July 23, 2007


Memories of '99 British Open Haunt ‘Carnasty' (TONY DEAR, July 18, 2007, NY Sun)

Early indications are that the course dubbed Carnasty eight years ago is considerably more playable this time round, with some players even saying it's actually gone too far the other way and will be too easy. "I think the fairways are very wide, and there's no rough," South Africa's David Frost said yesterday. "It's too lenient. I just think it should have been tighter."

K.J. Choi, who played with Lawrie in 1999 was also surprised to see how different the course looks now. "You can hit the ball anywhere and find it," the Korean said. "You can still see the ball."

The wind, however, will make the course extremely challenging said Choi, who hit a wedge to the green on the 499-yard 18th hole in practice on Saturday and a 5-wood on Sunday when the wind had shifted 180 degrees.

Really, a decent breeze is all that Carnoustie needs to challenge the best, and failing to recognize that was perhaps the R&A's biggest mistake in 1999. Jack Nicklaus, who finished joint-runnerup there in 1968 and tied for third seven years later regards Carnoustie as the hardest course on the Open Championship rotation. He said it's plenty tough enough without any help from a malevolent greenkeeper. Likewise Ernie Els, who tied for 24th in 1999 at 14 over par, says it's the toughest of the lot. "It's got length and it's got great bunkering," he said. "You've really got to have your wits with you to play this golf course, and it seems like the wind always blows here."

Equally impressed are Tiger Woods, who thought the conditions in 1999 took away from the course's status as one of the best in the world, and Mickelson who made three visits last week and came away very pleasantly surprised. "I didn't realize what a wonderful course it is," he said. "It's terrific."

Woods, with two runners-up finishes in the majors so far this year, will be desperate to win and reestablish his dominance over a chasing pack that has seen one or two glimpses of vulnerability from him recently and which seems better equipped to take advantage of those vulnerabilities than it did in 2000, when the world no. 1's brilliance was met with little resistance.

Mickelson, who has shown typically extravagant unpredictability in recent weeks, certainly can win, but he'll have to forget his terrible record in this championship (one top-10 finish in 14 starts) and the disappointment of losing the Scottish Open last weekend in a playoff with France's Gregory Havret.

Pick three golfers and we'll add up their scores--having one miss the cut knocks you out.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 23, 2007 8:00 AM

Okay, I'm in:

Tiger Woods
Vijay Singh
Jim Furyk

Call it "Team Melting Pot"

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 18, 2007 12:33 PM


Posted by: oj at July 18, 2007 2:15 PM


Posted by: pjbbuzz [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2007 2:33 PM

woods, harrington, monty

I've played Carnoustie a number of times and love the course. It is increidbly hard (especially the last 4 holes), but also very fun (as opposed to something like Spyglass which is just hard). Whether you're a 15 handlicap or a pro, there are just so many choices of how to hit almost every shot, and it's interesting/challenging/fun to consider the possibilities. Even if the rough isn't as treacherous as last time, it's very hard to spin the ball from off the fairway, and the greens aren't big...so if you're going to miss the fairway, make sure it's on an angle where you can run the ball in, not fly it.

Posted by: Foos at July 18, 2007 3:23 PM

1. Woods

2. Singh (looks like he worked out a bit & lost some weight and I think he's looking to be a force one last time in his career before he ages out)

3. Mickelson (wrist and attitude willing)

Posted by: ras at July 18, 2007 4:40 PM

The greenskeeper at Carnoustie (John Philp) has been suspended (about 4 weeks ago, over some apparently trumped-up charge from a member).

In '99, his comment after the tournament was "*%$#@^, can't these guys play the low ball?"

Given the way Tiger played Hoylake last year, I think Philp has a point.

Sean O'Hair

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 18, 2007 6:56 PM


Justin Rose

Luke Donald

Posted by: jeff at July 18, 2007 7:16 PM

Woods Toms Poulter

Posted by: JAB at July 18, 2007 9:16 PM

Steve Stricker, KJ Choi, Tiger Woods

Posted by: JimBobElrod at July 18, 2007 9:40 PM

I had Els miss the cut for me the last time we did this. Don't know why I'm picking him again.

Els, Woods, Harrington

Posted by: Bartman at July 19, 2007 6:35 AM