Jul 14, 2022 - Sports

The 150th Open Championship tees off

St. Andrews Old Course
The first and 18th holes at St. Andrews Old Course. Photo: Tom Shaw/R&A via Getty Images

While you were sleeping, the 150th Open Championship teed off at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Why it matters: Amid one of the wildest summers in golf history, the sport's most important course is hosting its oldest tournament. To add to the stakes: This could be Tiger Woods' last, best shot to win another major.

"This does feel like the biggest Open Championship we've ever had."

— Woods

The course: The Old Course, overflowing with history, is widely considered to be the spiritual "Home of Golf." It sits just outside of town next to the oldest university in Scotland. The course has no trees or water (but plenty of bunkers), and 14 of its holes share seven greens.

  • "What surprised me most is all the space off the tee where you're trying to play into other fairways or just weird stuff like that," said world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, a St. Andrews rookie, per WashPost.
  • "If you're going to be a player that's going to be remembered, you must win at St. Andrews," said Jack Nicklaus, who won here in 1970 and 1978. Woods has two wins here as well, in 2000 and 2005.
  • Wild stat: When the first Open Championship at St. Andrews was played (1873), the American Civil War had been over for eight years and the U.S. was comprised of just 37 states (h/t Kyle Porter).
Bunkers at the Old Course in St. Andrews
Beware of the bunkers. A general view of the second shot on the par 4, 16th hole. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

The backdrop: While the charm of the Old Course has commanded plenty of attention this week, so has LIV Golf — the Saudi-backed tour that ignited a war that has drawn the attention of the Justice Department.

  • Woods blasted LIV defectors during a press conference on Tuesday and LIV frontman Greg Norman wasn't invited to this year's dinner of champions.
  • LIV players like Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Sergio García and Patrick Reed are in the field this week, but The Open has warned that they could be banned in the future.

The bottom line: As golf wages war over its future, the sport will spend a weekend revisiting its past.

🎥 Watch: Hole-by-hole guide (YouTube)

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