Nick Faldo has some advice for British bettors: Bet on me.
The three-time British Open champion, who is a 50-1 shot to win this year, says he's fully recovered from an injured right elbow that he hurt during practice last week."I feel much better than a 50-1 shot," said Faldo, also a three-time Masters champion who recoils at suggestions that his career is winding down.
"I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody. I just want to get back to the right end of the leaderboard. The arm is doing great. It has knitted together well and everything is fine."
NO PRESSURE: Defending champion Justin Leonard, who won a major early in his career, has never faced the pressure that weighs on Colin Montgomerie or Phil Mickelson, the best two players who've yet to win one.
"I think it would be harder on Colin or Phil Mickelson because they've been hearing that for a number of years," Leonard said.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself," he added. "But I didn't feel a lot of pressure from the media or from just the general public."
Montgomerie, who shot a 76 in the first round last year at Royal Troon, where his father is course secretary, will try relaxing.
"I put too much pressure on myself in the past," Montgomerie said. "I have learned that I play better when I'm relaxed. If I relax and have good rhythm, I'm confident on the first tee."
TIGHT SECURITY: Dogs jumped into car trunks to sniff for bombs, and guards were especially vigilant in searching packages as security has been stepped up at Royal Birkdale.
British officials are on guard. This course is only 10 miles from Aintree, where last year's Grand National was delayed 48 hours for a bomb threat.
Security is heightened after the violent standoff in Portadown, Northern Ireland, between police and Orange Order marchers.
"It is better to be safe than sorry, and we want to ensure there is no disruption to the Open championship as there was at Aintree," said Michael Bonallack, secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
WATSON ON WINNING: Tom Watson spent his weekend watching his 15-year-old son, Michael, play a junior golf tournament at nearby Formby. He used the time to give him some lessons in life learned from a lifetime of golf.
"It's nice to watch him succeed on the golf course, but it's also necessary for him to understand how to fail," Watson said.