Now competing basically full-time in the US, the Dunhill represents for Ollie a rare opportunity to escape the seemingly-endless tedium of life on the PGA Tour. Never a fan of American culture, the proud Basque, one of golf's most accomplished shot-makers inside 150 yards from the hole, is increasingly frustrated by the on-course sameness that he endures almost every week.
"What I don't like is that there is less artistry in the game now," he sighs. "And the set-up of the courses contributes to that. When you have rough that is five inches high, not even a magician can create shots.
"I do believe players still have the skill. They can shape the shots, hit them high or low. But we don't find ourselves in situations where creativity is encouraged. As technology has advanced, players have hit more and more fairways, so the courses have adjusted. One seems to have led to the other, in an attempt to keep scores up.
"Now we have rough right up to the edge of the green. There is no imagination in that. All the long grass hurts people like me. I don't mind rough off the tee so much; there should be a penalty for being in the wrong place. But around the greens, it is silly. You can hit a shot to 15 feet from the hole and be just off the green, and another guy can hit to 45 feet, but on the green. He has the better chance. That is not right.
"They kill off imagination. There is only one shot. You don't have to think. Miss the green? Give me the 60-degree wedge, and I'll flop it up there. All the touch and finesse is gone.
"The great sadness is that you can make courses just as difficult - and so much more interesting - without any rough. And there is no need to have courses that are 7,500 yards long. I look at guys like Justin Leonard and Corey Pavin and wonder how they can compete most weeks. I'm not sure we are on the right path. Courses are getting longer and longer, and we see fewer and fewer where length is not the biggest factor in success. Which doesn't make it fair for everyone."
Seaside golf is held to be the best of all because it is associated with gently moving undulations…To be able always to stand true to our ball can have an enormous influence on the truth of the stroke, and this explains much of the difficulty of the greater links and their suitability for the most exacting tests of all.It also possibly explains the failures of players who are undoubtedly fine stroke producers but minimize their chances by spending their days on their own park or otherwise artificial courses. H.N. WETHERED