CARNOUSTIE’S HOLY TRIN­ITY

HK Golfer - - Divots -

Stretched to al­most 7,500 yards, Par 72, Carnoustie is and of it­self, one of the great tests of world golf and world­class golfers, but there it boasts three mo­men­tous chal­lenges which must be over­come by the man who will ul­ti­mately claim the Claret Jug this month.

1. ‘Ho­gan’s Al­ley’, a 578-yards Par-5, in­vari­ably played into the teeth of the wind, boasts one of the nar­row­est fairways in Open Cham­pi­onship golf. A mere 25-yards in the land­ing area, squeezed be­tween the out-of-bounds fence run­ning omi­nously down the left and a clutch of deep, dan­ger­ous bunkers set to the right.

The hole is where Carnoustie starts to turn up the heat - the op­ti­mum line is be­tween the bunkers and the out of bounds fence. But it re­quires a brave player to aim for that nar­row piece of fair­way. The sec­ond shot is no less per­ilous with a ditch an­gling across the fair­way, and the out of bounds is con­tin­u­ing to be a threat.

‘Ho­gan’s Al­ley’ was chris­tened after the Amer­i­can star flighted his ball well to the left, be­yond the outof-bounds fence, be­fore draw­ing it back into safety on all four rounds of his epic Open Cham­pi­onship vic­tory there in 1953.

2. ‘Spec­ta­cles’, the 14th hole, a 514-yards Par-5, named after a pair of deep, dan­ger­ous pot bunkers ly­ing sideby-side in wait just 65-yards short of the green. Any mis­cued or over-am­bi­tious at­tempt to reach the green in two can end up in a sandy grave, bunkers with sheet, 12ft-high revet­ted faces from which the only es­cape is side­ways or back­wards.

Gary Player struck what he con­sid­ers hav­ing been the finest shot of his life en route to his fa­mous Open Cham­pi­onship vic­tory in 1968. Mak­ing Ea­gle-3 by suc­cess­fully nav­i­gat­ing the ‘Spec­ta­cles’ to just a few feet, driv­ing a lethal dagger into the hearts of his two chas­ing ri­vals, Jack Nick­laus and Bob Charles to win by two.

3. ‘Home’, the 18th at Carnoustie, one-yard short of 500, Par-4, one of the most de­mand­ing fin­ish­ing holes in Ma­jor cham­pi­onship golf.

The in­fa­mous Barry Burn is in play for the drive to the right and left of the hole and also short, with fair­way bunkers cut into the right-hand side and it was here that Johnny Miller lost the 1975 Cham­pi­onship when he took two shots to get out of the bunker.

It was here that the hopes of Jean Van De Velde in­ex­pli­ca­bly ca­pit­u­lated in 1999. Los­ing a 3-shot lead on the fi­nal tee, putting his drive in a watery grave he took three to ex­tri­cate him­self from, leav­ing the door ajar for lo­cal hero Paul Lawrie slip through to take the ti­tle.

And his­tory al­most re­peated it­self in 2007 when Ir­ish­man Pádraig Har­ring­ton twice dumped his ball into the Barry Burn on the 72nd hole when locked in bat­tle with Spa­niard Ser­gio Gar­cía. But a su­perb pitch by the Ir­ish­man to five feet saved a dou­ble bo­gey, got him into a play­off which he sub­se­quently won to lift his first Ma­jor ti­tle.

The links, nick­named, ‘Car­nasty’ when the wind blows and, ‘Car­nicety,’ when con­di­tions are more be­nign is the most chal­leng­ing of all the Open Cham­pi­onship venues

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