2011 Open Championship Clippings, Round 2

Another strange day at Royal St. George's as the hole locations appeared to prevent anyone from going super low and the weather wasn't bad enough to make anyone go super high, so we have just a seven shot differential from the leaders to the bubble boys. And according to Steve Elling, who tries to make sense of the "biblical" weather forecast, four players are within three shots of the lead.
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2011 Open Championship Second Round Open Comment Thread

Day one's late afternoon excitement means many of the leaders will be teeing off an hour that I can best describe as several before I awake, but I know you'll already have many shrewd observations by the time I log on.

I'd post the weather forecast, but we know how well that turned out Thursday.

The Hole To Watch: Royal St. George's 14th

With the bizarre practice round winds, Jim McCabe notes that No. 14 played unusually short.

The only par 5 back on the homeward holes, No. 14, seems a pushover based on the yardage – 547. But there’s out-of-bounds down the right side and some 300 yards out is the “Suez Canal,” a burn that cuts through the middle of the fairway. With the hole playing dead downwind Tuesday, the sensible tee shot was a 4- or 5-iron to get it out there 250, 260 yards and not bring the water into play.

Dustin Johnson did just that, but then he re-loaded and gave it a go. His first attempt with the driver found the burn, but his second cleared it on the fly, much to the delight of a marshal who stood there in amazement.

Regardless of the wind, expect 14 to once again play a pivotal role in the championship: OB, water, a bumpy landing area and sound strategy make it fascinating. Though I'm not a fan of OB as a hazard, it is a course boundary and ample width is allowed to avoid it on No. 14. 

A few photos taken a year ago when I visited Royal St. Georges. Click on the images to enlarge:

The Royal St. George's tee markers and yardage boxes.

Extending the tees means players are driving over the back of No. 13 green.

The player's view with the excessively marked out of bounds down the right.

Mounds in the fairway will deflect drives, unless you can bomb it over them, a huge advantage.

The OB is certainly not a secret!

A burn dissects the fairway.

The view after the burn shows fairway bunkers that add interest for those laying up.

The closer one flirts wit the out of bounds, the better the angle of approach to all hole locations.

2011 Open Picks And Other Punting Tidbits

Gambling on The Open is part of the tournament's essence, so even though this family values website does not condone such heathenness, as a full service blogger I'm obligated to steer you to helpful information from your fellow mongrels.

The Ladbroke's odds are here, with favorites Rory McIlroy (8-1), Lee Westwood and Luke Donald (12-1).

BetRepublic looks at some of the more intriguing "matchup" bets.

Jim McCabe makes this key point about the weather and the potential for an unlucky draw.

While dry and partly sunny weather is predicted for Rounds 1 and 2, the wind is expected to pick up as things go along, to the point where by Friday afternoon, it could be ripping at perhaps 25 mph.

Studying such news, none other than Harry “The Hat” Emanuel suggests we could have a situation similar to last year at St. Andrews, where those who had benign weather Thursday morning had fierce conditions Friday afternoon and saw their chances blown away – most notably Rory McIlroy (63-80) and Ernie Els (69-79).

Ian Chadband talks to host pro Andrew Brooks, who has some interesting insights into what kind of attributes the Royal St. George's favors, with a shock pick for the win.

Steven Rawlings gives one punter's perspective at the Betfair blog, seizing on the lack of rough to advocate some of the longer hitters.

Golfweek posts 20 players to watch.

Jeff Rude bats arounds some names and seems to like Jason Day along with talent over experience.

PGATour.com's expert picks includes one Ben Curtis selection.

Golfobserver's Sal Johnson has crunched the numbers and offers his selections.

Players Praising Royal St. George's, R&A

I've noticed a recurring theme in a few stories about the course: the R&A addressed complaints by widening fairways and keeping the rough tame. Uh, let's give credit where credit is due: the Golf Gods have kept Sandwich dry and therefore, at least based on the player comments I could find, the course is going to present itself well thanks to the lack of tall grass lining the fairways that has become an R&A staple to slow down swelling driving distances.
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Dawson's Theory Validated!*****

The higher the ball flight, the worse the landing on a fairway hillock, goes Peter Dawson's theory revealed yesterday in a story by John Huggan.

Now Mike Stachura has tracked down a professor who confirms. Fasten your seat belts!

But here's the bit that justifies Dawson's explanation of projectile motion. Basically, a projectile like a golf ball has two velocity components, a horizontal one and a vertical one, as Martin Brouillette, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Sherbrooke and a member of the Golf Digest Technical Panel explains: "Assuming two cases with the same landing velocity but with different landing angles, the case with the steeper landing angle has a smaller horizontal velocity component, therefore a greater vertical velocity component. This greater vertical velocity component, upon interacting with a tilted landing surface, is more likely to produce a greater sideways velocity component."

Therefore, play the stinger...less sideways velocity component. Oh wait.

***** Stachura writes:

Of course, a ball that's rolling over those awkward angles is going to be dramatically affected; one that's flying by those humps and bumps won't be bothered by them at all.

Maybe we could read more about this theory in the USGA/R&A ball study? After all, we're 8 years in, I assume this theory is covered?

Dawson: Today's Higher Trajectory Means More Extreme Bounces!?

The beautiful undulations on the 17th fairway at Royal St. George's. (click to enlarge)John Huggan defends Royal St. George's but shares this peculiar theory of R&A in-house course designer Executive Secretary Peter Dawson, talking about the many harsh bounces found at Sandwich in 2003 and how the R&A has widened out the course since then to address player complaints.
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