Roundup: Final Reads And Notes For The 2017 Open

After the bleak forecast almost was proven wrong, an afternoon storm dropped some moisture on the firm fairways of Royal Birkdale. The weather forecast remains bleak unless you like to see wind and rain.

The latest odds.

Bob Harig wonders if length matters and talks to players on both sides of the aisle. Bill Haas had this to say:

"You can play as safe as you want, but then your next shot is that much tougher to the green,'' said Bill Haas, whose tie for ninth last year at Royal Troon was his best Open finish. "Can you compete by hitting short irons off tees? Yes. But I remember Louis Oosthuizen when he won at St. Andrews [in 2010]. He hit driver everywhere. Just piped it. He hit sand wedge into every hole. No wonder he won.

Brandt Snedeker has withdrawn from The Open with a rib injury. James Hahn gets in.

Brian Wacker on Paul Casey's cycling preparation and contentment with his life.

The players are noticing the bunker difficulty, namely the heavy sand and potential for awkward stances. Brentley Romine with the social media round-up.

The R&A press conference elicited a few bits of news. Drug testing is in, reviewing the anchoring ban is not.

Bradley Klein takes you hole by hole at Royal Birkdale.

David Dusek on the emergence of driving irons this week.

Driving irons used to be fairly standard on the PGA Tour, but they started to vanish in the 1980s. The popularization of hybrids in the 1990s and 2000s pretty much were the nail in the coffin for 1-irons and 2-irons. And as clubs and balls improved with technology – and lofts became stronger on iron sets – strong players were hitting their 3- and 4-irons as far as the previous generations hit 1-irons, anyway.

Maverick McNealy says his game is trending in the right direction and he's likely turning pro later this year, Ryan Lavner writes.

Rory McIlroy made anintriguing remark in his press room interview today, Jeff Babineau notes in his Golfweek story considering McIlroy's chances.

“I want to win this week. I don’t need to win,” he said. “A second Open Championship isn’t going to change my life. But I want to win. I’m still as ambitious now as I was starting off my career, if not more so now because I know what I’ve achieved and I know what I can achieve. So it only makes you want to do that even more.”

If you'd like a little history, Michael Bamberger considers the influence Arnold Palmer's 1961 win here had on The Open.

I filed this piece on The Artisans and their fourth green clubhouse. Nothing like clubs within a club!

This Todd Lewis helmed live piece offered a rare look inside the Birkdale clubhouse. Really cool stuff!

And I visited the food vendors...

And one more reminder for US viewers, all of your telecast times here starting with Wednesday's Midnight Drive at 9 pm PT and leading into Open coverage that commences for 14.5 hours at 10:30 pm PT.