Shotgun Start: Previewing the Open

It's tournament time! The PGA Tour heads west to picturesque CordeValle Golf Club for the Open, the second event of the Fall Series. Here's a tournament primer to get you prepared for the week.

The course: The Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed CordeValle Golf Club is another Fall Series course where birdies will be needed to stay in contention. At 7,368 yards, the par par 71 layout has played, on average, about half a stroke under par over the last two years and should once again produce a winning score close to last year's 17-under mark set by winner Bryce Molder.

Like last week's event at TPC Summerlin, CordeValle puts a premium on putting and hitting fairways and greens. You can't bomb it around the course and expect to contend. With some of the biggest greens on tour, hitting the putting surface shouldn't be much of an issue.

However, just hitting the green won't cut it; players will need to ensure they're on the right level/side of the putting surface or be prepared for some tricky putts.

CordeValle also requires you to play target golf off the tee. As opposed to some course where you can grip and rip it with the driver, the Santa Clara Valley layout has some tricky landing areas that may force some of the longer hitters to lay back with a 3-wood.

If you're looking for a hole to watch this week, keep an eye on the 605-yard, par-5 12th. The beefy hole was ranked as the 12th-most difficult par-5 on the PGA Tour last season.

With a crossing stream that runs the entire length of the hole, anything right off the tee could be in trouble. You'll also need to be mindful of the stream on your approach, as well as a couple greenside bunkers that will gobble up approach shots that bail-out to the right.

The schedule: The tournament runs Thursday-Sunday. All four rounds will be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 1 to 7 p.m. ET.

The field: Fall Finish fields are usually hit-or-miss, but over the years, the Open has somehow managed to entice some marquee names -- Tiger Woods teed it up last season -- to the California Wine Country. Ben Curtis and Ernie Els are the only 2012 PGA Tour winners in the field. Other notables include European Ryder Cupper Nicolas Colsaerts, John Daly, Davis Love III, Gary Woodland, Patrick Cantlay and Vijay Singh.

The video: Check out some of the memorable moments from the Open's history.

Your turn. Who are your picks for this week? Swing away!

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