stats Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels


  This site         Tips

  The Web Google


  Where to Find It

Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business



Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store

Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business




  Arts & Entertainment



   Headline Index

 Other Sections

  Births & Deaths






  Facts & Arguments




  Real Estate









  Food & Dining




  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...


   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site



  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us



 Web Site

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


Answers are probably blowing in the wind for the many Open questions
Practice rounds on the parched Carnoustie course are not getting players anywhere near to plans of action for actual tournament play

Email this article Print this article
Thursday, July 19, 2018 – Page B14

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND -- The eve of the British Open felt like cramming for a final exam, a multiple choice one with no obvious answers.

The wind that blows off the North Sea across the exposed links of Carnoustie has not been the primary concern during practice rounds. Players have a reasonable idea how far the ball travels in the air. They just don't know how far it goes on the ground.

"If you get it downwind and you hit that little flat draw and it gets running, it will go pretty much until it runs into something," Justin Thomas said.

That's not entirely true.

Thomas hit a tee shot on the third hole Wednesday afternoon that rolled across the humps in the fairway and kept right on rolling. It looked as though it would run into a bunker, or maybe even the handle of a rake leaning on the left edge of the bunker. It missed both and eventually came to a stop 232 yards away.

His club off the tee was an 8iron.

Tiger Woods doesn't see many occasions to hit driver because of how far the ball is rolling across tight links grass that looks dead.

It hasn't been this dry since Hoylake in 2006, when Woods hit only one driver all week and captured the Open for the third time. This might not be much different.

"It's just hard to keep the ball in play," he said. "It's going to be an interesting test to see which clubs we're going to be using off the tees, and a lot of it is dependent on which way the wind blows. So the whole idea of these practice rounds is just to get a good feel for what I'm going to do, and then adjust accordingly."

Others are coming to a different conclusion. Because while the links are as fast as ever, the rough is too thin, too wispy to wreak havoc. Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, figures he'll hit driver about half the time on the 15 holes that are not par-threes. Two-time U.S.

Open champion Brooks Koepka is also bullish on the big stick, saying the driver will come out on about eight or nine holes.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth was considering his options on the final day of practice.

On the 415-yard fourth hole, with a bunker on the right side of a dogleg left and another bunker farther out on the left side, he hit a fade over the right bunker. The other option is a long iron that splits the bunker.

And then Spieth had another idea.

"Aim for the four?" he asked his caddy, Michael Greller. He then motioned to the gallery about 60 yards off the tee to scoot back a bit, and Spieth blasted a shot over their heads toward a yellow patch of rough that separates the right side of the fourth green from the 15th tee. There's not enough deep grass to get into trouble.

The answers will start arriving on Thursday when the 147th edition of the British Open - and the eighth edition at Carnoustie - gets started.

"I think there's not going to be one player in this field that has a game plan on Wednesday night and is going to stick to that game plan the whole way around for 72 holes," Rory McIlroy said. "It's just not going to happen with wind conditions, with pins. You start to feel a little bit more comfortable with a few shots, and you might start to take some on.

"Because the golf course is playing so firm and fast ... there's some guys that will see it completely different than the way I see it, and vice versa," he said.

"It's going to be really interesting to see how it all plays out."

Sandy Lyle of Scotland, who won the Open in 1985, gets it started with the opening tee shot Thursday morning. Spieth, who will try to become the fifth player in the past 50 years to win backto-back in the British Open, plays in the morning side of the draw.

Among those playing in the afternoon are Woods, back at the Open for the first time since 2015, and Koepka, who will try to become the first player since Woods in that momentous summer of 2000 to win golf's two oldest championships.

Carnoustie is regarded as the toughest of the links in any conditions, though it rarely sees this kind of yellow-and-brown conditions. The ball still rolls on brittle ground into the wind. Put the breeze at their backs, and some holes will have no more than a wedge into the greens.

Johnson hit a 3-iron and a wedge into the par-five 14th hole, which measures 513 yards, during one practice round. He hit driver into the burn - the one by the green - on the 499-yard closing hole when he arrived Saturday.

The next day, he scaled back and hit 3-wood and sand wedge.

Even so, there is respect for these links.

"If it blows, it's going to be tough," Johnson said. "And with the ball running, it runs right into the bunkers. So you're still going to have to hit good shots, and you're still going to have to play well. The golf course is tough.

The par-3s are tough. Even with the ball running so far, the golf course is not playing easy."

Associated Graphic

Justin Thomas plays a shot during a practice round at Carnoustie Golf Club on Wednesday prior to the 147th British Open golf championship, which starts on Thursday in Carnoustie, Scotland.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main William_Houston Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.


7-Day Site Search

Breaking News

Today's Weather


Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes

Where Manley is going with his first budget



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
Margaret Wente arrow
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game

Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
Mathew Ingram arrow
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
Andrew Willis arrow

Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
Eric Duhatschek arrow
Allan Maki arrow
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
 The Arts

John Doyle arrow
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
Johanna Schneller arrow

Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
Paul Knox arrow
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
William Thorsell arrow

Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page