It’s the tournament with the most history in golf, established in 1860. Since 1979, it’s been held on the weekend of the third Friday in July. This time around, however, things are a little different at the British Open.
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The traditional term to refer to brutal long grass on the golf course is "US Open rough," as the American championship has become the United States Golf Association’s playground to create the toughest conditions and bring the world’s best golfers down to even par — or worse. However, at this year’s Open Championship, which will tee off Thursday morning at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England, the rough has already gotten a fair bit of attention.
"It’s just that you can’t get out of it. That bottom 6 inches, in some places is almost unplayable," said Tiger Woods after completing his first practice round. "I’ve never seen the rough this high or thick and dense."
In years past it’s been the US Open that has become infamous for its dense rough and generally tough conditions. The British Open, meanwhile, is known for its wider fairways, pot bunkers and dense thickets if you go wildly off the fairway. The British has traditionally been a tournament where low scoring is more feasible — depending on the weather.
Of course, it is that weather which plays such a large role in determining the conditions of the British Open. While two of the past three US Opens have been played under a June Northern California sky, fierce wind, heavy rain and bitter cold can all play a big factor overseas.
But what about Tiger, aside from the rough? Well, he’s won the tournament three times, and in years past his game was considered to be perfectly suited for links-style courses — where he wouldn’t be as penalized for a wayward driver and could take advantage of less-protected par-5s. However, beginning in 2008, Woods has finished no better than tied for 23rd, has missed the tournament twice because of injury and missed the cut once.
Combine that with Woods’ past two finishes in regular-season PGA Tour tournaments — where he won the AT&T National and missed the cut the next week at the Greenbrier Classic — and really, who knows what to expect from the ever-enigmatic Tiger?