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Butch Harmon on Tiger Woods’ Open hopes and challenge of Carnoustie

11:25 pm, 17th July 2018

I’ve been to a lot of Opens at Carnoustie and have played the course a bunch of times, but I’ve never seen this place as hard and fast.

The course being this firm will present golfers with a lot of different problems, even though you would think that it might make the course easier because it plays so much shorter. Links courses aren’t designed to be easy!

Players are hitting six or seven irons off some of the tees to avoid the bunkers, which are totally penal if you get in them, but balls are still catching the downslopes and ending up in them.

I think you have to have a real game plan around here and stick to it, so you have a strategy on how you’re going to play every hole in every different wind condition.

We’ve seen two different wind conditions on the first two practice days and every day is playing differently, so I think the three practice rounds the players get in around Carnoustie will be crucial.

I hope we get some winds this week, because adding a 10 or 15mph wind to these conditions is going to make it very exciting. With no wind, then scoring is going to be low.

If the wind comes, you could see someone shooting close to even par and winning. You would think that may be crazy when the course is this quick, but there are a lot of quirky little bounces out there.

The only thing that I would say is easy about is that there isn’t much rough. You will see drives run on 70 or 80 yards and anything can happen from there, but the rough isn’t too bad to get out of.

I’ve noticed a lot of players have taken the 3-wood completely out of the bag and put in a driving iron, because there’s no real place to hit it around here.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Tiger Woods plays, as this is a very similar setup and very similar conditions to when he last won The Open at Hoylake.

Woods only hit driver on one hole that year and that is still the weakest part of his game, but he will be able to play around that by hitting irons off a lot of the tees. This could be a major championship where he has a chance at.

I think it’s going to be exciting to watch how the aggressive players choose to play this week. You’ll see some do it one way and then others do something completely different, which is going to make this tournament so interesting to watch.

Watch The Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins with the opening round on Thursday from 6.30am, live on Sky Sports The Open.