 feet past the hole.

On the green: Tiger's birdie putt settles 6 inches from the cup and he taps in for his first par of the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over (thru 3)

Elsewhere on the course: Erik Compton picks up his fifth birdie of the round at the par-4 11th and has moved to 2 under, just one off the lead. Rickie Fowler, who finished T-2 at the U.S. Open with Compton, birdies the fourth hole to move to 1 under.

• • •

Hole 2: Par 4, 454 yards

Not the start that Tiger was looking for, but you'll find a bunker or two when playing the Open Championship. And they are penal to say the least. Moving to No. 2, there has been only one birdie in 39 recorded scores so far today.

Off the tee: Iron again, but this time finds the right rough.

Approach shot: From the long stuff, Tiger manages to one-hop it onto the green and it runs out to about 50 feet right of the hole.

On the green: Tiger hammers his birdie attempt and it runs about 6 feet past the hole. A poor three-putt bogey here, as he misses the par putt to the right of the hole.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over (thru 2)

Elsewhere on the course: Sergio Garcia hits a nice approach to about 12 feet on No. 3 and drains the putt to move to 2 under, one shot back of Marc Leishman.

• • •

Hole 1: Par 4, 458 yards

As a handful of groups have made the turn, the attention on the course turns to Tiger Woods, playing in his first major of the year after back surgery. With temperatures expected to reach 75 degrees today, Woods is decked out in a short-sleeve grey shirt and grey slacks. Check out Tiger's official scripted outfits from Nike here. Woods is playing with Angel Cabrera and Henrik Stenson (who yukked it up on Wednesday, read about it here) for the first two rounds. We'll follow Tiger, shot-by-shot, while also keeping you up to date on the rest of the field.

Off the tee: Of the 39 players to have completed No. 1 today, there have been eight birdies. With long iron in hand, Tiger finds the left side of the fairway.

Approach shot: From 193 yards, Tiger takes a rip at it, but finds a greenside bunker and is immediately in scramble mode.

Around the green: Facing a big lip in front of him in the bunker, Tiger's sand shot is safely out, but runs all the way across the green. Putting from off the green, Tiger leaves his par attempt about 4 feet short of the cup.

On the green: Tiger makes the bogey putt. Good news for Tiger? He also bogeyed the opening hole in 2006, when he won at Hoylake.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (thru 1)

• • •

Update #8: 3:51 a.m. EDT

Brooks Koepka is on fire right now, running off his third consecutive birdie at the par-3 sixth hole to move to 2 under and into a tie for the lead. Koepka has four birdies and a double-bogey (on the second hole) thus far in the round.

• • •

Update #7: 3:41 a.m. EDT

The grouping of Brooks Koepka, Edoardo Molinari and Kiradech Aphibarnrat is definitely the hottest on the course currently, as Molinari and Aphibarnrat are tied for the lead at 2 under and Koepka is one back after a birdie at No. 5.

Meanwhile, Matteo Manassero manages his way out of trouble on No. 1, holing his third shot from the fairway to move to 1 under early in his round.

• • •

Update #6: 3:35 a.m. EDT

Dawie Van Der Walt has used an eagle on No. 5 and birdie on No. 7 to jump into a three-way tie for the lead at 2 under. Marc Leishman and Edoardo Molinari are also 2 under.

Meanwhile, Erik Compton has rebounded from back-to-back bogeys to open his round with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 to get back to even par.

• • •

Update #5: 2:55 a.m. EDT

We're starting to see a few more red numbers on the early Open board, with David Howell running off his third consecutive birdie – the latest at the par-5 5th hole – to move to 2 under, tied with Edoardo Molinari, who has opened his round with back-to-back birdies.

Amateur Ashley Chesters posted a birdie at No. 1 in his quest to become low amateur at the Open Championship.

• • •

Update #4: 2:43 a.m. EDT

Playing together, Edoardo Molinari and Brooks Koepka both open their Open Championships with a birdie at No. 1.

Koepka has had quite the whirlwind 30 days, mostly stemming from his top-4 finish at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, giving him his PGA Tour card for 2014-15 and spots in both the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015. Check out the full story from Nick Masuda here.

• • •

Update #3: 2:32 a.m. EDT

After opening with a bogey, David Howell has birdied both Nos. 3 (from 40 feet) and 4 to move into red figures very early in the first round. With 15 players having recorded a score thus far, Howell is the only player under par.

Chris Wood followed his opening birdie with a bogey at No. 2.

• • •

Update #2: 2:10 a.m. EDT

The first birdie of the day belongs to Chris Wood, who drains a putt on No. 1. The first double bogey of the tournament also comes at No. 1, as Bernd Wiesberger gets off to the poor start.

Now on the course at Royal Liverpool is American Erik Compton, who has undergone two heart transplant surgeries, only to make it all the way back on Tour and even finish T-2 at last month's U.S. Open. The British bookmakers have Erik Compton at 200-1 this week. But let’s face it, he’s made a career of beating the odds. Compton, 34, is playing golf in the U.K. for the first time and is finding his early week at Royal Liverpool to be as quiet as it was in Pinehurst. Click here for Beth Ann Nichols' story on Compton.

• • •

Update #1: 1:45 a.m. EDT

According to weather.com, the forecast at Hoylake today calls for a high of 75 under mostly sunny skies with zero chance of rain – meaning the fairways and greens will dry out throughout the day.

The first group of the day – David Duval, Robert Karlsson and David Howell – have officially opened play at the 2014 Open Championship. Duval and Karlsson both pick up pars, while Howell posts the first bogey of the tournament.

• • •

Wednesday's coverage

Forget bomber's heaven; Hoylake demands strategy

Eight years ago, Tiger Woods won at Hoylake by using driver only once. A similar strategy could work this week despite the course being a bit more green due to recent rain.

Rude: Now headlining at Hoylake, Stenson

Henrik Stenson, the dryly humorous Swede, would be a great player to have as a next-door neighbor, writes Jeff Rude -- especially after his wit shined Wednesday at Hoylake.

Factory worker Singleton brings dream to life

John Singleton, the local factory worker, hopes he doesn’t have to turn up to work on Monday. Liverpool's own Singleton is bringing his dream to life this week at Open Championship.

Poulter will play British Open with sore wrist

Ian Poulter, who injured his right wrist during last week's Scottish Open, said that an MRI on the wrist revealed no serious damage. However, the Englishman has a ganglion cyst and will play in the Open Championship.

Gambling has been prohibited at British since '11

Hard to believe, but gambling by players or caddies is prohibited at the Open Championship, and it has been for a while.

Notes: Mickelson feeling 'better than I have in years'

Phil Mickelson said that despite poor results this season, he feels better than he has in years as he prepares to defend his Open Championship title. Also, Bubba Watson, in his pre-Hoylake schedule, included a round with his best friend, and Billy Hurley III got some much-needed rest before he takes on Royal Liverpool.

Crane making mad dash from Oregon to Hoylake

Ben Crane has moved from the ninth alternate to the top one and spent Tuesday night beginning his travels from Portland, Ore. to Hoylake, a trip that won't get him to the course until 1 a.m. on Thursday.

Harman looks to enjoy the moment at British Open

Brian Harman's win at the John Deere Classic earned him a rush of riches, including $846,000, 500 FedEx Cup points, a Masters invite, a trip to Hawaii and an invite to this week's Open Championship, a tournament he's very much looking to enjoy this week.

• • •

Preview coverage

Tiger says goal is to win at Hoylake, but is that realistic?

With only 12 competitive rounds on the PGA Tour in 2014, Tiger Woods claiming that only finishing first is acceptable might be a bit of a stretch. But his competitors are seeing signs that his game is awfully close.

Scott leads expert picks for British Open

Adam Scott tops our senior writers' picks to win the 2014 British Open, with Jordan Spieth and Paul Casey also earning multiple mentions as contenders at Royal Liverpool. See who else is expected to contend.

At Hoylake, Player shares his thoughts on the game

His playing days are over, but his love affair with the Open Championship still rages, so it was no surprise to see Gary Player at Royal Liverpool for the 143rd edition.

Cowan recalls Furyk's 'unbelievable' par at '06 Open

While the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool might be best remembered for Tiger Woods' dominating performance en route to his third Claret Jug, Jim Furyk's caddie, Mike Cowan recalls another special memory – Furyk's putt from a bunker that led to an up-and-down par.

Rude: Open gets Watson's memories flowing

"If I'm getting too sugary," five-time Open champion Tom Watson said while waxing nostalgic in advance of the 2014 British Open, "stop me." No one stopped him.

Mickelson gives back Claret Jug, keeps memories

Phil Mickelson, who concedes he used to wonder “if I ever was going to come through and play well in links golf and win an Open,” is proceeding with a profound confidence this week.

A closer look: Woods' British Open results

Tiger Woods will make his 18th Open Championship appearance when he tees it up this week at Royal Liverpool. Here's a look at Woods' Open performances by year, including his three wins.

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Equipment coverage

Mickelson adds Callaway Apex UT for British Open

Callaway club designer Roger Cleveland said Phil Mickelson's name can be added to the list of players who will carry a driving iron in this week’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Daly summons 1-iron to avoid rough at Open

John Daly had one word for the Royal Liverpool rough –“Brutal." He has put a TaylorMade 1-iron in his bag to help steer clear of the rough at Hoylake.

If it's the British Open, it must be driving iron time

There are two main reasons driving irons could be especially popular at this week’s Open Championship, again at Hoylake. The first is the weather, and the second is the increasing ability of manufacturers to make strong-lofted irons that are playable.

Cobra, Poulter team with Arsenal Football Club

Cobra Golf has just announced the release of gear decorated in the colors and logos of the Arsenal Football Club, including a BiO Cell driver.

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