For the first time in 13 years, a player arrives at the British Open holding the season's first two majors. Jordan Spieth has overtaken the golf world in 2015 and he'll continue his chase at the Grand Slam on Thursday at St. Andrews. It's a longshot that Spieth completes the unthinkable slam, but you will be able to watch his every swing this week, starting with Thursday's opening round.
Spieth is set to go off the 1st tee at 9:33 a.m. local, or 4:33 a.m. ET in the United States. Only the most dedicated souls will be up to watch the beginning of his round back in the USA, and his home state of Texas. But the Masters and U.S. Open winner will be front and center on ESPN's marquee groups stream if you want to watch him from the very start.
Bumping Spieth onto the marquee groups stream is a sign of the times and the enormity of what he's accomplished this year. He's playing on the same side of the draw as Tiger Woods, whose tee time always ends up on these featured groups streams -- whether it's a major or just a regular PGA Tour event. Tiger is two groups behind Spieth at 4:55 a.m. ET but you'll have to settle for the regular broadcast if you want to watch his round. It's certainly a pivot even from last year's Open, when ESPN put that much publicized "Tiger cam" in play for all four of his rounds. Granted, he'll probably have every shot shown on the regular broadcast anyways, but it's still a noticeable shift to Spieth as the headliner this week. Playing with Spieth on that stream will be Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, two of the game's other ascendant talents and likely future major winners.
ESPN will also have four other streams running in addition to that featured groups stream. You can watch a simulcast of the broadcast on their WatchESPN/ESPN3 services, but you'll need a subscription. Two free and unlocked simulcast streams of the broadcast should be available, however, with the BBC's International feed and the Spanish-language broadcast on ESPN Deportes. It may not have Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt and Paul Azinger, but you should be able to still stream the first round broadcast in a couple different ways.
The final stream is a featured holes feed dedicated strictly to the famous Road Hole, the 17th at the Old Course at St. Andrews. You might think it's a waste to have a stream on just one hole, but there's so much here that can happen. The tee shot is completely blind -- you're hitting a drive over a wall that blocks your view of the fairway and some players buzz the Old Course hotel. It's one of the oddest and most unique tee shots these pros will ever face. There are multiple historic adventures up around the green. There's the Road Hole bunker, one of the hardest to escape on the course and can end a player's tournament quickly. And there's also the wall that lines the road but is in play just behind the green. It was here that Spieth practiced ricochet shots off the wall and back onto the green when he arrived on Monday. From tee to green, there's plenty to watch at what may be the most famous par-4 in golf.
The simulcast streams for Thursday will all be live by 4 a.m. when the TV coverage comes on the air. The Spieth stream is supposed to come on at 4:20 a.m., just about 15 minutes before he strikes his first ball of the championship. The Road Hole stream will follow shortly after that. Here are all your coverage options for the opening round:
Thursday's first round coverage
4 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- ESPN
4 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- WatchESPN/ESPN3 simulcast of TV coverage, Spanish feed, and International BBC feed
4:20 a.m. ET -- ESPN3 Featured groups stream (4:33 a.m. ET -- Spieth/D. Johnson/Matsuyama, 9:34 a.m. ET -- Mickelson/Stenson/Kuchar)
4:50 a.m. ET -- WatchESPN/ESPN3 featured holes stream -- No. 17, St. Andrews' famous "Road Hole"
7 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET -- ESPN Radio / PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 93/208)