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The Open

17th July 2006

The British Open is the most compelling of the four men's majors. Here are a few things that might whet your appetite for this week's championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

For starters, it's not even proper to call the championship the British Open -- it's the Open Championship. It's not the championship of Britain. It's not the championship of any place, anywhere. It's simply open to all who qualify. That's also true of the U.S. Open, but it's clearly the championship of the United States. Not the Open. It's the Open.

The Open is also the oldest of the majors, so it has more than a little history going for it. The Open started in 1860. Who knew that Old Tom Morris, who won in 1861-62, 1864 and 1867, had an older brother, George, who laid out the first course at Royal Liverpool, in 1869?

There's so much to learn and so much to anticipate when the Open is imminent.

Royal Liverpool, which most people call Hoylake, a town across the River Mersey from the city of Liverpool, hasn't been host of an Open since 1967. That was won by Roberto De Vicenzo. Within a year, the dignified Argentine signed for a four on the 17th hole in the final round of the Masters rather than the birdie three he'd made. The score stood, and De Vicenzo missed a playoff with Bob Goalby, who was declared the winner.

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