Sandy Lyle has been given the honour of starting his final Open Championship while Tiger Woods has an unusual late time to begin his challenge and will partner home hope Russell Knox in the first two rounds at Carnoustie.
Lyle has announced that his 43rd appearance at the championship he won in 1985 will be his last. Now 60, he reaches the last year of his automatic exemption this year. He’ll start the championship at 6.35 am on Thursday with two European Ryder Cup players, Martin Kaymer and Andy Sullivan.
Woods, who has missed the last two Opens due to injury, will need to wait until 3.21 pm on Thursday to start his campaign for a fourth Claret Jug. He plays with Knox, who won the Irish Open two weeks ago and is the leading Scot in the world rankings at 49th, and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who is comfortably the highest ranked player of the trio at 16th.
It’s a rare late start time for Woods, whose preference in the past – and during all three of his previous wins – was for an early start time on the first day.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth will have World No 3 Justin Rose and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat as partners for the first two rounds, opening his campaign at 9.58 am in the first round. That’s in a wave of marquee name groups, with Jon Rahm, Richie Fowler and Chris Wood following at 10.09 am, and Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey and Masters champion Patrick Reed at 10.20 am.
Woods, Knox and Matsuyama are in a second wave of top names later in the day on Thursday, with US Open champion Brooks Koepka (2.59 pm), Sergio Garcia (3.10 pm) out just before them.
The other three Scots in the field have also got excellent draws. Lothians pro Grant Forrest, playing in his second Open, will play with 1996 champion Tom Lehman and the highly rated South African Dylan Fritelli at 2.26 pm.
Scott Jamieson is at 9.25 am with another former Open champion, David Duval, and Kevin Na, a recent winner on the PGA Tour.
The young Scottish amateur Sam Locke, the protégé of Paul Lawrie who is sadly absent with injury, gets a poignant sort of draw for the 1999 champion – Brandt Snedeker, the man Lawrie beat in the singles during the Miracle at Medinah in 2012, along with Cameron Davis of Australia.