Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Royal Lytham and St Anne's in northern England.

Lytham, England - Tiger Woods will start as favourite to win his 15th major title while Luke Donald and Lee Westwood spearhead the home challenge in the 141st British Open starting later on Thursday.

Briton Barry Lane will hit the first shot at 06h30 (05h30 GMT) local time under what should be clear skies following a sudden break in the wet weather which has left the links course drenched in water and even more difficult than usual.

Woods will be among the early starters, going out at 09h42 with England's Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia of Spain.

Westwood begins his latest bid for a first major title in the company of US Masters champion Bubba Watson and Japan's Yoshinori Fujimoto at 09h20.

World number one Donald must wait until 14h43 before setting out with four-times major champion Phil Mickelson and Australian Geoff Ogilvy.

Defending champion Darren Clarke is also going out early, alongside former winner Ernie Els of South Africa and American Zach Johnson at 09h09. - Reuters