To give you a sense of the conditions golfers will face this week during the British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland, check out this video from Swedish pro Alex Noren and make sure to have your volume on. The ball sounds as if it’s bouncing on putt-putt cement:
Scotland has been experiencing something of a drought in the run-up to the Open Championship, with the locals telling USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio that it hasn’t rained much over the last eight weeks. Thus we have a number of golfers regaling us with tales of improbably long drives that simply do not stop rolling during this week’s practice rounds.
Here’s Brandt Snedeker, who is tied for 135th on the PGA Tour this year in driving distance.
Dustin Johnson did manage to get it into the burn (a.k.a. stream) on 18, a tidy 473 yards away from the tee:
The conditions for this week’s Open are reminiscent of 2006, when Royal Liverpool was similarly baked and brown. The winner that year: Tiger Woods, who used his driver all of once over his four rounds, according to the Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson. Woods, who is playing in the British Open this year for the first time since 2015, said Sunday that “the fairways are faster than the greens,” which have been watered during Scotland’s drought. The fairways have not.
“You’re going to see a lot of guys hit the ball a long way without a lot of club,” said Woods, who hit a 333-yard drive off the 18th tee during a practice round Monday. He used a 3-iron.
Thanks to the bone-dry fairways, the golfers will have to change their approach off the tee, clubbing down in hopes that their shots don’t roll into one of Carnoustie’s many bunkers and berns. Compounding things is the wind, a menace that can alter a golfer’s approach from day to day, if not shot to shot.
There could be some relief with rain in the forecast Thursday night into Friday morning, but it seems unlikely to slow down tee shots that will roll into perhaps uncharted territory.
“It’s very unsettling, very, very different,” David Duval, the 2001 British Open champion who’s back for his 22nd appearance, told Reuters. “Trying to figure out where your ball’s going to stop, it’s just unbelievable.”
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