Francesco Molinari said this year’s Open will be “extra special” as he attempts to defend the Claret Jug.
Molinari, who emerged from a thrilling final day at Carnoustie a year ago to become the first Italian to win a major, will begin his quest alongside American Bryson DeChambeau and Australian Adam Scott.
“Any week you defend it’s special, but this week will be extra special,” he said.
“I just want to enjoy it as much as possible and like I did at the Ryder Cup, I want to soak in the atmosphere.”
It will also be a special week for Northern Ireland’s contingent, including Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.
Clarke will hit the first tee shot at the County Antrim course at 6.35am, after the 2011 champion was grouped with Irish amateur James Sugrue and American Charley Hoffman.
McIlroy, Open winner in 2014, will play alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Casey and recent-crowned US Open champion Gary Woodland.
Tiger Woods, who ended an 11-year major drought to win the Masters in April, has a tee-time for the first round when he will play with Englishman Matt Wallace and 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed.
World No 1 Brooks Koepka also tees off after lunch with former winner Louis Oosthuizen and Shubhankar Sharma.
The Open TV channel – how to watch
The Open Championship runs until Sunday, July 21.
Live television coverage will be shown on Sky Sports’ dedicated Open channel.
But if you can’t watch the action on TV, there are a few ways to stream the action.
Existing Sky Sports customers can live stream the golf via the Sky Go app, while non-subscription holders can purchase a Sky Sports pass through NOW TV.
The Open Championship past five winners
2018 – Francesco Molinari (Carnoustie)
2017 – Jordan Spieth (Royal Birkdale)
2016 – Henrik Stenson (Royal Troon)
2015 – Zach Johnson (St Andrews)
2014 – Rory McIlroy (Royal Liverpool)