GULLANE, SCOTLAND (AP) - Ten things to know about the British Open, to be played July 18-21 at Muirfield. The course has hosted the tournament 15 times before, from 1892 to 2002:
THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL
Muirfield is considered the purest of the links course in the British Open rotation. Blind shots are rare. Nothing is hidden. The course forms two loops, with the front nine running clockwise around the perimeter, and an inner loop for the back nine that goes counterclockwise. This means golfers face wind from all directions.
ROLL CALL OF CHAMPIONS
No other course that has hosted the British Open for a century features such a world-class list of champions. Every winner after World War II is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. This will be the 16th Open at Muirfield. All but two champions _ Alfred Perry in 1935 and Ted Ray in 1912 _ are in the Hall of Fame.
THE BIG EASY
For the first time since 1994, the defending champion is also the last player to win on the golf course. Ernie Els won last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, and he won his first Open at Muirfield in 2002. In 1994 at Turnberry, the defending champion was Greg Norman, who had won his first Open on the Ailsa links.
TIGER’S MAJOR DROUGHT
A major seems to be the one tournament Tiger Woods can’t win these days. He is 0-for-16 in the majors since winning his 14th at the 2008 U.S. Open. In the British Open, Woods has only one top 10 in his last four appearances.
MEN ONLY, BRITISH STYLE