After a superb first spherical at the 2021 Open, Jordan Spieth was relishing the likelihood he has to check himself at the Royal St George’s course in Kent, UK.
However, different golfers are much less satisfied by the delights of playing golf by the sea.
“It’s not my favorite venue that we’ve played. There are quite a few blind tee shots, hitting to nothing, fairways that are quite undulating,” mentioned four-time main winner Brooks Koepka in his pre-tournament press convention.
Links golf is a harsh, distinctive fashion of course which might punish you for the slightest mistake, however a bit like that ice cream by the sea, whenever you sport comes collectively and you get issues proper, life simply appears to style that little bit sweeter.
Often constructed on sand dunes, hyperlinks programs are inclined to have little vegetation besides tall, thick grass which makes up an unforgiving rough for gamers.
Between the lengthy, dense rough and the robust sea wind, the most minute mistake can result in calamity, with numerous gamers’ match hopes coming to a crashing finish over the years.
PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson thought he “was playing well coming into” this yr’s Open having solely lately turn out to be golf’s oldest ever main winner.
However, in Thursday’s opening spherical, the 50-year-old Mickelson completed in joint final place of the 156-man subject after taking pictures a 10-over-par 80.
Despite carding arespectable two-over par rating on Friday, Mickelson struggled persistently along with his driving, consistently having to play out of the thick rough. He missed the lower on Friday and was due to this fact dominated out of playing the Open’s final two rounds.
The six-time main winner admitted after his spherical on Friday that he was having some “challenges staying sharp.”
The “bomb and gauge” approach tailored by fellow American, Bryson DeChambeau — one which has introduced him his maiden main victory and shot him up the golf rankings — was additionally challenged by Royal St George’s.
The 26-year-old DeChambeau admitted his driver “sucked” on Thursday and his waywardness with the membership meant he solely made the lower by the pores and skin of his enamel, and his struggles continued on Saturday.
The Open’s leaders after the first two rounds — Louis Oosthuizen, Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth — have used their expertise with their irons relatively than counting on their drivers and it has paid dividends.
All three gamers have remodeled 77% of the greens over the first 36-holes of the match as they mitigated the risks and traps of the hyperlinks course.
With an Open already to his title, Spieth appears appears like a child excitedly queuing for an ice cream as he showcases some totally different expertise right here in the UK than he would possibly on the PGA Tour.
“It brings a lot of the feel aspect into the game,” he informed the media after his first spherical. “I shorten swings up over here, and hit more punch shots, and stuff that I probably should be doing at home. You get less swing-focused and more shot-focused over here because the second you take your brain off the shot you’re hitting, you may not find your ball.
“Instead of only a driving-range shot in Palm Springs, there’s all the time some shot you need to play that provides you a bit of bit of a bonus. Certain membership choices, based mostly on in case you hit a fade or a draw, they go 15 or 20 yards totally different distances. To sum that up, there’s only a lot of exterior elements over right here, and I feel that exterior is the place I should be residing.”
The second-round heroics of Morikawa — searching for to turn out to be the first man to win each the PGA Championship and the Open on his debut — was totally on the again of his wizardry along with his irons; his dead-eye accuracy negating the pure issues the hyperlinks course presents up.
It’s but to be seen whether or not Spieth or Morikawa can overcome the lead Oosthuizen held at the begin of Saturday, however all three males are testomony that to overcome a hyperlinks golf course, a golfer must have all the instruments in the software bag.
The query now’s who might be celebrating with the Claret Jug — the Open trophy — and who know perhaps even a gelato come Sunday?