A brief overview of the 149th edition of the British Open

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SANDWICH, England (AP)A brief look at the British Open, which starts Thursday:

Site: Royal St. George’s.

Yardage: 7,189. Par: 70.

Field: 156 players.

Playoff (if necessary): Aggregate score over holes 16, 17 and 18, and then 18 if the score remains tied.

Prize money: $11.5 million. Winner’s share: $2,070,000.

Defending champion: Shane Lowry.

Last year: The British Open was canceled for the first time since World War II because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last time: Shane Lowry of Ireland captured his first major at Royal Portrush in the first British Open in Northern Ireland in 68 years. He closed with a 1-over 72 for a six-shot victory over Tommy Fleetwood.

Last time at Royal St. George’s: Darren Clarke closed with an even-par 70 for a three-shot victory over Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in 2011.

British Open champions at Royal St. George’s: J.H. Taylor (1894), Harry Vardon (1899, 1911), Jack White (1904), Walter Hagen (1922, 1928), Henry Cotton (1934), Reg Whitcombe (1938), Bobby Locke (1949), Bill Rogers (1981), Sandy Lyle (1985), Greg Norman (1993), Ben Curtis (2003), Darren Clarke (2011).

Withdrawals: Sixteen players withdrew in the three weeks leading up to the British Open. The WDs of Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson were related to COVID-19. For Sungjae Im, Siwoo Kim and Juvic Pagunsan, it was Olympic-related.

Key statistic: Ten different players have won the last 10 majors.

Noteworthy: Major champions this year have come from Asia (Hideki Matsuyama), North America (Phil Mickelson) and Europe (Jon Rahm). Dating to the creation of the Masters in 1934, the four majors have never been won by players from four continents in the same year.

Quoteworthy: ”Links golf is even more of a lottery than your week-in, week-out golf. You can’t kind of over-analyze it, I don’t think.” – Lee Westwood.

Key pairings Thursday (all times GMT): 8:58 a.m. – Shane Lowry, Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen; 2:21 p.m. – Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Cameron Smith.

U.S. television (all times EDT): Thursday-Friday, 1:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, 2:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. (Golf Channel), 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. (NBC).

UK television (all times GMT): Thursday-Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Sky Sports); Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sky Sports); Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sky Sports).

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