Rory McIlroy Justin Rose
Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose share a laugh during a practice session of the British Open, July 13, 2016Reuters

Rory McIlroy will want to break his near-two year major drought with The Open Championship teeing off from Thursday. The top four of golf – Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and McIlroy – are the favourites to lift the title, but considering the fact that quite a few surprises have taken place over the last few years at the British Open, expect one or more of the unheralded players to be right up there come Sunday.

Zach Johnson is the defending champion, having won the title last year in a four-hole playoff at St. Andrews, and with the Royal Troon traditionally favouring the Americans – the last six Open Championship champions at Royal Troon have been from the US -- Johnson will want to make an impact, if possible, again.

The other Johnson – Dustin -- though, will be one of the cynosures, with the American coming off a US Open victory last month. With that particularly major monkey off his back, Johnson will now want to show he is the real deal when it comes to big tournaments.

"It's nice not to be playing for my first major," Dustin Johnson told the British Open's official website. "I always feel like I'm the best player in the world. I've got a lot of confidence in my game.

"I always expect to come out and contend, although it's a good feeling (to have won a major). So on Sunday, if I'm in contention, just knowing that I can get it done is a big confidence booster coming down the stretch."

McIlroy and Spieth, however, remain the major eyeball grabbers. Hopes of a battle between arguably the two most talented and exciting players in the game has not quite materialised, often enough, yet, but if they can stay on course in the first three days and go into the Day 4 with a chance at lifting the Claret Jug, the excitement levels of the British Open 2016 will go over the roof.

The key to winning this most prestigious of majors is playing the final six holes, which will make or break a golfer's chances of competing for the title. If the final six holes of the course can be negotiated without any disaster, they will, most likely, find themselves in contention going into Sunday.

One of those players not quite expected to compete for the Claret Jug, but will, nevertheless be a big favourite amongst the fans is Colin Montgomerie. The Scottish legend will hit the first shot of the 145th Open, with his home fans, no doubt, hoping he finds a way to roll back the years.

In Indian interest, Anirban Lahiri will tee off in the afternoon, at 2.48 p.m. local time (7.18 p.m. IST), alongside Sergio Garcia and Keegan Bradley.

Where to Watch Live

Day 1 of The Open Championship will tee off with Montgomerie at 6.45 a.m. BST (11.15 a.m. IST, 1.45 a.m. ET). Live Streaming and TV options below. The tee times are HERE.

India: No live TV coverage.

UK: TV: Sky Sports 1. Live Streaming: Watch Sky Sports and Sky Go.

US: TV: NBC and Golf channel. Live Streaming: Golf Channel online and NBC Live Extra.

Australia: TV: Fox Sports. Live Streaming: Foxtel and Fox Sports online.

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