British Open Championship Preview: Tiger Woods Back in the Hunt

The Open Championship, one of the four major championships in professional golf, begins Thursday in Gullane, Scotland. The British Open — or simply, the Open — is the oldest of the four major professional golf tournaments, and ranks among the highest accomplishments in any golfer’s career.

Despite the much buzzed about location of the tournament — Muirfield Golf Club, and its dinosaur era, male-only membership policy — the 2013 Open is still one to watch. There are several athlete-inpsired story lines in anticipation of the event, the most ubiquitous being that of whether this will be the year to mark the end of Tiger’s drought.

Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major tournament in five years and he enters the 2013 British Open coming off an elbow injury. However, golf’s biggest star still remains a strong favorite at Muirfield and says his elbow injury is no longer a problem.

Tiger infamously shot an 81 in the third round of the 2002 British Open the last time he played a major at Muirfield. Regardless, he is an 8:1 favorite in advance of the tournament.

Behind Tiger with odds of 16:1 are Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson. Rose is coming off a fresh win at the U.S. Open, beating out Mickelson by two strokes. Rose become the first Englishman in 43 years to win the U.S. Open. Rose joked that this victory gave Prime Minister David Cameron bragging rights over Barack Obama at the G8 summit at Lough Erne.

Mickelson has struggled in past Open Championships and suffered a tough loss at the U.S. Open. However, his recent win at the Scottish Open has provided him with newfound confidence and prepared him to move on to planning for the Open Championship. Mickelson approaches this year’s British Open with a secret putting tip. He is famous for tinkering with his golf technique but this time he wont be sharing his new golf revelation.

“I feel that I’ve kind of keyed in on something, and I don’t really want to share,” he said.

With the British Open’s tee times and pairings released to the public, golf fans look forward to some strong playing groups during Thursday’s tournament.

Who do you favor to win this year’s British Open? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @theVeiledVixen