The Open 2017: first round – live!

The Open 2017: first round – live!

Stenson versus Mickelson. How on earth do you follow that?

Well, chances are, you probably don’t. Not if the law of averages is any guide. The previous stone-cold mano-a-mano Open classic, Turnberry’s duel in the sun between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, occurred in 1977. We’re dealing in 39-year gaps. Don’t hold your breath, folks, 2055 is an awfully long way away.

Then again, we’re allowed to dream, yes? Perhaps the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale will be even better! Goodness knows, there’s enough star quality out there. In order of world ranking … the 2016 US Open champion Dustin Johnson; Hideki Matsuyama, runner up at Erin Hills last month; the 23-year-old two-time major winner Jordan Spieth; the 28-year-old four-time major winner Rory McIlroy; the Masters champion Sergio Garcia; the 2015 PGA winner Jason Day; Jon Rahm, a first-time winner on both PGA and European tours this year; last year’s Open champion Henrik Stenson; Alex Noren, who shot 62 to win the PGA at Wentworth a couple of months back; links disciple and serial major bridesmaid Rickie Fowler; the new US Open champion Brooks Koepka; erstwhile US Open winner and teenage Birkdale sensation Justin Rose; Justin Thomas, who shot 63 in a major last month; and the local boy Tommy Fleetwood, in the form of his life, who knows this famous old links like the back of his hand.

Then there’s Phil Mickelson. A long shot for old Lefty, perhaps. But then Nicklaus did bounce back from losing to Watson in 1977 with victory in the 1978 Open. Nothing is impossible.

And we’ve just scratched the surface. You’ll forgive us if we’ve not mentioned your favourite, won’t you? Look at it this way: there’s an awfully long way to go, so no doubt they’ll get a namecheck soon. Four days of classic action on this beautiful Lancashire links stretch out ahead of us. Open fever is raging; somebody, please, call Dr Golf! While we wait for that old quack, here’s today’s tee times (all BST):

6.35 am: Mark O’Meara, Chris Wood, Ryan Moore
6.46 am: Phachara Khongwatmai, Maverick McNealy (a), Stuart Manley
6.57 am: Stewart Cink, Sandy Lyle, Jeunghun Wang
7.08 am: Paul Broadhurst, Thongchai Jaidee, Roberto Castro
7.19 am: Tom Lehman, Byeong Hun An, Darren Fichardt
7.30 am: Soren Kjeldsen, Billy Horschel, Danny Willett
7.41 am: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Steve Stricker, Emiliano Grillo
7.52 am: Jason Dufner, Branden Grace, Bryson DeChambeau
8.03 am: Alex Noren, Russell Knox, Ian Poulter
8.14 am: David Duval, Prayad Marksaeng, K.T. Kim
8.25 am: Younghan Song, David Horsey, Dylan Frittelli
8.36 am: Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Charles Howell III, Shiv Kapur
8.47 am: Russell Henley, Fabrizio Zanotti, Peter Uihlein
9.03 am: Alexander Levy, Brendan Steele, Webb Simpson
9.14 am: Wesley Bryan, Anirban Lahiri, Alfie Plant (a)
9.25 am: Darren Clarke, Gary Woodland, Harry Ellis (a)
9.36 am: Padraig Harrington, Pat Perez, Thomas Pieters
9.47 am: Henrik Stenson, Si Woo Kim, Jordan Spieth
9.58 am: Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas
10.09 am: Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood
10.20 am: J.B. Holmes, Brandt Snedeker, Shane Lowry
10.31 am: Richard Bland, Shaun Norris, Luca Cianchetti (a)
10.42 am: Yikeun Chang, Chan Kim, Mark Foster
10.53 am: Sung-Hoon Kang, Tony Finau, Matthieu Pavon
11.04 am: Alexander Bjork, Joe Dean, Robert Streb
11.15 am: Robert Dinwiddie, Julian Suri, Adam Hodkinson
11.36 am: Andrew Johnston, Adam Hadwin, Todd Hamilton
11.47 am: John Daly, Adam Bland, Connor Syme (a)
11.58 am: William McGirt, Toby Tree, Jamie Lovemark
12.09 pm: Matthew Griffin, Austin Connelly, Matthew Southgate
12.20 pm: Cameron Smith, Bill Haas, Callum Shinkwin
12.31 pm: Michael Hendry, Brian Harman, Martin Laird
12.42 pm: Ernie Els, Ross Fisher, Bernd Wiesberger
12.53 pm: Tyrrell Hatton, Martin Kaymer, Aaron Baddeley
1.04 pm: Zach Johnson, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia
1.15 pm: Andy Sullivan, Joost Luiten, David Lipsky
1.26 pm: Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Paul Casey
1.37 pm: Matt Kuchar, Richie Ramsay, Ryan Fox
1.48 pm: Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman, David Drysdale
2.04 pm: Jimmy Walker, Hideto Tanihara, Thorbjorn Olesen
2.15 pm: Jhonattan Vegas, Brandon Stone, Sean O’Hair
2.26 pm: Daniel Berger, Pablo Larrazabal, Yuta Ikeda
2.37 pm: Paul Lawrie, Kevin Chappell, Yusaku Miyazato
2.48 pm: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel
2.59 pm: Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood
3.10 pm: Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Marc Leishman
3.21 pm: Scott Hend, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Bubba Watson
3.32 pm: Paul Waring, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Na
3.43 pm: Giwhan Kim, Xander Schauffele, Andrew Dodt
3.54 pm: Haotong Li, Kent Bulle, Haydn McCullen
4.05 pm: Jbe Kruger, Nick McCarthy, Ashley Hall
4.16 am: Ryan McCarthy, Laurie Canter, Sebastian Munoz

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