An unbylined (John Huggan?) Scotsman piece talks to Catriona Matthew about what the players will be facing and she has plenty of interesting things to say:
Matthew took the opportunity to reacquaint herself with the sorts of shots you just don't see on the LPGA Tour, where 'hit and stick' is generally the order of the day. Things will be very different on the Old Course.
"A lot depends on the weather, but the hardest thing for the Americans will probably be adapting to the idea of putting from so far away from the flag," she smiles. "All the little chips and pitches will be strange for them, too. Those shots are tough to practise in the States. The game is played far more on the ground in Scotland; over there, almost every shot is flown most of the way. So I suppose I have a slight advantage in that I will 'see' those types of shots more readily than someone who hasn't played in Scotland before."
It quickly became apparent that Matthew and her fellow professionals are going to be, as former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy recently pointed out, "playing the course like we are supposed to." Where the leading men are able to either blow their drives way over the fearsome bunkers, or lay up well short of them, the shorter-hitting ladies will be forced to hit their drivers from most tees and thread their way between the hazards.
"The Old Course is going to be a fascinating test for us all," agrees Matthew. "The bunkers are going to be right in play for us, much more than they seem to be for the men these days. They seem to whack right over them. In contrast, we'll have to 'take them on' and try to manoeuvre our drives between the bunkers. Which is what it is all about around here. It is better to be hitting a wood to the green than be 50 yards farther on and in the sand."
A perfect example of this dilemma came at the 16th hole. Taking her driver, Matthew hit the perfect shot between the Principal's Nose and the out-of-bounds fence on the right. The ball, however, finished no more than five yards from the sand. So it was a risky shot. Her alternative was to lay up short and left of the bunker, leaving a longer second and less friendly angle of approach. That scenario will be fine downwind, but into the breeze, Matthew and many of her competitors will be forced to hit the longest club in the bag from the tee. It will be fascinating to watch and, inevitably, some disasters will occur.