Woods, Others Call Rough At Lytham 'Unplayable' Ahead Of This Weekend's Open
Tiger Woods labelled sections of the rough at this year's Open course at Royal Lytham "almost unplayable" after his first practice round on Sunday, and declared he had never seen rough "so thick and dense," according to James Corrigan of the London TELEGRAPH. With rain and wind forecast for the rest of the week, the 141st Open seems "destined to be high scoring at the very best." And as soon as Woods saw the condition of the "knee-high cabbage lining the fairways" he decided on his game plan -- short grass only. When asked about the penalty for errant driving, Woods said, "Oh my God. It’s just that you can’t get out of it. The bottom six inches is so lush. The wispy stuff, we’ve always faced that at every Open. But that bottom six inches; in some places it’s almost unplayable" (TELEGRAPH, 7/15). REUTERS' Tony Jimenez reported that defending Open champion Darren Clarke called the rough "absolutely brutal." Clarke said, "The grass is quite thick. It's not quite what we would expect on a links course. It's a little bit thicker than what you normally find" (REUTERS, 7/16). In London, Fraser & Lawrenson reported that although the fairways at Royal Lytham "are more generous" than those at the much-criticized Carnoustie in '99, there are "distinct similarities with the severity of the rough." Stuart Appleby was reported as having lost two balls just a few yards from the fairway on Saturday. Vijay Singh "suffered the same fate" at the 14th hole Sunday as a 20mph wind blew across the course. U.S. PGA champion Keegan Bradley chose not to attempt any recovery shots from the rough, "possibly for fear of injury." Bradley: "It’s very spotty. One foot to the left, you are hitting into the green. Another foot and you are chipping out to the fairway. It’s a flip of the coin whether you’re going to get a good lie or not" (DAILY MAIL, 7/15).
IT'S NOT THAT BAD: In London, Ewan Murray wrote Royal & Ancient CEO Peter Dawson "defended the set-up of this year's Open Championship course" following the players' criticism. Dawson delivered a firm "no" when asked if conditions are unfair. Dawson: "The rough is up but the course is reasonably generous on width and most of the players seem happy with it, at least those I have spoken to, maybe 20 or so. It's nature. Some years we have a dry summer [and] you get wispy rough; in wetter warmish conditions you get thick rough and a softer course. We don't cut the rough other than the first and second cut." Dawson also played down the chance that the Open would fall victim to the wet British summer. Dawson: "We have rain, a wet week but we will cope with it. Our car park contingency is very strong. ... I am not sitting here saying we are not going to have a problem. We might. ... This course has proved itself to recover from rain very quickly" (GUARDIAN, 7/16).