Vancouver Sun

British Open presents tough test with no clear answers


CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND The eve of the British Open felt like cramming for a final exam, a multiple choice one with no obvious answers.

The wind that blows off the North Sea across the exposed links of Carnoustie has not been the primary concern during practice rounds. Players have a reasonable idea how far the ball travels in the air. They just don’t know how far it goes on the ground.

The answers will start arriving on Thursday when the 147th edition of the British Open — and the eighth edition at Carnoustie — gets started.

Carnoustie is regarded as the toughest of the links in any conditions, though it rarely sees this kind of yellow-and-brown conditions. The ball still rolls on brittle ground into the wind. Put the breeze at their backs and some holes will have no more than a wedge into the greens.

“If you get it downwind and you hit that little flat draw and it gets running, it will go pretty much until it runs into something,” Justin Thomas said.

That’s not entirely true. Thomas hit a tee shot on the third hole Wednesday afternoon that rolled across the humps in the fairway and kept right on rolling. It looked as though it would run into a bunker, or maybe even the handle of a rake leaning on the left edge of the bunker. It missed both and eventually came to a stop 232 yards away. His club off the tee was an 8-iron.

Tiger Woods doesn’t see many occasions to hit driver.

“It’s just hard to keep the ball in play,” Woods said.

“It’s going to be an interestin­g test to see which clubs we’re going to be using off the tees, and a lot of it is dependent on which way the wind blows.”

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