The Open 2019: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy tee times announced


PORTRUSH: Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke will hit the opening tee shot at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, with Rory McIlroy among the early starters. Clarke, who won the 2011 Open and has a house overlooking the course, gets play under way at 06:35 BST on Thursday. McIlroy, who set the course record of 61 at Portrush aged 16, starts his quest to win a second Open. Three-time champion Tiger Woods, who won his 15th major at the Masters in April, is out.

Woods will play with his Ryder Cup team-mate Patrick Reed and England’s Matt Wallace.

Portrush native Graeme McDowell is off and will be playing with 2016 winner Henrik Stenson and American Xander Schauffele, who finished joint second at Carnoustie last year. World number one Brooks Koepka, who won the US PGA Championship in May and finished second at both the Masters and US Open this year, is out.

Clarke said he did not hesitate to accept his early tee time when asked by R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers three weeks ago. It’s Royal Portrush, it’s the first time it has been here for 68 years and I gladly accepted, Clarke said. Sometimes it can also be a good draw teeing off so early.

Asked if he will have tears in his eyes on Thursday morning, Clarke added, no. I will just be proud that we have the Open back here in Northern Ireland. It’s a huge thing to have it back here and it’s going to be an amazing tournament. US player Brian Harman has replaced fellow American Charles Howell III in the field which leaves former world number one Martin Kaymer now occupying the top place on the reserve list.

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