Also commonly referred to as "The Open" or the "British Open," Thursday marks the beginning of the 2013 Open Championship. The Open is the year's third of professional golf's four annual major tournaments.
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The only major played outside of the United States, The Open will be contested from July 18th-21st. This year's prize pot is for £5,250,000, with £945,000 of that going to the winner.
The 2013 Open Championship is the 142nd installment of golf's oldest major tournament. For the 16th time since its inception, and the first time since 2002, the event will be played at Muirfield Golf Links, in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland.
Over the last few winters, Muirfield has undergone some renovations, with 15 of the holes having been altered in some facet. The new layout will be played in competition for the first time this Thursday.
The most noticeable difference from prior years will be hole number 9, which the course claims will be a tough par 5, more often than not forcing players to hit directly into Scotland's high winds.
Ernie Els is the defending champion and is among the field again this year. Enthusiasts of this great game will remember that the South African won his first Open in 2002 at this exact course.
The odds makers have Tiger Woods as a fairly heavy favorite to win this year at 8-1. After his recent Scottish Open victory, Phil Mickelson is in the mix as well as far as Vegas is concerned at 18-1. Other early favorites are Justin Rose and Adam Scott, the winners of the year's first two majors.
As any sports fan knows, these odds count for nothing once the players actually hit the course. That's why we watch, because anybody can have the weekend of their life and come away with the victory. Rankings, current money earnings and career accolades are all left at home.
So the question is, who will be this year's winner? All bets are off once the players step up to the first tee box, and anyone lucky enough to have received an invitation could wind up a champion on Sunday afternoon. Just ask 2003 winner Ben Curtis.