Tommy Fleetwood doesn't have to sneak onto Royal Birkdale anymore

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When The Open Championship was last played at Royal Birkdale in 2008, Padraig Harrington's winning score was +3 for the tournament. In 2008, he started the week with an injury and ended it with a four-shot victory over Ian Poulter to become Europe's first back-to-back British Open champion in more than a century.

This brute of a hole will be enjoyable for those who like to see the world's finest players working hard for their pars.

"The weather has been a bit like that when I was preparing, I've been getting to the course everyday and it's not been windy, it has been nice to practice in though, I've got a lot done".

Who that might be, no-one knows and only time will tell. He is coming off a win in the Travelers Championship, his second win in 2017.

Scott then tied for third at Muirfield a year later, was joint fifth at Hoylake in 2014 and at St. Andrews in 2015 held the lead before dropping five strokes in the final five holes and falling to 10th.

"Most of the time", said Spieth, "there's at least a group that gets the worst weather".

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"The Open Championship is incorrect". Being Open champion and everything that goes with it - media commitments, sponsorship demands, photos with fans - can take its toll on a player.

He called Birkdale "probably one of the best" courses in the Open rotation. If it was important enough for Arnie, then they had to join him. It is perhaps your place of birth that dictates whether this is the game's biggest prize or not, but one thing that's for sure is that all involved will be desperate to get their hands on the Claret Jug.

"I love links golf, " he said. "I think Royal Birkdale is one of my favourite courses, especially my favourite links, because we deem it a little fairer, the fairways are a little flatter but the sand dunes are fantastic and very demanding". "So much imagination that goes into it. So nothing you can do about that other than keep your head down and play as well as you can". And if you get that part done, into the greens and on the greens, you can play kind of to the centre of them and putt to the corners. It's not just a stock shot like it is in America. "I don't think he would have been someone that you would put there if you were about to name four guys". He had a big stretch at the end of the year with two majors, a World Golf Championship, the four FedEx Cup playoff events and the Presidents Cup, so he wanted to be fresh. "I'm refreshed", he said.

"I've been on the fringe of contention a couple of times without following through".

Koepka was the last of seven first-time winners of majors, preceded at the Masters by Sergio Garcia, who triumphantly wore his green jacket in the Royal Box at Wimbledon a week and a half ago.

Of course, not too much should be written into just one round such as those, as things will nearly certainly be different at Royal Birkdale.

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