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Open Golf 2008 Royal Birkdale

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Guest Baabaa Productions

Hi all. The Open Golf Championship for 2008 is being held about 20 miles away from me at Southport this week. Here are some facts for youi. Enjoy.




Event: 137th British Open golf championship


Dates: July 17-20


Site: Royal Birkdale


The course: It did not host the British Open until 1954, but since then, only St. Andrews has been used more. The club was founded in 1889, and the current layout was designed in 1922 by Fred Hawtree with help from J.H. Taylor. In an era of playing through sand dunes that led to blind shots, the approach at Birkdale was to route the layout through valleys between the dunes. This allowed for flatter fairways, giving it the reputation as among the most fair of links courses.


Length: 7,173 yards


Par: 34-36-70


Playoff format: Four holes, Nos. 15-18, stroke play.


Purse: 4.2 million pounds ($8.236 million).


Winner's share: 750,000 pounds ($1.487 million).


Defending champion: Padraig Harrington.


Last year: Harrington ended Europe's eight-year drought without a major by closing with a 67 at Carnoustie to make up a six-shot deficit against Sergio Garcia and defeat the Spaniard in a playoff. Harrington twice hit into Barry Burn on the 18th and made a 6-foot putt for double bogey. Garcia bogeyed the last hole to fall into a playoff, and Harrington seized control with a birdie on the first hole. He became the first Irishman to win a major since Fred Daly in 1947.


Last time at Royal Birkdale: Mark O'Meara closed with a 68 and defeated Brian Watts in a four-hole playoff in 1998. Tiger Woods birdied three of his last four holes to finish one shot out of a playoff. Justin Rose, a 17-year-old amateur, tied for fourth.


Open champions at Royal Birkdale: Peter Thomson (1954, 1965), Arnold Palmer (1961), Lee Trevino (1971), Johnny Miller (1976), Tom Watson (1983), Ian Baker-Finch (1991), Mark O'Meara (1998).


Key statistic: Because of the exchange rate, the major that once had the smallest purse now has the largest.


Noteworthy: This is the first British Open without Tiger Woods since Turnberry in 1994.

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