Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - EUROPEAN TOUR - BRITISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP,
Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Lancashire, England - Northern Ireland picked up its
third major champion in just over a year as Darren Clarke won the 2011 British
Clarke had three top-7 finishes at the British Open before his breakthrough at
Royal St. George's. Clarke closed with a 70 to beat Americans Phil Mickelson
and Dustin Johnson by a single stroke.
The Northern Irishman needed 54 majors to finally win his first.
Clarke's win followed his countryman Rory McIlory's victory at the U.S. Open.
McIlroy took the title from fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, who had
won the 2010 U.S. Open.
The last 10 major champions are broken down as such - 4 Americans, 3 Northern
Irishmen, 2 South Africans and 1 German.
With Webb Simpson's come-from-behind win at the U.S. Open in June, the last
nine major winners were first-time major champions. It also marked the 14th
straight major without someone winning two of the big four championships.
This year's venue -- Royal Lytham & St. Annes -- is hosting the championship
for the 11th time. It first hosted in 1926, then became a regular part of the
rota in 1952
Past winners at Lytham are among the biggest names in golf history. Bobby
Jones won the first Open Championship at Lytham, and was later joined by Bob
Charles, Gary Player and two-time winner Seve Ballesteros as champions at one
of the most bunkered courses in the rota.
Lytham has some 200 bunkers that will come into play this week.
Ballesteros' win in 1979 was made famous for his second shot out of the car
park on No. 16. After receiving a free drop, the Spaniard knocked his second
onto the green and made birdie from 30 feet out to all but seal the victory.
The last time Lytham hosted the championship, David Duval won by three strokes
over Niclas Fasth. Clarke shared third place, four strokes back.
Bubba Watson and Simpson have won the season's first two majors. Watson hit a
remarkable shot from the trees to beat former British Open champ Louis
Oosthuizen at the Masters, and Simpson closed with a 68 at the U.S. Open to
steal the title from Jim Furyk, McDowell and Michael Thompson.
ESPN has extensive coverage of all four rounds.
The European Tour heads to Austria next week for the Lyoness Open, where
Kenneth Ferrie was playoff winner over Simon Wakefield last year.
TRUE SOUTH CLASSIC, Annandale Golf Club, Madison, Mississippi - For those that
failed to make it into the season's third major, the remainder of the PGA Tour
will be in Mississippi for the True South Classic.
Chris Kirk fired four rounds in the 60s last year and won by a single shot
over George McNeill and Tom Pernice, Jr.
Kirk became the fifth rookie to win on the PGA Tour in 2011 as he earned his
first tour title.
The field this week includes four former major champions - Mike Weir, Shaun
Micheel, Mark Brooks and Lee Janzen. However, the highest ranked player in the
field is No. 89 D.A. Points.
Golf Channel will cover all four rounds.
The PGA Tour heads north of the border next week for the Canadian Open. Sean
O'Hair bogeyed the first playoff hole last year, but it was enough to beat
The Sports Network