TURNBERRY // Padraig Harrington will launch his bid for a rare British Open hat-trick in the company of the American Jim Furyk and the Australian Geoff Ogilvy at Turnberry's Ailsa Course on Thursday. Harrington, who won the Claret Jug for the first time at Carnoustie in 2007 before making a successful defence at Royal Birkdake last year, is scheduled to tee off at 2.20pm (5.20pm UAE). The Irishman, 37, is seeking to become the first golfer to win a hat-trick of Open titles since Australian Peter Thomson achieved the feat with a run of three successive victories from 1954-56.
The biggest galleries of the week are likely to follow the world No 1 Tiger Woods, who will play the first two rounds with Britain's Lee Westwood and the Japanese teen sensation Ryo Ishikawa. Woods, in pursuit of a 15th major crown this week, is set to start his bid for a fourth British Open title at 9.09am on Thursday. Although the American always attracts a huge following wherever he plays along with hordes of photographers, the 17-year-old Ishikawa is also a big draw as one of Japan's biggest sporting celebrities.
US Masters champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina has been grouped with British world No 3 Paul Casey and Japan's Ryuji Imada. The trio will tee off at 2.09pm in the opening round. Spanish world No 5 Sergio Garcia will play with the eight-time major winner Tom Watson and the British amateur champion Matteo Manassero of Italy while the Australian Greg Norman, who won the 1986 British Open at Turnberry, has been drawn with the American Kenny Perry and Britain's Oliver Wilson.
Other notable threesomes include 2002 champion Ernie Els, US Open winner Lucas Glover and Germany's in-form Martin Kaymer; and young guns Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and American Anthony Kim, who will play in the company of double US Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa. Britain's Paul Broadhurst, a six-times winner on the European Tour, is scheduled to hit the first shot of the 138th Open championship at 6.30am. .
Turnberry, which is located on the south-west coast of Scotland, is hosting the British Open for the fourth time. * Reuters