Friday, 19 March 2010
137th Open Championship - Final Round  (Getty Images)
137th Open Championship - Final Round (Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington's attempt to win The Open for the third year running, something not achieved in any of the four Majors since Peter Thomson in 1956, will get underway at 2.20pm on Thursday.

The Dubliner, winner at Carnoustie and Birkdale the last two years, partners two former US Open Champions in American Jim Furyk and Australian Geoff Ogilvy at Turnberry as he looks to keep his hold of the Claret Jug.

Lee Westwood will go head-to-head with Tiger Woods in the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday - just as he did on the final day of the US Open last year.

Westwood matched the World Number One's score that day, both going round Torrey Pines in two over par 73s, but the big difference was that Woods started with a one-stroke lead.

And while he went into a play-off with fellow American Rocco Mediate and won his 14th Major despite a left knee so bad he did not play again all season, Westwood had to content himself with coming closer than he ever has to his first Major title.

A massive gallery is sure to follow the pair when they tee off in the opening round at 9.09am - and the number of television cameras trained on them could be a record because the third member of the group is 17 year old Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa.

Play on the first two days starts at 6.30am and it is a star-studded group which gets the action under way.

First to tee off will be former Ryder Cup player Paul Broadhurst, joint holder of The Open record with his 63 scored at St Andrews in 1990, and he is alongside 2006 US Open winner Michael Campbell and Mark Calcavecchia, the American who was Open Champion just up the coast at Troon in 1989.

Greg Norman, who Calcavecchia beat in a play-off that year and who was a brilliant third at the age of 53 last summer, begins his challenge at 7.36am with World Number Four Kenny Perry and European Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson.

Norman, of course, is back on the links where he grabbed his first Major title by five shots in 1986 - during a week which also saw him shoot a second round 63, ending with a three-putt bogey.

Twenty year old Rory McIlroy, now established as a star of the world game in only his second full season as a professional, plays at 1.31pm alongside American Ryder Cup player Anthony Kim and double US Open Champion Retief Goosen.

They are immediately behind Colin Montgomerie, Korean KJ Choi (halfway leader a year ago) and 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson.

Tom Watson, 1977 winner of the famous 'Duel in the Sun' against Jack Nicklaus on the course and now only two months from his 60th birthday, plays with somebody young enough to be his grandson.

That is Italian Matteo Manassero, who became the youngest-ever winner of the British Amateur title last month at just 16 and is the youngest player in The Open for over 130 years, aged 16 and 88 days

As if that was not enough, the player joining them is Sergio Garcia, loser of a play-off to Harrington two years ago and runner-up to him again in last August's US PGA Championship.

The last group of Australian Terry Pilkadaris, English qualifier Steve Surry, from Trowbridge, and Japan's Koumei Oda do not get onto the course until 4.21pm.

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