The Open 2012: An English player-by-player guide

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Andrew Cotter's helicopter guide to Royal Lytham

The 141ST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

Venue:
Royal Lytham & St Annes
Date:
19-22 July
Coverage:
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

Royal Lytham & St Annes will see 21 Englishmen line up for the 141st Open Championship.

Three of them - Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose - are in the world's top 10 and are strongly featured in the pre-tournament betting to become the first Englishman to win the Open in England since Tony Jacklin here way back in 1969.

The likes of Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Simon Dyson, Ross Fisher, Robert Rock and Paul Broadhurst have enjoyed good times at past Open Championships and can all be expected to figure at some point over the four days if they find their best form.

As for the rest of the English contingent, they have all played well just to qualify to get here. And they will start the week simply hoping that they can make it through to the weekend.

But the Open throws up new heroes every year. And, in this 156-man field of dreams, they will be aiming to write the next great golfing story.

Matthew Baldwin

Matt Baldwin

Has been playing since the age of three. Turned pro in 2008 and secured his tour card for the first time this year. Qualified for his first Open at Sunningdale last month and warmed up nicely by shooting opening and closing rounds of 67 at last week's Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, to finish tied for fifth - and earn his best pay day of close to £100,000. Grandfather Ronald Ryder played rugby league for Warrington and Great Britain. A Liverpool fan.

Age: 26

Born: Southport

Lives: Southport

Attached: Royal Birkdale

Exemption: European Final Qualifying

Qualified: European Final Qualifying

Open record: First Open

Baldwin told BBC Radio Merseyside: "I've not played here since I was an amateur and I remember it being very tight then. And the rough seems quite severe in places. But it's my first Open and I just hope to have an enjoyable week. It's why I play the game, for the chance to do well in the majors."

First round tee time: 06:41 BST

Warren Bennett

Playing his first Open in 10 years. Won the silver medal in his first, as an amateur at Turnberry in 1994. Highly rated as a youngster, a twisted vertebrae in 1996 proved the start of a catalogue of injury problems. Best finish on money list was 29th in 2001, but then retired from the game in February 2006 to teach, as well as becoming a caddie on the Ladies' Tour. Has also suffered debilitating hand and finger injuries but shot back-to-back 68s at Hillside to ease his way in to the field for Lytham by three clear shots.

Age: 40

Born: Ashford, Middlesex

Attached: Prince's, Kent

Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (Hillside)

Open record (4): 1994: Silver medal, 1995: T39, 1999: Missed cut, 2002: T50

Bennett told BBC Radio Kent: "It's been 10 years since I last played in the Open and it's lovely to be back in amongst it. If you play well, there's good scoring to be done but, if you're off line, then you're going to get punished. I've not been competitive for a long time but my goal, long term, is to win back my card and get out on the European Tour again. My son Tom was only one last time I played at the Open, so he's busting to see me play."

First round tee time: 10:59 BST

Paul Broadhurst

Paul Broadhurst

Still holds a joint share of the record for the lowest 18-hole score ever recorded at a major, his nine-under third round 63 at St Andrews in 1990. A bad wrist injury in Dubai in 2000 almost finished his career, but he bounced back well, winning the Portuguese Open in both 2005 and 2006 to take his number of tournament wins on the European Tour to five. Shot a second round 67 in Local Final Qualifying to win by two clear shots on seven-under. Supports Leeds United and Atherstone.

Age: 46

Born: Walsall

Lives: Atherstone

Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (St Anne's Old Links)

Open record (14): 1988: Silver medal, 1989: Missed cut, 1990: T12, 1991: T17, 1992: Missed cut, 1993: T33, 1994: Missed cut, 1995: T56, 1996: T26, 1997: Missed cut, 2004: T60, 2006: T26, 2007: T12, 2009: T60

First round tee time: 12:37 BST

Broadhurst told BBC Radio WM: "I came up for a practice round on Friday and got soaked. It's tough, but it's a great golf course. You have to plot your way round, keep out of the rough and the bunkers. I've got good memories of this place. I had the pleasure of sharing the same podium with Seve [Ballesteros] when I won the Silver Medal in 1988 as the leading amateur. And I also won the Lytham Trophy earlier that year. And, in 1996, I shot a 65 and was leading after the first round."

Paul Casey

Paul Casey

Enjoyed his best Open at St Andrews two years ago when he tied for third - a second top-10 finish in three years. And he has not missed an Open cut since 2005. But the three-times Ryder Cup player suffered a disappointing end to 2010 when he was left out of Colin Montgomerie's victorious European team at Celtic Manor and has since suffered ill luck with injury (capped by a snowboarding accident last winter).

Age: 34

Born: Cheltenham

Lives: Surrey/Arizona

World ranking: 77

Exemption: Top 30 in European money list, 2011

Open record (10): 2002: Missed cut, 2003: Missed cut, 2004: T20, 2005: Missed cut, 2006: 71, 2007: T27, 2008: T7, 2009: T47, 2010: T3, 2011: T54

First round tee time: 12:59 BST

Luke Donald

The world number one, Donald has had six Top 10 finishes in majors, but his tie for fourth at the Masters in April 2011 was arguably his best performance. A tie for fifth after a final round 67 at Turnberry in 2009 was his best at an Open.

Age: 34

Born: Hemel Hempstead, Herts

Club: Beaconsfield, Bucks

Lives: High Wycombe/Chicago

World ranking: 1

Exemption: Top 30 in European money list, 2011

Open record (11): 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

Donald told BBC Sport: "It's tough to follow what was probably my best year last year. But I've had a lot of positives, winning back-to-back tournaments at Wentworth and having won in the US. But I had a disappointing US Open. I didn't perform very well there. You do feel a little bit claustrophobic on a lot of the holes here and I'm not sure it favours the longer hitter. At some Open Championship courses, you have bunkers at 280 yards and past that you're OK. But here they seem to be continually going along the holes. And I like the fact that it favours the guy who can hit it in the fairway."

First round tee time: 14:43 BST

Simon Dyson

Simon Dyson

Enjoyed comfortably his best Open at Sandwich a year ago, a first-round 68 putting him on the road to a tie for ninth. Grandfather was a jockey, father is a bookie, he was on York City's books as a youngster and his Uncle Terry played a key part in Tottenham Hotspur's famous double-winning side of 1961. Has enjoyed six victories on the European Tour, two of them coming in 2011, the Irish Open at Killarney, followed by the KLM Dutch Open at Hilversum. Leading Englishman at last year's Open at Sandwich.

Age: 34

Born: York

Lives: Bowden, Cheshire

World ranking: 48

Exemption: First 10 in 2011 Open

Qualified: Exempt

Open record (8): 2000: Missed cut, 2001: Missed cut, 2004: Missed cut, 2005: T34, 2006: T48, 2008: Missed cut, 2010: T48, 2011: T9

First round tee time: 13:21 BST

Dyson told BBC Radio York: "This was Seve's course. He was fantastic round here. There's a lot of bunkers. And, if you miss them, then you've got the rough to contend with. It's that tough it reminds me of Carnoustie in 1999 when I went up there to caddie for Luke Donald as his brother was ill. You need a bit of luck out there. Anybody who's going to contend needs that."

Richard Finch

Shot back-to-back rounds of 67 at Sunningdale to qualify for only his third appearance at an Open. Won two events in 2008 - the New Zealand Open and the Irish Open, to earn him third place on the European Tour money list. Claimed runners-up spot twice in 2010, but has featured strongly only once this year, when he came third at the China Open at Binhai Lake in April.

Age: 35

Born: Hull

Lives: Manchester

Exemption: European Final Qualifying

Open record (2): 2008: T58, 2009: Missed cut

First round tee time: 13:10 BST

Ross Fisher

Ross Fisher

Best remembered for his Open experience at Turnberry in 2009 when he began the last day in the final pairing, with his expectant wife back home in Surrey well-overdue to deliver their first child. Eventually tied for 13th - one of three consecutive top 50 Open finishes. Has enjoyed five top 10 finishes on the European Tour in 2012, four of them in consecutive tournaments leading up to last week's Scottish Open. Playing in his sixth consecutive Open. Made his debut at Carnoustie in 2007.

Age: 31

Born: Ascot

Lives: Cheam

World ranking: 119

Exemption: European Final Qualifying (Sunningdale)

Open record (5): 2007: Missed cut, 2008: T39, 2009: T13, 2010: T37, 2011: Missed cut

First round tee time: 13:32 BST

Fisher told BBC Surrey: "It's tough but fair out there, but, as with any Open, it rewards good shots. I had a good effort in 2009 and could have done better, given that I was in the lead after four holes of the final round. And I just want to get give myself a chance come Sunday afternoon, when there'll be a lot of support out there, for the English boys especially."

Ian Keenan

Booked a place at his first Open in a three-man play-off at Southport & Ainsdale after rounds of 70-68. Had been trying to qualify for the Open since his first attempt in 1997. Was a couple of shots shy of qualifying for his home Open at Hoylake in 2006, one shot out of a play-off in 2003 at St Georges, and not far away at Monifieth in 2010. Has played the Challenge Tour the last two years. An Everton fan.

Age: 36

Born: Birkenhead

Lives: Hoylake

Attached: Royal Liverpool

Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (Southport & Ainsdale)

Open record: First Open

Keenan told BBC Radio Merseyside: "It's a question of keeping it out of the bunkers and the rough. If you can do that, it's scoreable. At Hoylake, there's a premium on straight driving and the same applies here. I've not played the course in 10 years, and it has changed a bit, but I know it well enough to feel fairly comfortable round here. I've had to pinch myself a few times, first when the Mercedes came to pick me up for my practice round, then playing with Miguel Angel Jimenez. I'm sure it's a week I'm not going to forget, but I don't want to it be just 'I played in the Open'. If I play like I did in qualifying, I see no reason why I can't get my name on one of those yellow leaderboards."

First round tee time: 15:49 BST

Simon Khan

Gave his career a new lease of life when, on a sponsors' invite, he won the PGA at Wentworth in 2010 to earn his Tour card for the next five years. Inspired to take up the game as a 12-year-old after watching the late Seve Ballesteros win the Claret Jug in 1984 at St Andrews, where Khan has played in three of his six Opens. Has only missed the cut once, in his very first Open, proving a model of consistency over his last five appearances.

Age: 40

Born: Epping

Lives: Epping

Exemption: Final year of three-year exemption for winning 2010 PGA Championship

Open record (6): 2000: Missed cut, 2005: T41, 2006: T31, 2008: T39, 2010: T55, 2011: T38

First round tee time: 07:36 BST

Barry Lane

Barry Lane

Playing in his 15th Open Championship, 25 years on from his first at Muirfield in 1987. Has enjoyed four top 20 finishes, his best being 13th at Muirfield in 2003. Now performing on European Senior Tour. Fired rounds of 68-70 in Local Final Qualifying to come through by just a shot. Will strike the first ball of the 141st Open.

Age: 52

Born: Hayes, Middlesex

Lives: Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (St Anne's Old Links)

Open record (14): 1987: Missed cut, 1988: Missed cut, 1989: Missed cut, 1991: T17, 1992: T51, 1993: T13, 1994: Missed cut, 1995: T20, 1996: Missed cut, 1998: Missed cut, 2001: T29, 2002: T50, 2004: T14, 2006: Missed cut

First round tee time: 06:30 BST

James Morrison

Shot rounds of 63 and 68 to breeze through European Final Qualifying at Sunningdale last month. As a schoolboy, played in the same England team as Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan, but chose career in golf instead of cricket. Turned pro in 2006, winning his first tour event at the 2010 Madeira Open.

Age: 27

Born: Chertsey, Surrey

Lives: Weybridge, Surrey

Qualified: European Final Qualifying (Sunningdale)

Exemption: European Final Qualifying

Open record: First Open

First round tee time: 10:26 BST

Greg Owen

Now based in Florida, came through US Final Qualifying, shooting rounds of 66 and 61 at Gleneagles, Dallas. Was ranked as Nottinghamshire's number one tennis player at the age of 13, but opted for a career in golf instead, turning pro in 1992. Won his only European tour title at the British Masters in 2003.

Age: 40

Born: Mansfield

Lives: Windermere, Florida

Attached: Coxmoor, Notts

Exemption: US Final Qualifying

Open record (6): 1999: Missed cut, 2000: T55, 2001: T23, 2002: Missed cut, 2003: Missed cut, 2006: T22

Owen told BBC Radio Nottingham: "The weather's not great but it's good to be back in England to see a few old faces. And I'm looking forward to it as I've had a decent year so far. The weather is always an issue at any Open. And some cope better than others. I have wonderful memories here. I got an albatross here at the 11th in 2001. My last Open at Hoylake five years ago was completely different weather. It was very bare and very hot. This is very green and lush. The Open is about keeping it on the fairway."

First round tee time: 12:04 BST

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter

Looked set to claim his first major at Royal Birkdale in 2008, but got overtaken by a stunning finish from defending champion Padraig Harrington, who eventually beat him into second by four shots. Has not featured strongly since, having missed the cut twice in the last three years, but can always be guaranteed to catch the eye, and not only for his colourful dress sense.

Age: 36

Born: Hitchin

Attached: Woburn

Lives: Milton Keynes/Orlando

World ranking: 28

Exemption: Top 30 in European money list, 2011

Open record (11): 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

First round tee time: 08:58 BST

Robert Rock

Robert Rock

After expecting to miss the cut at St Andrews in 2010, scraped into the weekend to set up his first Top 10 Open finish thanks to a final round 69. Enjoyed his first Tour win in the 20111 Italian Open and made a colourful first trip to last year's US Open at Congressional when visa problems delayed his arrival and left him playing the course blind and jet lagged. But his win over Tiger Woods this year in Abu Dhabi really put him on the map and has left him a potential challenger for this year's Ryder Cup.

Age: 35

Born: Rugeley

Attached: The Belfry

Lives: Western, Staffordshire

Attached: The Belfry

World ranking: 60

Exemption: Top 3 in European money list (after BMW), 2012

Open record (5): 2005: T67, 2006: T16, 2009: Missed cut, 2010: T7, 2011: T38

First round tee time: 07:58 BST

Justin Rose

Justin Rose

Still best remembered for his approach shot to 18 in 1998 when, as an amateur, he finished tied for fourth behind Mark O'Meara, but he has had just two top five finishes at majors since - and that week at Royal Birkdale remains his best performance at an Open Championship. Now a consistent performer on the US tour, on which he has had five Top 10 finishes this year, capped by victory at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral in March.

Age: 31

Born: Johannesburg

Club: Hartley Wintney, Hampshire

Lives: London/Orlando

World ranking: 9

Exemption: Top 30 in US money list, 2011

Open record (10): 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

First round tee time: 09:42 BST

Lee Slattery

Has missed the cut eight times in 15 events this season, but qualified for Lytham, where he played a lot as an amateur, with rounds of 67-68 at Sunningdale last month. Showed what he is capable of when he earned his first European Tour victory in the Madrid Masters at Alcala de Henares last September, winning from the front after taking the lead with a second round 66. Did well at his only previous Open, also on local spoil at Hoylake in 2006, on the back of a first round 69.

Age: 33

Born: Southport

Lives: Southport

Attached: Formby Hall

Qualified: European Final Qualifying (Sunningdale)

Open record: 2006: T26

Lee Slattery told Radio Merseyside: "Being a British golfer playing in the Open, there's no better feeling. I was tired coming back from Inverness on Sunday but, as soon as I drove through the gates, I felt excited. I used to get lessons here from the pro, Eddie Birchenough and I know the course well. As long as you can get it out of the rough, it's less penalising than the bunkers. If you get in the sand, you're coming out sideways. It's special playing on the course where Seve Ballesteros won twice. I remember being allowed to sneak round the back when I was a kid to watch him tee off at the first one year. He was always my hero growing up, he had that great charisma about him that maybe only Arnold Palmer had and I'm sure this week will be all about him."

First round tee time: 11:53 BST

Steven Tiley

Steven Tiley

Missed the cut at his first Open at Royal Troon in 2004. Attended Georgia State University before turning pro in 2007. Featured strongly at this second Open at St Andrew's two years ago when he fired a first round 66. Shot back-to-back 69s at Hillside to come through Local Final Qualifying by a shot and book his place at Lytham.

Age: 29

Born: Canterbury

Lives: Herne Bay

Attached: Royal Cinque Ports

Exemption: Local Final Qualifying (Hillside)

Open record (2): 2004: Missed cut, 2010: T68

Tiley told BBC Radio Kent: "It's such a buzz just being here at any Open. I've not played here at Lytham before so I'm not sure exactly what to expect. But the rough can't be any worse than it is back home at Royal Cinque Ports. I've been playing ok lately, but I know it's a different level at the Open."

First round tee time: 10:48 BST

Sam Walker

Playing in his first Open, after repeated attempts to make it since 1997. Owed his fine showing in qualifying at Sunningdale, just a day after winning a challenge tour event in Scotland, to the benefits of a new fitness regime. After winning his tour card for 2007, suffered a mixed year, missing 18 out of 31 cuts but showing what he is capable of by tieing for fourth at The Belfry in the British Masters, to earn a cheque of over £70,000 - his biggest pay day to date. Cousin of fellow pro golfer Tom Whitehouse, his brother Josh used to be on Manchester United's books. Birmingham City fan.

Age: 34

Born: Birmingham

Lives: Birmingham

Attached: The Belfry

Exemption: European Final Qualifying

Open record: First Open

First round tee time: 11:10 BST

Walker told BBC Radio WM: "I played really well to qualify at Sunningdale. The fitness regime I've been on has made me feel so much stronger physically and mentally. And, coming on top of winning the Hydro Scottish Challenge, I feel I can really compete. It's what you play golf for, weeks like this. It's also special to play my first Open at the course where Seve won his first Open. I was here that day in 1979, but I was only 16 months old and I've only got my dad's word for it."

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood

Five top three finishes at majors in the past four years, but still no big prize. Fourth in the Open at Troon in 2004, third at Turnberry in 2009, second at St Andrews in 2010. And he has the patience and the game to go that one better and follow his friend and stablemate Darren Clarke's example a year ago. Missed the cut for first time in six years at Sandwich but, if he does follow Tony Jacklin's example here at Lytham in 1969 and lift the claret jug, there would be no more popular winner.

Age: 39

Born: Worksop

Lives: Worksop

World ranking: 3

Exemption: Top 30 in European money list, 2011

Open record (17): 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

First round tee time: 09:20 BST

Westwood told BBC Sport: "It's a fair golf course, one that's a lot harder than it looks, at first impression. I played a lot of Lytham Trophies as an amateur and I've played in a couple of Opens here and always enjoy it. And being in England makes it more special. Driving is one of my advantages, so I definitely want to use my driver as much as possible. But there's certainly places out there where you sort of weigh up the percentages. Conditions dictate the way you play most links courses, if the wind completely switches."

Dale Whitnell

Played in the Walker Cup in 2009 when ranked England's top amateur, after which he turned pro. Made his tour debut in Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2009, finishing 36th, but he tied for fourth there a year later - his best finish to date. Shot rounds of 68 and 67 to win Local Final Qualifying at Hillside.

Age: 23

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Whitnell relishes debut Open chance

Born: Colchester, Essex

Lives: Tiptree, Essex

Attached: Five Lakes

Qualified: Local Final Qualifying (Hillside)

Open record: First Open

Whitnell told BBC Radio Essex: "It's my first major and a great experience for me. I've dreamt of this since I was a kid, standing on the putting green telling myself that I've got a putt to win the Open. Three spots from 72 in Qualifying is tough but I played nicely at Hillside. The rain doesn't bother me that much. The tougher the weather the better for me. I've played here a few times and it's just a case of being sensible, yet aggressive at the same time. I can't wait to get started."

First round tee time: 11:10 BST

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