The Open wide open
Thursday sees the third major golfing competition of the year start with the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club hosting the 2012 Open Championship.
The Lancashire course last hosted the prestigious event back in 2001, when American, David Duval, won with an overall score of ten under par.
Now, 11 years on, predicting the winner has never been harder, with 15 different players winning the last 15 major events.
Whose turn could it be on Sunday to lift the Claret Jug, and potentially be number 16?
Lytham St Annes was founded in 1886, and has since hosted four Women’s British Opens, and ten Men’s Open Championships.
The 18 holes equate to a par score of 70, and is unique as it is the only Open Championship, in its rotation system, to begin with a par three.
With the swirling wind coming in off the coast, the Royal Lytham is a true links course. Separations within the boundaries of the course include shorelines, housing and roads, meaning the course is truly hidden amongst the British moors.
In total, there are 206 bunkers on the course, averaging over 11 per hole, meaning the winner of the top prize will do well to avoid the sandpits whilst attempting to brave the treacherous conditions.
Players to watch
Tiger Woods’ current form has put him favourite to win the trophy on Sunday with most bookmakers.
The American has not won major since his 2008 triumph at the US Open, however, a victory in the North West of England could see him rise to World Number One once again.
He holds fond memories of this course, recording a three under back in 1996 equalling the record for the lowest total ever by an amateur in the championship.
Whilst Woods may mark a return to the top, one player aiming to halt his progress will be Padraig Harrington, who already has two Open Championships under his belt.
The Irishman has performed marvellously at the majors this year, tying eighth at Augusta back in April, and was joint fourth at the US Open just last month.
Whilst Harrington is known for his putting, the long hitters may do well in Lancashire this week, with Dustin Johnson being the pick of them.
The 28-year-old finished an impressive tied second in the same event last year, losing out to eventual winner Darren Clarke by just three shots.
Johnson is a player who can adapt his game to suit the course, which may just work in his favour as Thursday approaches.
The Open is becoming harder and harder to predict, with the past few champions even surprise winners.
Not only is the four days going to be about who can play the best, but also who can avoid the numerous hazards, who can have the right attitude, and who may have lady luck on their side too.
The conditions are tricky, with the weather in Britain so unpredictable; the pace of the greens, and the softness of the ground may be a crucial factor, whilst there has already been a number of players commenting on the state of some of the ground across the course.
Some of these professionals may have a tricky time, but the one who can put his game together at the right time, will be the one who holds aloft the Claret Jug on Sunday.
Derek Baker, golf correspondent