It is also difficult to argue in favour of the new greens introduced by architect Donald Steel. Amid 15 putting surfaces sympathetic to the surroundings now sit three - the first, second and fifth - that stick out like blue scarves at Anfield. While it is hard to shoot down the R&A's argument that the change to the course running order is all to do with the strength of the finish, suspicion lingers that the inappropriateness of the new greens was also a factor in the decision.Doug Ferguson offers the American perspective on Hoylake heading in the practice rounds.
Phil Mickelson got his first look at Hoylake a week after his collapse at the U.S. Open. Mickelson has been cramming for majors over the last few years, taking eight hours for each practice round to study every nuance, figuring out whether he needs two drivers or four wedges.Tim Glover tries to figure out who will be the next surprise American winner of the Open.
"I think it was really important that I went over," Mickelson said. "I thought I knew what types of shots were going to be expected at Hoylake. They're totally different. I thought I was going to be hitting certain shots, and I'm not going to go into detail because I'm going to let everybody else figure it out."
So who will be the man from nowhere, the stranger to strike fear into Hoylake? America has any number of bounty hunters lurking in the undergrowth, including J J Henry, who qualified by winning the Buick, Sean O'Hair, Bart Bryant, Brett Quigley, Brett Wetterich, Ben Crane, Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan, who all sound as if they have been made up by Raymond Chandler.Matthew Goodman files an extensive profile on Nick Faldo for The Sunday Times.
While James Corrigan has this bizarre story about Ian Woosnam and his plans to text message players to find out who they want to play with in the Ryder Cup and why.
For only the second time in 25 years, Ian Woosnam will not be at The Open, but as the incumbent European Ryder Cup captain the Welshman will still be in the news. And the revelation that he is going to employ revolutionary techniques in forming his pairings will be raising eyebrows as the field gather.Take that Hal Sutton!
"I'm going to be texting the players," said the 48-year-old. "I'll ask them, 'Can you text me the three players you'll prefer to play with, and why?' I care about their opinions and want the truth. I'll take players' advice on board and be very much a players' captain. But everybody should be prepared to play with anybody and if they don't, that will create a rift straight away."