The third major of the golf season will begin on Thursday from England, as the world's best will try to conquer the always tricky Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club for the 2012 British Open Championship.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota who grew up in the area, Champions Tour member Tom Lehman will represent the great state of Minnesota in jam-packed field at the 141st installment. Lehman narrowly missed out on a U.S. Senior Open victory over the weekend at Michigan's Indianwood Golf and Country Club, but should benefit from having won the 1996 British title at Royal Lytham & St. Annes more than 15 years ago.
Also hoping to make noise at this year's tournament will be a few popular overseas names, including 2011 winner Darren Clarke as he aims for a repeat performance. Clarke and fellow Scottish players Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are once again expected to be among the competitors on the par-70 course in the harsh British Open conditions this year.
The polarizing Tiger Woods will also make the trek overseas for the week, but was not exactly enamored with the test at hand after his Sunday practice round. Woods told The Telegraph's James Corrigan that this year's rough is quite literally a mess, and probably the worst he's ever seen:
“Oh my God,” said Woods, when asked about the penalty for errant driving. “It’s just that you can’t get out of it. The bottom six inches is so lush. The wispy stuff, we’ve always faced that at every Open. But that bottom six inches; in some places it's almost unplayable."
While the former No. 1 likely isn't the first or the last to complain about the conditions this week, Woods certainly isn't in the same place to criticize that he once was as the game's lone elite player. Because with heavy rain and wind expected as usual for the week, it's quite apparent that the entire field will be facing the same disadvantage.