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Big Lex

(British) Open Championship - How do you think Hoylake should be set up?

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I came across an article today about Rory McIlroy's preparation for the upcoming Open at Hoylake.  Interestingly, it appears McIlroy believes Hoylake will be set up a quite a bit more lush and soft than in the last Open held there.  For those who don't remember the 2006 open, the course was brown, burned out and running....Tiger won the Gold Medal hitting only a single driver the entire week.

I like variety in major championships, and to see a British Open played on a lush layout will be interesting I think.  But I also think it is interesting how the majors have been changing over the last several years.  They have rough at Augusta isn't thick or deep rough, but it does affect the shots they play, and in the past it was never an issue.  And the US Open, usually defined by narrow fairways and thick, penal rough, has been somewhat more forgiving in set up in recent years.

Now we are going to have a British Open played on a green, grassy course?

What do you all think?  How would you like to see them set up The Open this year, and why?



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In my opinion they'll protect the course by allowing the rough to grow in, narrowing the fairways, and making it dense enough to be penal if you're too wide. That isn't the same as being "green and grassy", though - at least, not necessarily. Unless it rains significantly I can see the fairways being brown and fast. They'll put a heavy premium on accuracy, is my guess. Not that unusual for an Open. I recall the rough at Carnoustie, for example, being absolutely brutal. I'd like to see them set it up with a heavy emphasis on risk/reward. Good scores available if you're straight as well as long, and heavy penalties if you can't keep it on the short stuff. Unless you're Severiano Ballesteros, of course, and can play it to the green from the car park.

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Big Lex--

I like the variety in course setups.  The other business--Augusta always without rough, US Open setups always penal and narrow, etc. made it easy for guys like Johnny Miller to cruise on auto pilot year after year, but introducing elements of variety, surprise, uncertainty and so on is probably more conducive to greater public interest in the game in the long run.  So, I'm all in favor of that.  With respect to the most recent US Open, and not getting into the aesthetics (is brown the new green?), I liked the way the waste areas were handled, first, because they added an element of risk/reward to a situation that was otherwise purely penal, and secondly, because they introduced an element of rub of the green/luck of the draw to what was otherwise automatic and I think luck should be an element of the outcome in golf.

As for the setup at this year's Open, I'll offer two comments.  The texture of the rough--is it thick grass or is it straw-- will be as important as it's length.  And the R&A; has always relied in the wind as a factor in its course setups.  This year will be no exception, and regardless of the weather in the lead up to the tournament, the wind on the days of play will be critical.


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