Johnson and Spieth favorites as British Open begins

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Spieth rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt across the 11th green, and then after watching Henrik Stenson's tee shot on the par-3 12th land softly, Spieth realized he could take on the flag.

The R&A responded with an invisible white line in the turf. Suspecting his ball was lost, he started back down the fairway only for a spectator to find it and pick it up.

Out-of-bounds stakes typically are on the boundary of a golf course. The course is fast, and balls are bouncing high when landing, which is links golf at its best.

"I feel like I can hit the ball in the fairway, and from there I can hit the ball on the green", McIlroy said.

"You can't sneak onto the places that we used to sneak on anymore", he said. "So that's been put in there to protect the fans and the players".

Australian Peter Thomson won his first Open title at Birkdale in 1954 and his fifth and final back here in 1965. The R&A opted for a local rule instead of going to the trouble of planting dozens of trees.

What stands out is St. Andrews in 2015, when the 23-year-old Texan was going for the third leg of the Grand Slam and missed the playoff by one shot.

"I think it's a really impressive stat and it speaks to the state of the game. We just asked", Day said. I think that's half the battle, it really is.

Handed the honor of hitting the first shot of the tournament, O'Meara sent his drive out of bounds before running up a quadruple-bogey eight and he ended up signing for an ugly round of 81. Winds in America, you still can play by yardage. "It's a little unfair".

Follow the 2017 British Open below with live updates and highlights from Round 1 at Royal Birkdale. He's played erratically all year, struggling with his driver and his putter and missing cuts in three of the last four tournaments.

"It won't stop me from trying to win it, though".

McIlroy's two playing partners seemed to be playing a different course.

Woods won the Open in both 2000 and 2006. "And he definitely said the right thing yesterday when I needed it".

First time winners in the last seven Major championships turned the form book upside down, but is it time for the old guard to assert their claims to glory? "There was nothing for me to celebrate". "And past year I was pretty caught in 2015".

He cut a dejected figure after slumping to five over par after six holes on Thursday, but the spring has clearly returned to his step. Johnson said they train at the same place. And the birdie chances I had early on I didn't make them.

"He said, 'You're Rory McIlroy".

McIlroy played Carnoustie in 2007 as an amateur, opened with 68 and tied for 42nd as an 18-year-old.

He tried to imagine what he would have taken for a career 10 years later. That was his 14th major, but Woods has not won any since and no longer does a single player dominate the sport.

The Met Office expects day two to present the "most challenging conditions" of The Open weekend and said gusts could top 30mph, while there is also a significant risk of rain.

The Northern Irishman had bogeyed five of those holes on Thursday before recovering to end the opening day on one over-par, and he was able to carry his good work into his second round.

He laughed at the memory at Royal Birkdale Wednesday, another who has realized the danger of bemoaning your lot and talking your way out of it. Jason Day received the Mark McCormack Award for spending the most weeks at No. 1 in the world in 2016.

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