Mid-July brings us to the third of golf's four major tournaments each year. The 2016 British Open tees off Thursday in a place that has been very good to Americans.

Of the eight previous Opens to be played at Royal Troon in Scotland, the last six have been won by U.S. players (Arnold Palmer - 1962, Tom Weiskopf - 1973, Tom Watson - 1982, Mark Calcavecchia - 1989, Justin Leonard - 1997, Todd Hamilton - 2004).

In the edition of 'Off The Tee', I talk with Joel Harrington from 4 Deep Golf Blog about what to expect at the third major of the season, as well as other stories making news in the world of golf:

  • Rory McIlroy, one of the favorites at Royal Troon, had a rude awakening during his first ever practice round at the course, when he 'took an eight or nine' on the 123-yard eighth hole.
  • Six players, including McIlroy, are 20-to-1 or better to win The Open. Included in that group, seven-time Eurpoean tour winner Branden Grace of South Africa.
  • The Olympic golf fallout continues. The latest to withdraw from Rio less than a month before the games? Jordan Spieth, who said it was one of the toughest decisions he's ever had to make. McIlroy said his decision to skip Rio was pretty easy.
  • It was not the best of days for the USGA at the final round of the Women's U.S. Open, last Sunday. During a three-hole playoff, Anna Nordqvist was assessed a two-stroke penalty for grounding her club in a bunker on 17. The way she was informed caused quite a commotion, and paved the way for Brittany Lang to win the tournament. The USGA further embarrassed themselves when President Diana Murphy called Lang 'Bethany' repeatedly during the awards ceremony.
  • Back in South Dakota, State Match Play champions were crowned at Hillsview Golf Course in Pierre. Michael Keeton beat Jesse Talcott for the men's crown (4 & 3), while Hallie Getz needed 20 holes to top Katie Bartlett for the women's title.
Here is my complete conversation with Joel: