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Friday, December 13, 2002
ABC Sports presents the British Open presented by MasterCard
The world's No. 1-ranked golfer, Tiger Woods, seeks to win the third leg of the Grand Slam when ABC Sports presents live, exclusive coverage of the 131st British Open Golf Championship from Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland. Phil Mickelson (No. 2), Ernie Els (No. 3), Retief Goosen (No. 4) and Sergio Garcia (No. 5) will all compete, as well as five-time British Open winner Tom Watson and last year's British Open champion, David Duval.
The last time the British Open was held in Scotland, in 2000, Tiger Woods won by eight strokes. By the time Woods reached the final hole at the 129th British Open at The Old Course at St. Andrews, he had moved into a six-shot lead, virtually sealing the tournament. A round of six-under-par 66 left Woods 11-under-par for the championship. This year Tiger will face tough competition, including three-time British Open winner Nick Faldo, who was victorious the last two times the British Open was held at Muirfield.
ABC Sports coverage of the British Open presented by MasterCard begins with late-night highlights of the first two rounds on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 (12:05 a.m. ET -- i.e., Thursday and Friday nights after midnight). Live coverage continues on Saturday, July 20 (9 a.m. ET), with third round coverage, followed by third round highlights (5 p.m. ET). Final round coverage begins Sunday, July 21 (8a.m. ET), and concludes with a recap of all the action (5 p.m. ET). ESPN will air live coverage of the first two rounds on Thursday, July 18, and Friday, July 19 (8 a.m. ET).
One of the premiere sporting events of the year, The British Open will be played at Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland, for the 15th time since 1860. The British Open always commands the most experienced golfers of the world to challenge difficult courses in extreme elements of wind, rain and cold. This year Tiger Woods looks to capture the third leg of the Grand Slam. Woods is the first golfer to win the first two legs of the Grand Slam since Jack Nicklaus in 1972. Having already won the Masters and the U.S. Open, Nicklaus lost the British Open at Muirfield by one stroke to Lee Trevino. This year the golfers competing in these difficult conditions to challenge Woods will include reigning British Open champion David Duval and numerous past champions, such as Paul Lawrie (1999), Mark O'Meara (1998), Justin Leonard (1997) and John Daly (1995). Also competing with the previous champions will be many top-ranked golfers in the world, including Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and Sergio Garcia. Given the height of competition this year alone throughout the golf world, this year's British Open should be tremendous.
HISTORY ON ABC:
ABC Sports has the privilege and pleasure to bring a summertime tradition back for the 42nd consecutive year. ABC has televised the British Open Golf Championship since 1961. This year's presentation from Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland, will feature 18-hole live coverage of the championship -- the twelfth consecutive year that ABC Sports has covered all 18 holes of the British Open.
2001 - David Duval
2000 - Tiger Woods
1999 - Paul Lawrie
1998 - Mark O'Meara
1997 - Justin Leonard
1996 - Tom Lehman
1995 - John Daly
1994 - Nick Price
1993 - Greg Norman
1992 - Nick Faldo
1991 - Ian Baker-Finch
1990 - Nick Faldo
The British Open has been played 14 times at Muirfield Golf Links, starting with a victory by Harold H. Hilton in 1892 and, most recently -- and exactly one hundred years later -- by Nick Faldo in 1992. Muirfield is the home of the world's oldest golf club, The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which is a descendant of the Gentlemen Golfers who played at Leith links in the fifteenth century. The current course was originally marked out by 'Old' Tom Morris in the 1890s and covers 6,963 yards from the medal tees. It is a par 71, which loops cleverly to ensure that golfers will not have to play several successive holes into or against the wind. The 18th hole, like every other hole on the course, is unnamed and is a challenging and lengthy par-4. Winners at Muirfield include Nick Faldo (1987, 1992), Tom Watson (1980), Lee Trevino (1972), Jack Nicklaus (1966) and Gary Player (1959).
The winner of the 2002 British Open Championship at Muirfield will receive $858,300, with the overall prize money at $4,720,650.
Anchored by golf host Mike Tirico, ABC Sports golf commentators are clearly the most decorated in the sport. Expert analysis provided by two-time U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange will offer a unique perspective. Hole announcer Steve Melnyk won the British Amateur Championship in 1971 and hole announcer Ian Baker-Finch won the 1991 British Open. Hall of Fame golfer Judy Rankin and Top 100-golf teacher Gary Smith will be on the course, along with long-time ABC reporter Bob Rosburg. Senior executive director of the USGA Frank Hannigan will be the editorial advisor. Interviewing golfers fresh off of the course will be Roger Twibell. And of course the British Open would not be complete without essays from the incomparable Jim McKay and Peter Alliss's unique commentary. Collectively the team has broadcast or played in over 200 British Opens.
BRITISH OPEN PRESENTED BY MASTERCARD ON ABC/ESPN:
The British Open, one of golf's four major championships, has been televised by ABC Sports since 1961. ABC Sports' coverage of the 131st British Open from Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland is as follows:
Live Coverage (ESPN) -- Thursday, July 18 (8 a.m. ET)
Highlights (ABC) -- Friday, July 19 (12:05 a.m. ET)
Live Coverage (ESPN) -- Friday, July 19 (8 a.m. ET)
Highlights (ABC) -- Saturday, July 20 (12:05 a.m. ET)
Live Coverage (ABC) -- Saturday, July 20 (9 a.m. ET)
Inside the Ropes at the British Open (ABC) -- Saturday, July 20 (2:30 p.m. ET)
Highlights (ABC) -- Saturday, July 20 (5 p.m. ET)
Live Coverage (ABC) -- Sunday, July 21 (8 a.m. ET)
Highlights (ABC) -- Sunday, July 21 (5 p.m. ET)
ABC Sports Online/ESPN.com coverage of the British Open will feature the most up-to-the-minute detailed coverage through real-time scoring, a detailed view of the course, on-site updates, a photo gallery from some of the British Open's finest moments and daily scorecards for the leaders. ABC Sports' Ian Baker-Finch, the 1991 champion, provides his analysis of Muirfield and why many of the world's golfers consider this the world championship of golf. For more information, log on to ESPN.com, keyword ABC Sports.
Jack Graham is the producer and Jim Jennett is the director of the British Open Golf Championship presented by MasterCard. (CLOSED-CAPTIONED)