British Open 2019 Weather: How Will Rain and Wind Affect the Likes of Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka?

The British Open is returning to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years and weather is expected to play a major role in deciding the event's outcome.

The 148th edition of the oldest major in golf begins on Thursday, at Royal Portrush Golf Club, the only venue outside England and Scotland to have ever hosted the event.

Located in County Antrim, approximately 60 miles north-west of Belfast, the course sits on the northern tip of Northern Ireland, along the 22-mile strait separating the country from Scotland.

While the position offers an incredibly picturesque setting—the course is perched over cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean—it leaves Portrush open to the notoriously temperamental weather typical of these latitudes.

Rain and winds are expected throughout the weekend, with the sun expected to be fleeting and making extremely rare appearances. Temperatures, meanwhile, are expected to be in the 50s to low 60s.

Padraig Harrington won the Open Championship twice and knows all about the obstacles the weather can put up at the Dunluce Links course.

"It can change in a day," the Irishman was quoted as saying by Golf Channel.

"The golf course, it can be easy if there's no wind, but they can be beasts if there's a strong wind."

If the weather is likely to cause havoc for most of the field, the low temperatures could be particularly troubling for Tiger Woods.

The 15-time major winner has had four back surgeries, including spinal fusion in 2017, and suffers the chilly weather more than most.

Portrush will not exactly be like playing at Foxborough in January, but it could prove too cold for Tiger, who has been hampered by unseasonably cold weather at the last two majors.

In May at the PGA Championship in New York, Woods said he felt sick by midweek and missed the cut. A month later at the U.S. Open, he finished tied for 21st but was visibly struggling at one stage.

"When it's cold like this, everything is achy," he said last month.

While Woods has won the Claret Jug three times, Brooks Koepka's best result came when he finished tied for sixth in 2017 at Royal Birkdale. However, the world number one will be able to tap into some insider's knowledge as his caddie, Ricky Elliott, is a Portrush native.

Elliott could be a major help in understanding the weather conditions over the next four days.

"I wouldn't want anybody else on my bag, I know that," Koepka told ESPN.

"He's been tremendous. He's part of the reason why I've had the success I've had. And I love the guy to death.

Here's a weather forecast for the next four days, courtesy of Britain's Met Office.

Tiger Woods, The Open
Tiger Woods of the United States looks on during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 16 in Portrush, United Kingdom. Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Thursday, July 18

The first round of the Open will get underway under cloudy skies, with heavy showers expected to arrive onto the course by late morning. Light rain is expected intermittently from 1 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) onward.

Winds are expected to be around 12mph throughout the day, with gusts of up to 25mph by mid-afternoon.

Friday, July 19

A cool, overcast morning should give away to some more rain by 1 p.m., with heavier precipitation expected for around 4 p.m. and then throughout the evening.

Winds are expected to be lighter than on Thursday, peaking at around 8mph with gusts of about 16mph.

Saturday, July 20

The third round of the Open should also be the driest of the four days. Forecast calls for overcast weather throughout the day at Portrush, with chances of precipitation no higher than 20 percent.

Wind is expected to be lighter than Thursday, blowing at around 8mph with gusts of 17mph.

Sunday, July 21

The final round of the 148th Open Championship will begin under sunny skies, but respite will be short-lived. Rain is expected on the course shortly after noon and is forecast to continue throughout the day.

Winds are expected to be much more of a factor than in the previous two days, blowing at between 11mph and 15mph throughout the day with gusts forecast to hit 28mph.

British Open 2019 Weather: How Will Rain and Wind Affect the Likes of Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka? | Sports