Colin Montgomerie will be almost a ceremonial starter for the 145th Open at his home club of Royal Troon when he hits the first tee shot on Thursday.
The Scot, who came through final qualifying at Glasgow Gailes just two weeks ago to play in his 22nd Open, has “the great honour” of opening the championship at 6.30 am, in partnership with England’s Luke Donald and Marc Leishman, who was one of two players beaten in the sudden death play-off by Zach Johnson last year.
Monty knows this will be his last Open at the club where his father was secretary and “possibly my last ever”. He said had been sounded out about hitting the first shot before yesterday’s revelation of the championship draw.
Championship favourite Dustin Johnson, fresh from his US Open-WGC Bridgestone double, is the only one of golf’s so-called “Big Four” to have a late tee-time on Thursday, at 2.04 pm with Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Scotland’s No 1 Russell Knox.
Defending champion Zach Johnson is out in the next group, at 2.15, with Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.
Rory McIlroy, the 2014 champion, plays at 9.36 am with Bubba Watson and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama. World No 1 Jason Day is at 9.25 with Masters champion Danny Willet and Rickie Fowler.
World No 3 Jordan Spieth is the first of the big guns out at 9.03 am, with Justin Rose and Ireland’s Shane Lowry.