The 146th Open Championship: All you need to know

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The world’s top golfing talent will descend on the Merseyside coast this weekend to contest the oldest tournament on golf.

One hundred and fifty six of the best players from around the globe will go head-to-head in a bid to get their hands on the Old Claret Jug.

FOX Sports Asia gives you all the facts and figures about The Open Championship and the host venue for this year – Royal Birkdale.

First contested in 1860, the Open Championship is the oldest of the four majors. This year will mark its 146th edition.

Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland hosted the first open which was restricted to professionals and attracted just eight golfers. The participants played three rounds of Prestwick’s twelve-hole course in a single day. Willie Park Sr. was the winner.

Harry Vardon has the most wins at the Open with 6 victories. He won the tournament in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 and 1914.

In the modern era, Tom Watson has the most wins with 5 (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983), while Jack Nicklaus (1966, 1970, 1978), Seve Ballesteros (1979, 1984, 1988), Nick Faldo (1987, 1990, 1992) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2005, 2006) have all won it three times.

The oldest and youngest winners were father and son. The oldest winner was 46-year-old “Old” Tom Morris in 1867, while the youngest was his 17-year-old son “Young” Tom Morris one year later in 1868.

South Africa’s Gary Player is the only person to win The Open in three different decades, with titles in 1959, 1968 and 1974.

This year’s event will be the tenth time the tournament has been played at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. The last time was in 2008 when Irishman Pádraig Harrington won by four shots from Ian Poulter, successfully defending the title he won a year earlier at Carnoustie.

Padraig Harrington celebrates in 2008.

Neither of the last two Opens to be held at Birkdale have been won with an under-par score. In 1998 Mark O’Meara won with a total of level par, while Harrington’s victory was earned with a three-over par total. Only one other Open in the last 30 years has seen no player finish under par (1999 at Carnoustie).

This week’s winner will receive the biggest winner’s cheque in Open Championship history. The champion will earn $1,845,000 from an overall purse of $10,250,000. The first runner-up will receive $1,067,000.

Open Quick facts:

Course: Royal Birkdale
Location: Southport, Merseyside, UK
Length: 7,156 yards
Par: 70
Field: 156 players
Playoff (if needed): 4 holes, aggregate score
Prize money: $10,250,000
Winner’s share: $1,845,000
Defending champion: Henrik Stenson