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What are the perfect preparations for the Open?

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Iain Carter | 06:29 UK time, Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Someone, somewhere is getting it right. Either by design or by accident, one golfer this week will arrive upon a formula to win the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham.

What form and circumstance it takes is as big a question as the identity of the player who finds it. We can theorise all we like on how best to prepare for an Open, but there is no definitive answer.

Some golfers like to play themselves into form the week before a major; others like to take themselves out of the competitive mix and hone their games at secluded ranges far from the madding crowds.

In years past the choice of playing the Scottish Open on a wet parkland course like Loch Lomond seemed to make little sense. "I just want to feel the heat of competition, I can adjust my game later" was the usual explanation from the top pros.


Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke won the Claret Jug in 2011 at Royal St George's. The 2012 event takes place at Royal Lytham. Photo: Getty  

These players might have been developing competitive instincts, but they were doing nothing to sharpen their games for the challenges of fast, firm links courses.

They were, though, stuffing their bank accounts with tidy appearance fees and handy shares from a lucrative prize fund. Never underestimate the lure of big money, even if it would appear to compromise a player's chances of landing the game's most important trophy.

Like last year, this issue is not so relevant this week with the Scottish Open being played on the picturesque links of Castle Stuart near Inverness.

After the staging of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, it means that European Tour players will have had the chance to play links golf in two of the three weeks leading up to the Open.

Last year's Open winner at Royal St George's, Darren Clarke, played the Scottish event which was shortened to 54 holes after torrential rain caused landslides and an abandonment of the third round.

The Ulsterman played a miserable final round on the Sunday and left for Kent in a filthy mood. He was pretty convinced he was fit only for the golfing equivalent of the knacker's yard.

This slough of despondency persisted until an eve-of-championship practice round with the then newly crowned US Open champion, Rory McIlroy.

Towards the end of this fateful knock, the two Northern Ireland men caught up with South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. Clarke was suddenly surrounded by three young pups who could all boast a major title.

What is more, they took the opportunity to brag about their triumphs. "Where's your major, Darren?" they bantered as they headed down Sandwich's closing holes.

This playful mickey-taking was what it took to turn around Clarke's mood. Then coach Pete Cowen reminded his veteran pupil that there was no better competitor in adverse weather and sports psychologist Dr Bob Rotella whispered to the player that, actually, he could hole putts.

Suddenly, a glorious golfing fairytale became ready to trundle off the major production line as Darren Clarke won his maiden major title with a three-shot victory.

So what is the key for the Open hopefuls as they seek, in their various ways, the right formula for a successful challenge at Royal Lytham next week?

"No matter what the preparation is, they must feel when they get there they are already ready," says two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington.

The Irishman famously chose the Irish PGA on a links course ahead of a Loch Lomond dash for cash to ready himself for his breakthrough 2007 victory at Carnoustie. Now the Scottish Open is on a links course, he has happily entered the Castle Stuart event.

"You can't get to the Wednesday evening (of Open week) and start panicking that you need to do more. You've got to have quite a calmness about you - that what I've got is what I'm going to play with," Harrington added.

"You have to admire Tiger Woods, who has obviously won the most in the modern age. You don't see him on the range beating balls in the week of a major. He turns up with his game ready."

So that is the state of readiness the leading Lytham contenders will be trying to achieve this week.

Don't look for too many clues at Castle Stuart, though. Twelve months ago the champion in the Highlands, Luke Donald, collected his trophy in fine style and headed south - but so did his game. By the time he reached the Kent venue for the Open, the Midas touch was gone and he missed the cut.

Donald defends his title in Scotland this week and much as the world number one would like to retain the crown, his eye - inevitably -will be on the bigger prize the following week.

Like everyone else in the Open field, he will be wondering whether he is getting it right in the build-up to golf's greatest championship.

What is more, Donald and co will probably not have a clue as to whether they have achieved that goal until they prepare to sleep on the eve of the Open. Only if they can feel that air of calm, identified by Harrington, are they in with a real chance.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting Ian as jimmy our resident chief blogger would say different storkes for different blokes.

  • Comment number 2.

    Typo strokes dam.
    Interesting that Phill is playing the Scottish open this week maybe its to practice his exquisite bunker play. He manages to really cock his wrists as he teases one out of the bunker stopping it dead by the hole.

  • Comment number 3.

    The open could be just that this year its anybodys to win and will be difficult to predict a winner. Avoiding the bunkers and hitting fairways will be the key.
    Ian any idea what the weather will be like next week and has all the recent rain had much effect on the set up at Lytham

  • Comment number 4.

    Oh and for my mate mr suitcase what news of a golf day??
    Probably more a boating day??

  • Comment number 5.

    Has Rory retired??

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Iain
    Interesting you mention Padraig, he's quietly played himself back into form, being there or thereabouts in the last couple of months, what price on the man who last won more than one major ending this 4 year sequence of single major champions.

  • Comment number 7.

    I slammed Luke's chances for the US Open and got slack for it, ... missed the cut.

    This time however I think will be more up his street. It isn't a St George's, there won't be the same winds, and there are bunkers *everywhere*. With his accuracy on a not so long course, he might be able to just plod along the first few days as others drop away in the sand. Even if he ended up there you'd put your money on him to scramble well.

    Surely a top 5 with Mackers...

  • Comment number 8.

    I wonder if we might see an odd result this week - Maybe the "potential Open contenders" will just be trying to hone their game on a links course and not worry too much about the result.

    Alternatively, maybe I'm talking a load of rubbish.

  • Comment number 9.

    #7 With all the rain we've been enjoying the rough will be brutal at Lytham - and at 7118 Par 70 it isn't going to play short. Not sure why people think Luke is so accurate, especially off the tee - his drives are about as straight as a Barclays trader ...

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm always amazed the Americans just seem to pop over the pond for one week, some of them never having played a links course and seriously think they can win The Open. It may have worked years ago but the tides are turning. It's a totally different game on Links. The young Americans are used to just gripping a club and shooting one off as far as possible knowing that the next one is just a wrist and knuckles job to to a receptive green. Nothing can prepare you for being stuck in a gorse bush and having to find somewhere to take full relief. To play links golf you have to PLAY links golf.

  • Comment number 11.

    How many Americans are in the field in Scotland this week? Thinking about it, which I'm obviously not too much, apart from GB and I where are there true links courses in the rest of the world

  • Comment number 12.

    Interesting comment WCIHIS - last year, Mickleson, DJ and Ricky all contended whilst our much vaunted links specialists disappeared without a trace. Expect a few YankyDoodles to be in contention this week and I'd love to see Padraig back in the hunt. Don't expect too much from West/Luke/Rory - you just don't fancy them in tough conditions at all. Which TW turns up could also be interesting and Ricky was fantastic last year - just don't think he has any form a the moment......Fowler it is then, by 2 from Harrington !

  • Comment number 13.

    @ Tony. A much vaunted links specialist called Darren Clarke hardly disappeared but I get your drift.
    Padraig will be a good bet I hope, but I have a feeling he may well win this week and not next.
    Be prepared not to see Tigers driver next week. He will plot his way round the course, miss all the bunkers and win by 5 .

  • Comment number 14.

    #11 whycantihititstraight

    As far as I can make out there is a grand total of 3: Rich Beem, John Rollins and Phil Mickelson

  • Comment number 15.

    Got a feeling about Tiger this for the Open. Missing the cut at the Greenbrier last week may be a good omen as he won his events previous to the other majors and then went off the boil.

  • Comment number 16.

    Dustin Phil & Ricky were superb last year and they didn't exactly spend a month on Links courses! Not only are there links courses in the USA too (not quite the same, but hey) but there are as a rule more Americans in the top 20 for example than Europeans. I wouldn't expect it to change.

    @9: Compare his ball flight to McIlroy for example and the contrast is huge! And it isn't such a long course, there have been worse. Other than the 6th I think which is an absolute beast, it should all be in reach. The idea was that Luke should he be in the sand you'd expect him to be one of the best to get out without dropping a shot :)

  • Comment number 17.

    Good general blog, however, I have to take issue with the point about Luke Donald, or any player, where you claim "their game went south".
    The one thing you fail to mention, which is always key, where the Open Championship is concerned, is luck.
    You need that little bit of luck re the weather. Sometimes worse in the morning than the afternoon...etc.
    So very often, your draw on day 1 and 2 can be vital. It can knock out key contenders.
    I am not saying players are not prepared, but almost, no matter how good you are, you need that bit of luck day 1 and 2 to still be in contention.

  • Comment number 18.

    I seen the blog was a disaster last week without me. lets get that sorted. Can you all come back to me today with reasons why you felt the last blog was so poor. Cut off for your feedback if 3 o'clock today.

  • Comment number 19.

    #16 - compared to McIlroy most players ball flight is very different. My point is that Luke is far from the straightest driver - his misses can be pretty big. Don't get me wrong - would love to see him do well.
    As for the course, it is a beast - only 2 par 5's and over 200 bunkers - a few players rate it the toughest open track after Carnoustie

  • Comment number 20.

    Iain, this one has the potential to ge a good one unlike last week. Keep it open throughout the Scottish.
    Ah Bilo returns, bit early for gibberish though.

  • Comment number 21.

    A lot will depend on who is the best bunker player. I remember a year or two back when some guy (forgot who) hit his ball in a hideous bunker on the 18th. He took three to get out. In the next group however, Ernie Els went in exactly the same spot and knocked one out with consumate ease.

  • Comment number 22.

    Re Tiger, I saw on you tube his worst ever stroke, which I think was at the Open. You can google it. It was an unmentionable ...... J Arthur Rank. I think his grip was wrong and it just kind of squirted out sideways. Hideous and embarrassing

  • Comment number 23.

    @19 : So we agree, the course is a beast x) but for other reasons. I think it's playing 400 yards shorter than Carnoustie in 07 for example. That's all I was getting at, that Luke won't be out of the running because he can't attack so well. Unless of course as you point out, the rough gets him.

  • Comment number 24.

    you can get 40/1 on 'the big easy' to win at lytham...great value methinks...remember where you heard it first!

  • Comment number 25.

    #18 Bilo
    The blog was poor last week was because the subject was "is Tiger Woods back?" which, frankly, has been done to death.

    And of course you weren't here :-)

    Are you going to tell us on whom to put our money to win The Open?

  • Comment number 26.

    Interesting that for once this year the weather forecast for the Scottish and The Open is not too bad. With the exception of the Thursday at Lytham which looks as if it's going to be Armageddon, it's light drizzle and sunshine. Without the threat of really wet conditions the players should be able to plot their way round the courses. There's nothing worse than having your club slip out of a wet grip as we all must be experiencing this year.

  • Comment number 27.

    Guys - does 'big easy' count for a bonus 10 points? Not bad to say that 2ik does not have insider knowledge!

  • Comment number 28.

    bmg...totally confused...please explain...ta

  • Comment number 29.

    What do people think of Sergio's chance? I'm not sure how he is preparing, but it will be interesting after how he claimed that he 'can't win' a major. He seems to have made a lot of changes, with his putting for instance. At least one positive change for me is that he seems to have stopped all that constant re-gripping he used to do before pulling the trigger. He seemed to take ages!

  • Comment number 30.

    28 - 2ik. Google geddin the hole and go to the contact page.

  • Comment number 31.

    2ik - that is step one of several! All will be revealed.

    Personally I think Els seems to have lost that 'je ne sais quois' and doesn't look like a major winner to me. At his peak he made the game look ridiculously, well, easy, and should have way more than 3 majors. But he had the misfortune of being born in the tiger era I guess. I just think he has lost his mojo

  • Comment number 32.

    How many players in The Open are playing at the Scottish this week? Where are all the Americans practicing ( if indeed they are) ? There's the old adage P@&£ Poor Preparation leads to P@&£ Poor Performance or something like that.

  • Comment number 33.

    WCIHIS - Don't they say that the Scottish Open is not actually good prep for the Open, because it's not at a links course. Didn't DC play at Potrush a lot last year to sharpen his links game?

  • Comment number 34.

    Re 32 and 33, I think 84641 has said the same in post 8. PS 84641 did you get my message and are you going to follow up?

  • Comment number 35.

    BMG talking of grips poulter had a problem with his and was prone to shanking one oh in the rough.

  • Comment number 36.

    Anyone know how Westys injuries are. Is he playing Scottish and will he be fit for Lytham? It could be his year and if fit could challenge THE TIGER. Slipping on a wet French sleeper is NOT good preparation for anything let alone just before the biggest Tounament of the year.

  • Comment number 37.

    BMG @33 That was when the Scots was on a Parklands course at Loch Lomond. That's like trying to prepare for a big one using the wrong hands.

  • Comment number 38.

    whilst it was good to see Castle Stuart last year & Portrush this, the sad fact is, apart from the end of season Dunhill, European tour players have no more competitive experience on links courses than the Americans, who no doubt are practicing & playing some classic links golf in Ireland this week ...

  • Comment number 39.

    37 - Excellent point, I had forgotten that they moved the venue. So essentially my post 33 is total nonsense! And by implication, perhaps post 8 is too.

    Bilo - "the last blog was so rubbish because you weren't on it enough". Is that right?

  • Comment number 40.

    #33 & 34 BMG

    BMG - The Scottish Open _is_ at a links course for once this year - Castle Stuart

    I did get your message thanks - I was away last weekend but will follow up.

    By the way, re post 11 - Are there many good links courses in South Africa? I'd have thought the geography and climate around the Cape would be suitable.

  • Comment number 41.

    #39 BMG

    I think you misunderstood my post 8 - What I meant was that I thought some players might have entered the Scottish Open in order to get some links practice, but wouldn't take the competition too seriously.

  • Comment number 42.

    BMG,wcihis I am currently in the process of a grip change I find myself constantly regripping ala Sergio too much pressure it goes off left, not enough goes right. Struggling to find the ideal to avoid keep having to take relief from hazards

  • Comment number 43.

    # 41, 84641 - yes I completely and utterly misunderstood your posst, mainly because I didn't read it properly!

    42 - Davey a slight grip change can have a massive difference. I have just moved my little finger a bit and the difference is amazing. I get way more feel (which is a good thing) but I have raised a blister (which is not so good!)

    I'm going to persevere with it though. I don't believe you can really be satisfied if you give up something half way through

  • Comment number 44.

    Would PM have asked for an entry to the Scots if he hadn't missed the cut. What would his preparation had been if he had played all 4 rounds at Greenbriar. THE TIGER is not playing the Scots, when does he come over for The Open and where does he prepare. As Iain said he turns up ready. Apart from being the GOAT how does he do it?

  • Comment number 45.

    i was talking to a top pro last week and he gave me a great tip for the Open. i cant post it here though so ill share it on FB with my golf buddies.
    Just remember how it was Bilo that tipped Webb Simpson for US Open and Bubba for the Masters. I plan on making it 3 outa 3

  • Comment number 46.

    What is going on with Iain Carters Photo?! i heard that is really a picture of mickysausage

  • Comment number 47.

    Bilo good to have you back I hope uncle dons speedos were a good fit for you on your jolly.
    Personally hope the Brits do rubbish this week and save it for next week.
    Re tiger he is probably at Lytham this week planning his stratergy. He tends to get a hotel and then gets a chopper to the course every day saves driving into anynobstacles.
    If he is on song he will be the man to beat but a good point was made about the draw as the morning can be benign and the afternoon torrential rain and blowing a Hoolie.

  • Comment number 48.

    Whether your preparation is to play or not to play the week before a major it will all be about how our favourites (Westy et al) are mentally prepared. I personally look forward to the English contingent having a carefree approach, step up to the first tee and give it a spank.
    The monkey on their back(s) should soon be removed once and for all!

  • Comment number 49.

    i'VE ONLY JUST HEARD ABOUT wESTWOOD'S INJURY. oops sorry Caps lock. apprently he fell over on a wet railway sleper whislt he was wankign to the first tee? Hope his injury isn't too bad!

  • Comment number 50.

    *walking. S'cuse my typing

  • Comment number 51.

    Is links practice going to be all that relevant. Its coming down Cats and Dogs up here in the North West and it feels like it has done none stop since about April. The course could well be very very wet and very receptive and therefore play like a parkland rather than a links.

    Its an obvious statement but accurancy will be key as i imagine that the rough will be thick thanks to all the growing weather and if you go in it you may have no option than to just bash one out which could make a real mess of your scorecard.

  • Comment number 52.

    Last year the course was pretty firm despite the rain and alot of guys were hitting really low to keep out of the wind, this year i dont see the squirters having quite so much joy.

  • Comment number 53.

    If Jimmy it does play like a parkland I'm sure Donald's measured approach will help him pull it off. Same goes for Lee if his injury does not impinge on his prodigious length. Either way my money is on an English win!

  • Comment number 54.

    Of course Lee has a chance because he's long and straight. Plus he's built like a tank which means his strength will help is he end up in a sticky situation in the long grass.

  • Comment number 55.

    *if he ends up

  • Comment number 56.

    Just how do you prepare for the probable conditions. Do you practice on a links or a parklands or just go to a flooded range and keep hitting out of wet patches.

  • Comment number 57.

    Good news forWesty fans, he's at Close House today at a charity day playing with the likes of Alan Shearer, Ant and Dec etc. good preparation or not?

  • Comment number 58. money's on shearer to beat weswood in a level game...if westwood beats ant&dec he'll no doubt demand some world ranking points!

  • Comment number 59.

    2ik - have you decided to embark on the treasure hunt that is post 30?

  • Comment number 60.

    bmg...had a very quick look earlier...unless i'm mistaken, i need to enter my e-mail address to follow the 'contact us' link and i'm just not sure i want to blow my cover!!!...i prefer the mystery and fact, thinking about it, wouldn't it be a hoot if we all met up one day and played a round...i have a mental image of all our fellow bloggers...i wonder how wrong i'd be!!!

  • Comment number 61. even bigger hoot would be to spend the day playing golf together without revealing our identities and then, over dinner, one-by-one we reveal who we are!

  • Comment number 62.

    ... ooo 2iron you devil you. He'll need all those 'pretend' points to stay ahead of your young prodigy Manessero, won't he! wcihis... no I'm not happy with that at all - glad handing with the rich and famous, everyone wanting to shake his hand.
    Shandies in the clubhouse all round, no doubt!

  • Comment number 63.

    2ik - you have no idea. Mail me your email and I will fill you in

  • Comment number 64.

    62 - decent effort.

    Did someone mention 'pretend points'. You mean from the Honda....?

  • Comment number 65.

    61 - two of the 'inner circle' have already played each other twice. You probably read about the outcome in the paper, or saw it on "Crimewatch: Ullesthorpe"

  • Comment number 66.

    @62...sorry chelsea...was just havin a laugh on this miserable, wet afternoon...a bit like the guy from ac milan [my team] that made a hoax call to lfc pretending to want andy carroll on loan!!!

    @64...will do

  • Comment number 67.

    sorry bmg...@64 should've been @63

  • Comment number 68.

    2ik follow bmgs instruction trust in the dark side if you are and seem a like minded soul you will find a gateway to an escape of pure humour fun frivolity and general daftness. Go on give in we won't hurt you much.
    Any how as my dad used to say practice makes perfect, I have been trying to get used to this new grip for a couple of weeks even took to walking round the house with a broken shaft in my hand just to get the feel for it.

  • Comment number 69.

    McDowell will go well at the open and a good each way shout is Michael Hoey, an excellent links player.

    I also think Adam Scott may go well and Jason Day.

  • Comment number 70.

    DBF - do you know the meaning of "innuendo"?

    Just wondering? lol

  • Comment number 71.

    2ik : Some people have also already had a few pints together and BMG has promised that, if he gets his Honda points back, he will fly us all out to SA for a barbie!

    If he does we might even get IC tp sponsor the BBC bloggers golf day.

  • Comment number 72.

    Trev check in on fb mate.
    You survived the meet with cfc then, it's great meeting fellow bloggers and putting a face yo a name. Suitcase is a top bloke we have match three tickets booked for a game at Rutland water, handy as if I lose the concrete wellies will come out all that will be left is the trilby floating on the surface

  • Comment number 73.

    @18 Bilo is the answer "cos you wasnt on it " hang on someone else has said that.
    Anyway picks for thsi week after last weeks miserable showing.
    Padraig Harrington, Thongchai Jaidee, and Paul Lawrie.
    Carl Petterson, Zach Johnson and Brian Davis.

  • Comment number 74.

    Def think Padraig is in with a shout...great short game,bunker play and has got the experience and nerve. Also think Michael Hoey..won Lytham Trophy and it's his first major...could make a great story. Plus Paul Lawrie...excels in poor weather and links and finally Justin Rose. So Champion Golfer of the Year : Padraig Harrington, Runner Up Michale Hoey and T3 Rose & Lawrie. #skinbookies!

  • Comment number 75.

    From Iain's article
    "I just want to feel the heat of competition, I can adjust my game later" was the usual explanation from the top pros.
    This didn't work last year as someone brought up on links showed them all how to do it. As i said before To play links golf you have to PLAY links golf.
    Whats the weather like in Inverness, is there any danger of the course being washed away this year.
    Theres going to be a lot of guys with wet strides and slippy clubs who have never experienced having to grip tight just to not let go of their shafts. Just how do you prepare to play in monsoon conditions if we get them?

  • Comment number 76.

    A slippery grip is not good for your game, ask Suitcase he had trouble with his grip when i played with him. He kept making excuses and changing his glove but it seemed to make little difference he kept missfiring.

  • Comment number 77.

    davey [68]...trev [71]...i've taken the plunge and now await directions from bmg!

  • Comment number 78.

    yes 2iron... I guessed you were checking whether I was concentrating!
    Me thinks giving the World #3 (and current unofficial #1) a hard time will be the least of your worries when Andy Carroll pitches up at the San Siro.
    I hope your neck is up to it!
    wcihis... indeed links golf is not picked up over a weekend or two but the really talented golfers can - inevitably - on any given day turn up at any course and win. I mean even DJ was in contention last year so there's no assumption a Links specialist (read someone from N'orn Iron) will win it. I told Trev this over 'drinks' and of course he agreed just before he slipped out of the headlock!

  • Comment number 79.

    These guys are so good it doesn't matter if they play on links turf the week before The Open or not.
    Surely 3 or 4 practise rounds at Lytham should be enough for the players to acclimatise.

  • Comment number 80.

    Jimmy picks for this week going early to avoid the finger pointing
    Scottish Donald, George Coetzee, Nicols Colsaerts
    US J byrd, Z Johnson, stricker

  • Comment number 81.

    As anyone who plays the game knows your swing or stroke for that matter can be perfect one day and rubbish the next, some of the guys search for that something perfect but never find it. Look at Padraig he has tinkered around for years and now has some form back in his hands, as a links specialist and the form major player as he see's it he will be a threat for the next two weeks.

  • Comment number 82.

    @sirlemons11 - agree Michael Hoey good each way watched him at the Irish and he is hitting some form, confidence seems to be going in right direction too. Would have thought Lawrie will make a good showing if weather is off but watched him at the Welsh and Irish and there were a few too many destructive shots left every day

  • Comment number 83.

    2ik Bmg will reveal a path to the utopia of an alternative look at things.
    It opens up whole new avenues and meetings with fellow bloggers etc and banter any time of the day or night all good stuff.

  • Comment number 84.

    Bilo we missed you and reference to dear old john so a rendition of his favourite shots would be welcome. Is he a shanker or a puller of the ball do you know?

  • Comment number 85.

    It's very wet in Lytham at the moment. Lots of standing water in the fairways on Friday, but walked around today and the course is looking immaculate. Congratulations to the Paul (Head groundsman) and his team. Don't think it will play as fast as a links can, but the rough is as thick as I've seen it so placement will be paramount. Will need someone who can plot their way around the course, got a sneaky feeling for Westwood this year

  • Comment number 86.

    dch71 so it wont play like Hoylake then, so not Tiger 2 iron off the tee type approach then as would leave a lot of long second shots and with not much run on the ball would negate that tactic anyway.

  • Comment number 87.

    #54... totally agree Jimmy. If I had Westwood's length I would milk it for all it's worth. He's got his hands all over the Jug in 2012 in my opinion!

  • Comment number 88.

    cfc Westwoods goose could be cooked too soon imo esp as his short game is relatively poor, he needs some lessons of Phil in the correct wrist break to help him tease one out from the rough or squirt one out of greenside bunker.

  • Comment number 89.

    For me the short game will always let Lee down he just gets his hands in bad positions and hence has a poor stroke and distance control. He invariably comes up short of the target.

  • Comment number 90.

    Good call DCH71. All this talk about how the pros prepare we tend to forget that the poor groundstaff have to prepare as well. It must be heart breaking this year for them. I believe that they dont have too long to prepare a course from when the members have to stop playing to the actual event but they always come up with pristine conditions. I see that after last year at Inverness when a part of the course was washed away they have put in some inovative drainage ditches to try and negate the horrendous weather we are all experiencing. Hope it works. Is anyone on who is up there to give us a better update.
    DCH71 keep telling us what the conditions are like, it could effect some peoples bets etc. If the rough is as bad as you say it is at the moment theres going to be plenty scratching their heads looking for relief.

  • Comment number 91.

    whoa there chelsea...steady on now my're setting yourself up for quite a fall if westwood doesn't deliver...are you really THAT confident?

  • Comment number 92.

    DCH good call from wcihis an informed opinion on the conditions would be great, is it knee deep shaggy rough thats liable to wrap round your hosel?
    Remember Tigers first shot at one of the opens when he lost one left deep in the rough resulting in having to re load from the tee.

  • Comment number 93.

    Loads of support for Paul Lawrie on the blog. I dont dislike him by any means but quite frankly his reputation has been falsely and massivly enhanced by a wet french meltdown.

    Sinch his Win in 1999, 7 missed cuts out of 11, best finish T42. Not great for a links specialist.

  • Comment number 94.

    #91... mmm I can see you are not convinced of my convictions and perhaps are not in possession of all the facts. However, if as I hope young Lee gets his hands around a Claret Jug (sorry... just can't do it) it'll be one in the eye for you, 2iron my boy!

  • Comment number 95.

    #94... you know, good things come to those who wait ;-)

  • Comment number 96.

    That's the great thing about our sport - there can be no favourites to win. Being the World Number One or the Best Ball Striker or Short Game Supremo, means nothing at an Open and even less at a course like Lytham.

    On the quiet, I relish the chance to see top golfers get into and out of trouble. It makes for exciting, nail-biting viewing/listening.

    At the Women's Open in 2009 (won by Catriona Matthew, three under par on a sunny dry weekend) we watched as a little Korean starlet took a practice swing outside a bunker. The crowd shook their heads and muttered: 'No chance with a wimpy shot like that, dear!' She completely disappeared from view when she entered the bunker only to emerge with the golf ball in her hand, humiliated. She had picked up her ball and retired after four or five attempts to get onto the green.

    That's Lytham on a nice day, so I raise my visor to the chaps facing the conditions that DCH71 describes at #85.

    I'm looking forward to it and the incomparable BBC coverage. The commentary makes it.

  • Comment number 97.

    Good point Edith i love seeing Ken On The Course, and listening to ramblings of dear old Allis.

  • Comment number 98.

    @96 - Perhaps she should have gone for more of a flicking motion?

  • Comment number 99.

    @94...we shall see...we shall only regret is that manassero failed to qualify otherwise i'd have had a modest wager with you that he'd finish above your man...fancy a couple of quid on my man [els] to beat your man?...proceeds to the charity of the winner's choosing

  • Comment number 100.

    There's nothing worse than thrashing away in a bunker only to have go through it all again as youve not got it out.


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