Eleven Australians are teeing up in the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and all of them will be hoping the Golfing Gods smile on them with good weather on the first afternoon of the event.
The entire Aussie contingent is featured in the second half of the draw and will be on course throughout Thursday afternoon. As can happen at The Open, players on a certain side of the draw can be more affected by the fickle nature of the British weather and can be put at a distinct disadvantage.
Last year, Thursday morning players had stronger winds than the afternoon wave. In 2015, it was the opposite with afternoon players copping the strongest of the winds.
The weather forecast for the first round suggests sunny conditions will make way for some cloud in the afternoon and a slight chance of showers with winds gusting up to 25 miles per hour.
Aussie hopeful Marc Leishman says he doesn’t mind if it blows hard, as long as it’s windy for the entire field.
“I enjoy playing in the wind. But the thing you want is to not have half of the guys out of the tournament after two rounds,” Leishman said.
“Obviously you’d like to be on the good side of that but you don’t want to see anyone, guys who have working towards this their whole lives, get a bad side of the draw and get kicked straight out of the tournament.
“As long as it’s fair for everyone, if it’s windy, I hope it’s windy all day. You never want to see anyone’s chances blown away because of the draw.”
Queensland’s Cameron Smith is also hoping the wind blows this week.
“If the wind blows it will help,” he said. “I can control my ball around here and it will bring the short game into play.”
South Australian left-hander Adam Bland will be the first Aussie in action, heading out at 11.58am (local time) alongside 1995 Open Champion John Daly and Australian Amateur Champion, Connor Syme, from Scotland.
The opening tee shot of The Open will be struck by 1998 Champion Mark O’Meara.
The American arrived at Royal Birkdale that year as the Masters Champion and, at the age of 41, he added the Open to his resume, winning the Claret Jug in a four-hole play-off over compatriot Brian Watts.
O’Meara, playing in his last Open Championship, will lead the field out at 6.35am local time.
AUSTRALIAN PLAYER 1ST ROUND TEE TIMES*
8.58pm John Daly (US) Adam Bland (SA) Connor Syme (Scot,a)
9.09pm Matt Griffin (Vic) Austin Connelly (Can) Matthew Southgate (Eng)
9.20pm Cam Smith (Qld) Bill Haas (US) Callum Shinkwin (Eng)
9.53pm Tyrell Hatton (Eng) Martin Kaymer (Ger) Aaron Baddeley (Vic)
10.04pm Zach Johnson (US) Jason Day (Qld) Sergio Garcia (Esp)
10.26pm Rickie Fowler (US) Adam Scott (Qld) Paul Casey (Eng)
12.10am (Fri) Phil Mickelson (US) Francesco Molinari (Ita) Marc Leishman (Vic)
12.21am Scott Hend (Qld) Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) Bubba Watson (US)
12.43am Giwhan Kim (S.Kor) Xander Schauffele (US) Andrew Dodt (Qld)
1.05am Jbe Kruger (RSA) Nick McCarthy (Eng) Ashley Hall (Vic)
1.16am Ryan McCarthy (Tas) Laurie Canter (Eng) Sebastian Munoz (Col)
*All times listed are Australian Eastern Standard Time