Former Open winner Sandy Lyle got the 147th Championship under way in calm, dry conditions at Carnoustie, but it was playing partner Andy Sullivan who claimed the early lead.
The 1985 champion was given the honour of hitting the first tee shot at 6.35am and comfortably found the fairway with an iron.
Lyle missed the green on the short side with his approach but chipped to a foot for a tap-in par.
However, Sullivan holed from 20 feet for birdie, which put him ahead as two-time major winner and third member of the group Martin Kaymer could only par.
More than 170,000 spectators are expected to descend on Tayside over the coming days as the eyes of the world focus on Carnoustie.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director-Championships at The R&A said: “The Open is a global sporting event with the best players in the sport competing for the famous Claret Jug trophy.
“We are delighted to be bringing the Championship back to Carnoustie which is a truly outstanding links with a rich history.
“We look forward to a fantastic week of golf and are working hard with our partners to ensure that fans have a hugely memorable experience at the Championship.”
Police Scotland Superintendent Andrew Todd, one of the senior officers responsible for policing the event said planning has been taking place over many months to ensure that a safe and successful event is once again delivered.
He said: “There are a number of public transport options available and we encourage people to use these.
“Plan your journey in advance, allow yourself extra time and, if you are driving, please follow the signs in place which will direct you to the best car parks for the event.
“Officers will be on hand throughout the event and if you have any concerns or need assistance please speak to them. Most importantly have a great time and enjoy the golf.”