Local favorite Clarke makes bright start at damp Portrush

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

"This course has been a big part of my upbringing and it's sort of surreal now that the Open's and these great players are here".

"I'm here to enjoy myself".

A large painting of Graeme McDowell hangs next to the bar, just in case anyone at the working man's club on the grounds of the more exclusive Royal Portrush needed to be reminded where he tagged along with his dad as a little kid and fell in love with the game.

"It changes your life, really, especially for a guy like me that likes to go a little bit under the radar and doesn't really need the attention", Molinari said, according to BBC Sport.

It's where he's back this week, playing next door at Royal Portrush in a British Open that Rathmore members are desperately hoping he can win at home.

McIlroy has been the world's best player this year based on week-to-week consistency, Koepka the major pedigree and a Portrush native as his caddie and Rahm the recent history of two Irish Open wins on links.

McIlroy has endured hard starts to The Open in recent years, as he bogeyed five of his first six holes in the the 2017 edition. If there's a quirky green, like the ninth at Royal St George's, you can get away with it.

Here, we'll take a look at several of the featured groups you should watch for in the first two rounds of the 2019 British Open. "There's no difference. No matter if there's grandstands around or if there's not, or if there's a lot of people or if there's not, it's the same golf course".

By virtue of the fact he hits a small white ball better than nearly anyone on the planet, Rory McIlroy has been asked to expound on all things from the tribal politics of Ireland to the tweets of of the US President. There are many complex reasons for that, but this course is not one of them.

"When we were here two years ago, we went to the Harbour Bistro six out of seven nights". "One of my mantras this week is look around and smell the roses".

"I would like to find the middle ground", Rahm said, "but truth be told, there's not much difference between finishing 50th, 40th and 30th to me, unless you are contending for the tournament". "It's a different time, it's now a very prosperous place". And just let your boss know that you should be done watching before your mid-afternoon conference calls.

As the eldest of the triumvirate, Clarke perhaps knows best the decades of pain endured by Northern Ireland and its people. "And I think as well it will be a massive thing for the country". "We're so far past all that, and that's a wonderful thing".