The Open 2013: England's contenders at Muirfield
THE 142ND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
- 18-21 July
- Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, online and mobile (UK only) and Radio 5 live; text commentary on BBC Sport website (#bbcgolf) and mobiles; watch again on iPlayer
Muirfield will see a somewhat depleted number of just 17 Englishmen line up for the 142nd Open Championship.
Leading the cast on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, at the 122-year-old home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, will be Britain's greatest-ever golfer Sir Nick Faldo.
The 56-year-old six-times major winner not only secured his first here in 1987 (when his famous final-day 18 straight pars finally saw off Paul Azinger) but he then repeated the feat in 1992, winning by a shot again, from another American, John Cook.
Faldo's third Open win in six attempts proved to be his last, whereas Hampshire's Justin Rose goes into battle at Muirfield on the back of his first, last month's US Open victory at Merion.
Rose's triumph on American soil lifted him to third in the world rankings, while Luke Donald, last year's leading Englishman at the Open, has dropped to eighth.
But Lee Westwood (12) and Ian Poulter (20) are both still in the world top 20, and are likely to figure at some point over the four days if they find their best form.
The rest of the English contingent will be simply hoping to make it through to the weekend as they have all played well just to qualify for the tournament.
And as the Open throws up new heroes every year, they will be hoping to be one of memorable names in this year's 156-man field.
Based in the United States since becoming the first Englishman to win US Tour School in 2004.
Five times a runner-up on the US PGA tour, has never been out of the top 125 of the money list across the Atlantic. Enjoyed his best Open finish at Royal St George's in 2003 when he tied for sixth. Married to former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence's daughter Julie.
Lives: Orlando, Florida
World ranking: 126
Exemption: US Final Qualifying (Gleneagles Country Club, Texas, 66-69)
Open record (8): 1998: Missed cut, 1999: T68, 2000: Missed cut, 2003: T6, 2004: Missed cut, 2005: Missed cut, 2007: T53, 2011: Missed cut
First round tee time: 08:00 BST
Donald has had seven top-10 finishes in majors, but his tie for fourth at the Masters in April 2011 was arguably his best performance. Has twice tied for fifth at the Open in the past four years, thanks to a final round 67 at Turnberry in 2009 and a closing 69 at Lytham a year ago. Has dropped from first to eighth in the world rankings in the past year but has still had three top-10 finishes, most recently at the US Open at Merion last month, when he fell away on the final day with a 75.
Born: Hemel Hempstead, Herts
Club: Beaconsfield, Bucks
Lives: Chicago, Illinois
World ranking: 8
Exemption: Top-10 finish at Open 2012
Open record (12): 1999: Missed cut (A), 2000: Missed cut (A), 2002: Missed cut, 2003: Missed cut, 2004: Missed cut, 2005: T52, 2006: T35, 2007: T63, 2009: T5, 2010: T11, 2011: Missed cut, 2012: T5
First round tee time: 14:12 BST
Donald told BBC Sport: "I like Muirfield. Of all the Open venues, it's the least quirky. It's set up just as the R&A would like it. With the weather conditions, it's playing firm and fast and it's going to be about controlling your ball. My expectations are to be in contention. I did a pretty good job in the US Open a few weeks ago and I'm looking for more of the same. It was an inspiration looking at how well Justin Rose performed at Merion and I feel like hopefully my turn's coming."
Sir Nick Faldo
Three-times former Open champion, who won his first claret jug here at Muirfield in 1987 and his last, five years later, in 1992. Also won at St Andrews in 1990. Won the last of his six majors, his third Masters, in 1996. Now lives in the States, working as a television summariser for ABC. Making his first Open appearance since St Andrews in 2010, at the age of 56.
Age: 56 (on the first day of The Open)
Born: Welwyn Garden City
Lives: Orlando, Florida
World ranking: Former number one
Exemption: Former winner (1987/1990/1992)
Open record (34): 1976: T28, 1977: T62, 1978: T7, 1979: T18, 1980: T12, 1981: T11, 1982: T4, 1983: T8, 1984: T6, 1985: T53, 1986: 5, 1987: Winner, 1988: T2, 1989: T8, 1990: Winner, 1991: T17, 1992: Winner, 1993: 2, 1994: T8, 1995: T39, 1996: 4, 1997: T51, 1998: T42, 1999: Missed cut, 2000: T41, 2001: Missed cut, 2002: T59, 2003: T8, 2004: Missed cut, 2005: T11, 2006: Missed cut, 2007: Missed cut, 2009: Missed cut, 2010: Missed cut
First round tee time: 09:00 BST
Faldo told BBC Sport: "I played St Andrews three years ago and really thought that was it. I didn't enjoy it. But I've got a very special place here, the 18th green at Muirfield. I wanted to play here again and have another go. It might be the last chance I get to walk with fellow Open champions."
Became the youngest player to take part in the Walker Cup when he played at the Chicago Golf Club in 2005 at the age of 16 years and 334 days. Turned pro a year later, winning his first European Tour event at the Czech Open in 2011. After finishing 95th on the order of merit, kept his tour card in 2012, but has missed the cut in half of the 18 European Tour events he has played this year.
Exemption: IFQ-Europe (Sunningdale, 70-65)
Open record (1): 2011: Missed cut
First round tee time: 06:32 BST
Fisher told BBC Radio Essex: "It's a great venue and it's just great to be at a major. Everyone in golf is here. I have no fear because I'm old enough to know what the course needs. It's very challenging, but I would love to be in those final groupings going up the 18th on Sunday."
Matthew Fitzpatrick (A)
Came through Local Final Qualifying over 36 holes at Gullane, shooting a two-under 69 followed by a 72 to tie for second - and book one of the three available places by just a shot. Forced to withdraw at Hillside a year ago after turning his ankle. Due to start at Northwestern University (Luke Donald's old college) this autumn.
Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (Gullane 69-72)
First round tee time: 12:50 BST
Fitzpatrick told BBC Radio Sheffield: "It's such an experience. When I put my name down for practice they scrolled down to Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler at 08.00 BST. I had to ask my mum and dad, as it was a bit early and we're staying 40 minutes away. But the guys were great and were really interested in me. They signed my bag. I almost missed Tiger Woods on the range until my parents pointed him out. It was like Tiger and no one else was there. One guy even asked me for my pass and accreditation. I had to tell him I am a player."
Appeared in his first Open as an 18-year-old amateur at St Andrews in 2010, shooting rounds of 78 and 77 to miss the cut. Turned pro in 2011. After two wins on both the Europro Tour and the Jamega Tour, secured a card on the Challenge Tour for 2013, currently standing 35th on the money list.
Born: High Wycombe
Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (The Musselburgh, 69-67)
Open record (1): 2010: Missed cut
First round tee time: 16:02 BST
Hatton told BBC Three Counties Radio: "It's my second Open but it's still special as it's my first as a professional. I played in practice with Miguel Angel Jimenez. It was great to see him hit balls and how he goes about his business. I've had a good season and not missed a cut so I want to keep that run going. It's funny because little children have asked for my autograph and then I can hear them say 'Who's that?'. But golf is in my blood. Dad is a pro and mum used to play. I played football like all kids but was pretty useless, so stuck with golf."
Made his big career breakthrough when finishing second to Rory McIlroy in last year's USPGA at Kiawah Island. Had previously only played in one major, the 2003 Open, when he finished 13 shots behind the winner, Ben Curtis. But his performance in the States earned a place at the Masters and he again showed his liking for the big occasion, leading after the first round before eventually finishing tied on 46th after a third round 80. Having opted to spend most of his time on the PGA Tour this year, missed out on a first win when he lost in a play-off at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in May.
World ranking: 47
Exemption: Top 50 World Order of Merit ranking
Open record (1): 2003: T53
First round tee time: 08:33 BST
Lynn told BBC Radio Stoke: "By my age, I probably should have played a lot more majors than I have. The only Open I've played was at Royal St George's in 2003 but I know how much the Scots love their golf, so this week should be special. I've not played at Muirfield before but I've had my first look at it now. The rough is quite tricky to say the least. There could be a lot of irons off the tee."
Playing in only his second Open after making his debut at Royal St George's two years ago, where he had twice been before, but only as a spectator. Turned pro in 2001, winning his European Tour card in 2004. Has twice won enough money to keep his card, in 2010 and 2011, but was forced back to Tour School in 2012. Has only made the cut five times in 14 events this year, but a second round 65 at Sunningdale in International Final Qualifying showed just what he is capable of.
Exemption: IFQ-Europe (Sunningdale, 71-65)
Open record (1): 2011: T48
First round tee time: 07:27 BST
McEvoy told BBC Radio Essex: "When you're growing up as a kid, the Open is the place to be. I first got the thirst for it at Sandwich two years ago and have wanted to get back here ever since. You have to stay hopeful that your big break will come and I've got a fantastic draw, playing with a former Open champion Stewart Cink, which is a real honour. I'd not seen the course before until I came up here on Monday. It's probably the best of all the courses and looks in great shape."
Jimmy Mullen (A)
The 6ft 2ins amateur, who plays his golf at Royal North Devon, fired two matching three-under 68s to win Local Final Qualifying at North Berwick by a single shot. Came after finishing third at Formby the week before in the Men's Open Amateur Strokeplay.
Club: Royal North Devon
Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (North Berwick 68-68)
First round tee time: 10:50 BST
Mullen told BBC Radio Devon: "Ernie Els was my idol when I was very young. I love the way he goes about his business. But Tiger Woods is amazing. You can't take away what he's done. He's different gravy compared to everyone else. It would be a dream to play with him."
Garrick Porteous (A)
Earned his place in the field at both the Masters and the US Open next year by becoming England's first winner of the Amateur Championship in 10 years, at Royal Cinque Ports last month, since Gary Wolstenholme in 2003. Since graduating from the University of Tennessee in December with a degree in art ("It's a chance to get away from golf and be creative in a different way"), he has finished runner-up in the Welsh Open Strokeplay Championship, as well as winning the Scottish - just three weeks before his big win in Kent.
Club: Bamburgh Castle
Exemption: Amateur champion
First round tee time: 08:22 BST
Porteous told BBC Radio Newcastle: "Talking to my coach Graham Walker he said not to be too defensive here, otherwise you are always taking a step back. I know Muirfield well. It's only an hour and 40 minutes from my house and I played here before in the Amateur Championship a few years ago. It was an honour to win it this year. It feels like everything is clicking into place."
The only Englishman with more than one World Golf Championship title to his name, in 2010 and 2012. The lifelong Arsenal fan looked set to claim a first major at Royal Birkdale in 2008, but got overtaken by a stunning finish from defending champion Padraig Harrington, who beat him into second by four shots. Has not featured strongly since, although he did come through with a final round 67 at Lytham a year ago to claim only his second top-10 Open finish. Saved his best golf in 2012 for the Ryder Cup at Medinah in September, when his inspired form over the three days in Illinois earned him four victories out of four and the sort of attention and acclaim that his colourful dress sense has always warranted.
Lives: Milton Keynes/Orlando
World ranking: 20
Exemption: Top 10 finish at Open 2012
Open record (12): 2000: T64, 2002: T50, 2003: T46, 2004: T25, 2005: T11, 2006: Missed cut, 2007: T27, 2008: 2, 2009: Missed cut, 2010: T60, 2011: Missed cut, 2012: T9
First round tee time: 09:22 BST
Poulter told BBC Sport: "My chances are good. I'm playing nicely. I'm happy with the clubs I've got in the bag. Obviously the irons will be coming out and I've been working well with a new putter. I liked the course when I played in 2002. I shot 69-69, then got blown off the golf course. Last year's Ryder Cup win at Medinah will never go away. It was truly amazing. The memories will last a lifetime, which I'll always carry with me. The fans know how special it was. That won't change this year, next year or in the year to come. It gave me a huge sense of self belief. I've won two WGC events now, but it's no secret that I've always wanted to win a major."
Comes to Muirfield on the back of winning his first major, last month's nerveless US Open triumph at Merion, which made him the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin to claim the 118-year-old trophy. Now he has the chance to do what Jacklin did and have hold of both trophies simultaneously. But the only others to have done that since the war reads like a who's who of great American golfers - Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods. Whatever happens this week, when it comes to the Open, Rose will always be remembered for his approach shot to 18 in 1998 when, as an amateur, he finished tied for fourth behind Mark O'Meara. It remains his best Open finish. Can he improve on that?
Club: Hartley Wintney, Hampshire
World ranking: 3
Exemption: Top 50 World Order of Merit ranking
Open record (11): 1998: T4 (Silver Medal), 1999: Missed cut, 2001: T30, 2002: T22, 2003: Missed cut, 2007: T12, 2008: T70, 2009: T13, 2010: Missed cut, 2011: T44, 2012: Missed cut
First round tee time: 09:11 BST
Rose told BBC Sport: "I've been facing questions for years about who's going to be the next Englishman to break through. Hopefully, my winning the US Open has broken the curse. Lee Westwood has been knocking on the door many times, Luke Donald has spent a lot of time as world number one and Ian Poulter has had a chance or two in majors. I feel fortunate that it's me who broke through first but I feel sure it's going to give them that little bit of extra burst of enthusiasm, to make them more hungry and give them more belief and I would not be at all surprised if one of them won this week."
Ben Stow (A)
Has just finished his first year at the University of Kentucky. Runner-up in English Golf Union champion of champions in 2011, winning the European Challenge Trophy last year. Booked a place at his first Open by winning Local Final Qualifying over 36 holes at Gullane, shooting rounds of 72 and 69 to win by a shot.
Born: Chilmark, Wiltshire
Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (Gullane 72-68)
First round tee time: 06:43 BST
Stow told BBC Radio Wiltshire: "Muirfield is an incredible place. The course is fantastic. I love every minute of golf, every minute I'm playing and every minute on the range. I'm playing with former Open winner Todd Hamilton on Thursday. My friend's dad knows him well, so we have a sort of connection. I'd love to win the silver medal but if it happens it happens. I just want to soak it up."
Left the field standing in Local Final Qualifying, firing a seven-under morning 64 followed by a 69 to win at The Musselburgh by three clear shots. Missed the cut at his first Open at Royal Troon in 2004. Attended Georgia State University before turning pro in 2007. Featured strongly at his second Open at St Andrews three years ago when he fired a first round 66.
Lives: Herne Bay
Attached: Royal Cinque Ports
Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (The Musselburgh 64-69)
Open record (3): 2004: Missed cut, 2010: T68, 2012: Missed cut
First round tee time: 10:50 BST
Tiley told BBC Radio Kent: "It's nice to be in the Open again. For me it's easily the best Championship in the world. This is where you want to be. I have never played Muirfield before but the course is good. It's tough and fair, it suits me, as I am straight and it can run. but I've grown up playing links golf. I don't play so much links now, but I reckon a few links shots might come out this week. My Open record has been good without setting the world on fire. I missed the cut by one last time, by two at Troon and at St Andrews I made it and went on to play well."
Five top-three finishes at majors in the past five years, but still no big prize. Fourth at Troon in 2004, third at Turnberry in 2009, second at St Andrews in 2010, but missed the cut for first time in six years at Sandwich two years ago and was out of sorts at Lytham last year. Moved to the United States this year, since when he has enjoyed five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, including a tie for eighth at the Masters in April. Remarkably consistent, if he can hole enough putts, still has the game to go that one better and follow his friend and stablemate Darren Clarke's example at Sandwich two years ago.
Lives: West Palm Beach, Florida
Attached: Close House
World ranking: 12
Exemption: Top 50 World Order of Merit ranking
Open record (18): 1995: T93, 1996: Missed cut, 1997: T10, 1998: T62, 1999: T13, 2000: T64, 2001: T47, 2002: Missed cut, 2003: Missed cut, 2004: 4, 2005: Missed cut, 2006: T31, 2007: T35, 2008: T67, 2009: T3, 2010: 2, 2011: Missed cut, 2012: T45
First round tee time: 14:01 BST
Westwood told BBC Sport: "I've played OK this year without any really great results, although I've had a couple of chances to win. My whole game's good, so I'm looking forward to playing the Open again. Normally I'd play the French Open or the Scottish Open but this time I've had three weeks off to relax and recharge my batteries. Muirfield is in incredible condition. The rough's up and it will be a tough test, if there's a nice breeze blowing around. It could be a great Open."
Son of a Sheffield vicar. Won the English Amateur championship in 2007, earning a place in the same Walker Cup team as Rory McIlroy. Turned pro in 2008, winning his first European Tour title when he won the BMW International Open at Gut Larchenhof in June 2012.
World ranking: 112
Exemption: Top 30 European Order of Merit 2012
Open record (1): 2011: Missed cut
First round tee time: 11:33 BST
Willett told BBC Radio Sheffield: "It's been a strange year. I've had 15 weeks off this year with a bad back injury, so my expectations are low, but a good week would get me into the USPGA and get me ready for when the when the battle for Ryder Cup starts at Gleneagles in September."
At 6ft 5ins, he is the joint-tallest player on the European Tour. Tied for fifth place in his first Open at Royal Birkdale in 2008, to win the Silver Medal as leading amateur. Went even closer a year later at Turnberry, finishing third, missing the play-off between Stewart Cink and Tom Watson. Missed the cut at St Andrews in 2010 and has failed to qualify since. Did not even know about his late qualification for this year's event until being phoned up to ask for his reaction by a reporter from BBC Radio Bristol.
World ranking: 71
Exemption: Top five European players not already exempt following French Open
Open record (3): 2008: T5 (A), 2009: T3, 2010: Missed cut
First round tee time: 07:16 BST
Wood told BBC Sport: "The Open, especially here at Muirfield, is a great challenge and one I've relished playing in. I may have missed the last two at Royal Lytham & St Anne's last year and at Royal St George's in 2011, but my record stands up to most English players. I'm really at home on links courses where the fairways are fast and the rough is punishing. I've seen already how brutal the rough is if you miss a fairway."