sport

Early Open start fine by Duval

Former Open champion David Duval does not feel disrespected at being sent out to tee off in the opening grouping at Hoylake on Thursday.

The veteran will tee off alongside England's David Howell and Sweden's Robert Karlsson at 6.25am to kick off the 143rd Open Championship.

The early tee time means Duval will be up at 4.00am to get warmed up but the American is unfazed and maintains any opportunity to play in the event is a huge honour.

"I don't take it as being disrespectful at all," he said. "I have always said I don't care when I tee off, just give me a tee time.

"I am fortunate to have been a past champion and as long as I'm playing golf I'll be coming.

"Everyone has their opinions and favourites but I think this is the most cherished event in golf.

"I take it as Peter Dawson (R&A chief executive) sending me out to make sure the pace gets set properly.

"He is asking me to do him a favour so we're not backing up the course. I hope we're done by 10.25 - if it is up to me we will be."

Duval, a former world No 1, is currently ranked 940th having been as low as 1,508 at the end of last year.

The 42-year-old admitted his body is less able for the rigours of professional golf than it used to be but is determined to be ready for action on Thursday morning.

"It is a little harder, I'm getting a little older and stiffer to get up at 4am and it takes a while to get loose and warm," admitted Duval.

"I hit 5.30am balls on Tuesday morning and I still wasn't ready to tee off at 7am.

"I am contemplating whether to go to bed or not. Maybe I should go to the pub till 4am and then come over here?

"I struggle to go to bed real early but I'm going to have to figure a way to get to sleep at nine o'clock tonight - maybe watching British television will help."