Sport The Open: High-scoring history at Birkdale and the best Opta facts

14:01  17 july  2017
14:01  17 july  2017 Source:

The Open Social Diary: Defending champion Stenson arrives in style

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The Claret Jug - cropped: The Claret Jug on display at Royal Birkdale © Provided by Omnisport The Claret Jug on display at Royal Birkdale

The 146th Open Championship takes place this week at Royal Birkdale.

Ahead of Thursday's opening round in golf's oldest major, we take a look at the best facts relating to the event with help from our friends at Opta.

- Royal Birkdale is hosting The Open for the 10th time, the fourth-highest tally for an English course after Royal St George's (14), Hoylake (12) and Royal Lytham & St Annes (11).

- Nick Faldo was the last English player to win The Open, that victory coming 25 years ago at Muirfield. The last English player to lift the Claret Jug on English soil was Tony Jacklin, 48 years ago at Lytham.

Rose aims to bring things full circle with Birkdale Open triumph

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- Padraig Harrington was the last player to win The Open at Birkdale, triumphing by four shots in 2008. Harrington is also the last golfer to win back-to-back Opens, having also claimed the Claret Jug in 2007. However, since his 2008 triumph at Birkdale, the Irishman has not finished higher than 20th in the tournament.

- Neither of the last two Opens at Birkdale have been won with an under-par score. Mark O'Meara won with an even-par aggregate in 1998, prior to Harrington's three-over total proving enough nine years ago. There has only been one other Open in the last 30 years (the 1999 Championship at Carnoustie) where no player broke par for the tournament.

- Harry Vardon holds the record for most wins at The Open (6), ahead of James Braid, John Henry Taylor, Peter Thomson and Tom Watson (all 5).

WATCH: Backstage at Birkdale

  WATCH: Backstage at Birkdale James Haddock takes us behind to scenes at Royal Birkdale to see what goes on away from the course at The 146th Open. There is everything from a Swing Zone where free coaching sessions are given by PGA pros to enthusiastic youngsters to a links golf challenge, where anyone can test their skills on replica mini courses from Open venues.Also at Birkdale there's the chance to step into the past and dress like golfers in eras gone by, while also reliving some great moments of the legend himself in the Arnold Palmer Experience.

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- Rory McIlroy - the 2014 Open champion - has four major victories. Among current active golfers, only Tiger Woods (14), Phil Mickelson (5) and Ernie Els (4) can boast as many or more major wins.

- In June, Brooks Koepka became the seventh consecutive first-time major winner, a run that began in August 2015 with Jason Day's US PGA Championship triumph at Whistling Straits.

- Jordan Spieth has finished outside the top 10 in each of his last five majors, that run coming after five consecutive majors in which he had never finished worse than tied fourth.

- Day's missed cut at last month's U.S. Open saw him fail to make the weekend in a major for the first time since the 2012 US PGA. However, the Australian has only one top-20 finish in six Open appearances.

- In his last three majors, world number one Dustin Johnson has missed two cuts and failed to tee it up because of injury at the Masters. He had racked up seven top-10s in his previous nine majors.

- Adam Scott has made the top 10 in four of the last five Opens (2nd in 2012, T-3rd in 2013, T-5th in 2014, T-10th in 2015).

Radar's key holes - part 1 .
Wayne Riley walks through holes five, six, seven, eight and nine at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club ahead of The Open. Radar shows off the pitfalls and challenges that await the best players in the world ahead of the 146th Championship on Merseyside this week.Beginning with the fifth, which he describes as: "a wonderful little risk and reward par four", he shows us where the Claret Jug could be won and lost over the course of the next few days.Riley then shows in great detail the next four holes before the turn at Royal Birkdale, where there will be very little margin for error for those looking to contend.

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