With The Open beginning tomorrow, the players have all had the chance to see the new-look Lytham course. Stretched in length and with more bunkers added, it was always going to be a tough test but with the damp summer we’ve had so far, the thick rough is grabbing all the headlines.
After Tiger’s first practice round, he described it as the toughest he has ever faced, saying “It’s just that you can’t get out of it. That bottom six inches, in some places is almost unplayable.” Defending champion, Darren Clarke, said to expect lost balls despite spotters and spectators adding “There’s a really huge premium on accuracy this week. There’s no chance coming out of this rough at all.”
Other players are looking forward to the challenge: Westwood, who is yet to win a major, believes the course suits him, saying that major championships are “the ultimate test, and every aspect of your game has to be strong.”
With the previous 2 majors of the year going to surprise winners, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, predicting the winner at The Open is practically impossible. There are more contenders than ever in this championship but you can be sure that the eventual winner will be playing their ball from the shortest grass, most of the time.
It wouldn’t be right to leave without a quick mention of the man who won two of Lytham’s 11 Open Championships, Seve Ballesteros. A 19-year-old Seve came second at Lytham in 1976 and three years later, lifted the Claret Jug and was dubbed the “car park champion”. In 1988, he returned to lift the Claret Jug for a third time, his second at Lytham. Seve will be missed at the Championship but you can be sure that his memories will not be far from the hearts and minds of the golfers and spectators alike.
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