I've just returned from Muirfield where light breezes, sunshine and dicey hole locations mean...trouble.
As you've probably seen on television, several hole locations are on knobs or steep slopes, with players citing the 8th and 18th as major trouble spots while the grass continues to lose moisture and take on the look of marble.
Martin Kaymer called the greens "fiery" before saying, "We'll see what the scores are this afternoon."
Phil Mickelson after the round was even more blunt, noting that "playing early gave us at least a fighting chance."
He explained the hurdle afternoon players face.
"The greens are dying, and the holes are on edges of slopes that the ball just simply won't stay. You drop it, it won't stay by the hole."
Besides the ridiculous 18th hole location, Mickelson said the eighth warrants attention.
"No. 8 is probably the worst one that you'll see if you watch it on TV. It won't stop until it collects in a little level area about eight feet away, six, eight feet away.
"But we got [to] let go of our ego sometimes and just set the course up the way the best players can win."
That comment was directed at the R&A and he clarified:
"Well, hopefully they'll, like I said, let go of their ego and set it up reasonable, but you just never know."
Stewart Cink saw the same issue. "I couldn't believe how fast they were toward the end of the day," he said. "I three-putted on 14, I had about a 35, 40-foot putt and I hit it 15 feet past. And everything on the back nine was just racing past the hole. So in the afternoon I don't think they're going to get any slower.
Ian Poulter took to Twitter to back up Mickelson's remarks:
Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face.— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 18, 2013
**An extensive reply from the R&A's Peter Dawson, quoted by SkySports.com. He admits the setup was driven by the fact the course is playing short. But they don't care about scoring!
"We have the conditions here we really like to have, hard, fast, running conditions and we've set up the course to test the players' course management strategy as much as anything.
"It is part of the links course's defences in this type of weather, the course is playing very short.
"We are obviously very conscious of player comment and we will take it into account when we decide our greenkeeping strategy, just how we are going to set the course up for Friday.