The Open Championship returns to Royal Lytham & St Annes for the 141st edition of golf’s most coveted Major championship.
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke will return to defend the famous Claret Jug he won admist emotional scenes at Royal St George’s last year.
You can follow all the drama and excitement of the 2012 installment as it unfolds with all four days of the tournament exclusively live on BBC TV, HD, radio, red button, mobile and online (July 19-22).
This is the first time the championship has been held on the challenging Lancashire links course since 2001 when David Duval was crowned champion.
As ever the world’s top players, along with thousands of golf fans, will descend on Royal Lytham & St Anne’s for the third Major championship of the year.
Last year’s Open Championship was a memorable occasion for British fans with Darren Clarke (above) securing his first Major title at the 54th time of asking.
It was a popular victory among the golfing and wider sporting world, with Clarke producing a stellar performance in tricky conditons over four days at a windswept Royal St George’s, memorably fighting off the final round charges of Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickleson.
Thanks to the rather unpleasant weather that has swept across the UK during the past month, conditions for this year’s Open have the potential to be even more challenging, and could yield another unlikely major champion after the four days of play.
Home favourites Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will be hoping for better fortunes than last year, when they both failed to make the cut, while Rory McIlroy will be looking to find his very best form for his home major following a disappointing defence of his US Open title in June.
While Donald and Westwood search for their illusive first major win, Tiger Woods will be looking to recapture the form which won him three Open titles, the most recent back in 2006.
Last month at the US Open, Webb Simpson became the 15th different major winner in a row, the ninth straight first-time winner and the third consecutive American to win one of golf’s majors, showing just how difficult it is to pick a winner at the moment.
Darren Clarke was one of those maiden major winners when he lifted the Claret Jug last year, but given his indifferent form so far in 2012 he faces a tough task to retain the title.
BBC Sport is the only place to follow the 2012 Open Championship. Full details below:
Saturday 21st July – DAY 4 LIVE – 11am-12.35pm – BBC Two / BBC HD 12.35pm-7pm – BBC One / BBC One HD 10am-7pm – BBC Red Button (Incl. Holes 9-11, Live Leaderboard) LIVE LEADERBOARD – CLICK HERE 7.20am – Group 1 Martin Laird +11 (SCO) 8.55am – Group 10 Rory McIlroy +5 (NIR), Fredrik Jacobson +5 (SWE) 10.15am – Group 18 Ian Poulter +3 (ENG), Greg Owen +3 (ENG) 11.00am – Group 22 Paul Lawrie +2 (SCO), Carl Pettersson +2 (SWE) 11.40am – Group 26 Padraig Harrington +2 (IRL), Joost Luiten +2 (NED) 12.45pm – Group 32 Greg Chalmers PAR (AUS), Simon Khan PAR (ENG) 1.05pm – Group 34 Vijay Singh PAR (FIJ), Jason Dufner PAR (USA) 1.20pm – Group 35 Luke Donald -1 (ENG), Kyle Stanley -1 (USA) 1.30pm – Group 36 Dustin Johnson -1 (USA), Matt Kuchar -2 (USA) 1.40pm – Group 37 Mark Calcavecchia -2 (USA), Louis Oosthuizen -2 (RSA) 1.50pm – Group 38 Bubba Watson -2 (USA), Thomas Aiken -3 (RSA) 2.00pm – Group 39 Bill Haas -3 (USA), Thorbjorn Olesen -4 (NOR) 2.10pm – Group 40 Ernie Els -5 (RSA), Zach Johnson -5 (USA) 2.20pm – Group 41 Tiger Woods -6 (USA), Brandt Snedeker -7 (USA) 2.30pm – Group 42 Graeme McDowell -7 (NIR), Adam Scott -11 (AUS) Full list of 4th Round tee-times/groupings via theopen.com – CLICK HERE
BBC Sport will screen up to 40 hours of live TV coverage from the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Hazel Irvine will present the BBC’s coverage on BBC One and BBC Two, with high-definition coverage available on BBC One HD and BBC HD.
Expert commentary and analysis will come from the regular BBC golf team of Peter Alliss, Ken Brown, Wayne Grady and Andrew Cotter.
Six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo will join the BBC TV commentary team for the climax of the tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
The most successful golfer that Britain has ever produced, winning three Open Championships, three Masters titles and holding numerous Ryder Cup records, Faldo is now one of the world’s leading golf commentators, having been a regular for CBS’s golf coverage in the United States since 2006.
“I’m very excited to return to Lytham St Anne’s,” Faldo told BBC Sport.
“It represents many special memories for me personally. This is both the site of my first English Amateur Championship win way back in 1975 and my first Ryder Cup in 1977.
“In addition 2012 is special for me as it’s the 25th anniversary of my first Open Championship at Muirfield.”
“I look forward to working with the entire BBC team as we tell the story of what promises to be another historic Open.”
Tony Jacklin, who won the 1969 Open Championship at Royal Lytham, will also be part of the commentary team over the first couple of days.
Also new to the BBC team this year is former World number nine and Ryder Cup winner David Howell, who will join Maureen Madill and Philip Parkin for on-course commentary.
Additional reporters from around the course include Dan Walker, Russell Fuller and Frances Donovan.
BBC TV’s coverage begins on Wednesday, 18 July on BBC Two with a half-hour preview programme at 11.20pm.
There will be interviews with the big names hoping to get their hands on the Claret Jug, as well as a chance to relive some of the best moments from previous championships, plus the challenges of the Royal Lytham and St Annes course will also be examined.
Live coverage of the 2012 Open Championship begins on BBC Two and the BBC HD channel at 9am on the opening two days of the tournament, with up to 11 hours of continuous coverage.
For those who have missed any of the key moments, a selection of the day’s highlights will air during the final hour of BBC Two’s live coverage from approximately 7pm.
The live action continues over the weekend on BBC One and BBC One HD.
BBC Red Button will offer additional coverage on each day of The Open.
Freeview viewers will be able to access live video with leaderboard, while Satellite and Cable viewers will also be able to select a three-hole option where you can see play through the ninth, 10th and 11th holes only.
There will also be a daily 30-minute highlights package and live play outside of network coverage at the weekend via the Red Button.
All live coverage network TV coverage will be available on BBC iPlayer, as well as the evening highlights programme.
The award-winning BBC Radio 5 live golf team will be live at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s to bring all the action throughout the week, with more hours of live coverage than ever before.
John Inverdale will present the action from 9am on Thursday and Friday, and 11am on Saturday and Sunday.
He’ll be joined by experts Bernard Gallacher, Mark Roe, Andrew Coltart, Jay Townsend, Karen Stupples and Andrew Murray.
5 live’s golf correspondent Iain Carter heads the commentary team, which also includes John Murray, Clare Balding, Alistair Bruce-Ball, Conor McNamara and Vassos Alexander.
Mark Chapman will be out and about getting the news from behind the scenes.
In addition, Nicky Campbell will be live from the course from 6am on Thursday and Friday for 5 live Breakfast, with all the early action from the course and latest news.
5 live will also bring all the news and previews in the early part of the week including: An Audience with Jack Nicklaus (Tue 17 July, 8pm-9pm)sees Mark Chapman hosting an hour in the company of the world’s greatest golfer; and 5 live’s Open Preview show (Wed 18 July, 7pm – 9pm), hosted by Clare Balding live from Royal Lytham & St Anne’s.
The BBC Sport website will carry live streaming of the network TV feed (UK users only).
This includes extended coverage on Saturday and Sunday morning, plus dedicated hole coverage, live leaderboard, highlights, video clips of the best bits of action and interviews.
There will be an interactive live text commentary throughout, with blogs and tweets from web, TV & radio reporters, plus all the latest reports, reaction and photos with opportunities for the audience to have their say on the action.
Ahead of the event there will also be a video guide available to the Lytham course with commentator Andrew Cotter including video fly-throughs on red button and online.
Audiences on the go will also have live video accessible via the BBC Sport website on mobiles, smartphones and tablets via BBC Sport’s new interactive video player.
Wednesday 18th July The Open – Preview – 11.20pm-11.50pm – BBC Two / BBC HD Thursday 19th July Day 1 LIVE – 9pm-8pm – BBC Two / BBC HD Friday 20th July Day 2 LIVE – 9pm-8am – BBC Two / BBC HD Saturday 21st July Day 3 LIVE – 10am-12pm – BBC One / BBC One HD 12.10pm-6.10pm – BBC One / BBC One HD 6.10pm-8pm – BBC Two / BBC HD Sunday 22nd July Day 4 LIVE – 11am-12.35pm – BBC Two / BBC HD 12.35pm-7pm – BBC One / BBC One HD . Press the Red Button throughout BBC One/BBC Two’s live coverage to access leaderboards and watch extra holes & groupings . .