Links Course Presents Unique Challenge
Clear the trees, bring on the weather, and get ready for some links golf. The British Open is at Royal Troon in Scotland, and it is a typical links course. What does that mean? Tricky shots on a tricky layout, and tricky betting for the British Open.
Links courses are undulating, seaside courses that usually feature nine holes going up the coast and nine holes coming back. They're on sandy soil that won't grow much more than shrubs and grasses. The original links courses, such as Royal Troon, are located along the coasts of the northern British Isles, next to the North Sea or North Atlantic. The weather there is particularly foul in the winter, but can be equally unpleasant in the summer. One thing you can be certain of: wind - anywhere from light to downright debilitating. So you need a game that avoids the wind influence as much as possible. No high lofting shots where the ball hits the green and sticks. And even with good, solid punch shots, there's still more hazard. The fairways are dotted with pothole bunkers, that are near impossible to get out of if you're in the wrong spot. The greens are tiered and range from expansive to tiny. The rough can be exceptionally thick.
Players to Watch
While Royal Troon has plenty of things in common with other links courses, it hasn't hosted the British Open since 2004, so many of the players will be getting their first competitive looks at the course. Two who will not are of course two of the older players who are playing pretty well now, and were in the thick of things a dozen years ago: Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. When The Open was last at Troon, Els played superbly, surrendering only in a playoff with Todd Hamilton for the title. Mickelson was a single stroke behind those two. Of course, that was 2004, and this is now. Still Els and Mickelson, if nothing else, bring the element of knowhow to the challenge of Royal Troon. Others worth a look in betting for the British Open are Rory McIlroy, an Irishman who is playing in his backyard, and Rickie Fowler, who proved his worth in links play in 2014 with a second place at Royal Liverpool.
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