This year’s British Open (or Open Championship, or whatever you want to call it) is at Scotland’s Carnoustie Golf Links, and it is dry. Very dry. The greens are, well, green, but that’s about the only green on the course; the fairways are a baked golden brown, and while they’re rolling true, they’re very much rolling.
That’s the essence of links golf, of course, and it’s what helps make the Open the best golf tournament every year; it just challenges players differently. Here’s Dustin Johnson, for example, slightly missing the 18th green and paying the price:
That shot ended up out of bounds; the quirky out of bounds area near the green is another example of things pros don’t normally face. But it was Johnson’s drop that was perhaps most illustrative:
That’s not quite how a golf ball would bounce off a cart path or a parking lot, but it bounced three times off the grass before it settled. That’s firm! It’s great overall, because it actually helps equalize distance; shorter players are generally more accurate (it’s tough to be a short-hitting player with no accuracy and become a professional golfer), and with lengthy rollouts available if you hit the fairway, those guys are able to keep up more easily.
On the other hand, it does mean players have to be more aware of where balls will end up at the end of those lengthy rollouts. It adds a whole new element of strategy, and it’s a lot of fun, unless you’re Sergio Garcia and you hit a 400-yard drive into Barry Burn.
Credit Sergio for getting out of there, though, but he ended up short of the green in a tough spot, and while he ended up with a par putt, it wasn’t an easy one:
That’s a tough one for Sergio, but it’s an example of the kind of factors that are going to be in play all through the weekend. It should be a lot of fun, as it always is.