Woods, Westwood and Donald, @ The Open July 17 2012


Tiger Woods has said he is not worried about any nagging thoughts he will never win another Major, or indeed being number one in the world again. He could accomplish both tasks this week with a win at The Open. He remarked about the many bunkers there are to contend with, knowing that it is almost impossible to get any distance out of them; "At any links you've got to stay out of the bunkers, because you can't get to the green, that's just a fact. If you hit the ball in there, it's going to go up against the face, because it goes in there with some steam, and you're pitching it out sideways or sometimes even backwards. But the neat thing about the bunkers here is how they're raised up so that you can see them and then shape the ball off of them. That's different from, say, St. Andrews, where you can't see a lot of bunkers. But here they're raised up high enough where you can hit a fade or draw and use them as starting points for shots." He also thinks that the unusually soft conditions will not change too dramatically the unpredictability of links golf; " The ball is not chasing as much, so, yes, this is different. It's a slower golf course. Which is something we players are going to have adapt to. We'll have to plot our way around. What will be interesting to see is which way the wind blows because it changes the whole golf course. I've played in two different winds in the three days I've been here. One day I hit driver, 7-iron to the 7th green, and the next day I hit driver, 3-wood and a wedge. So it can play lots of different ways. This is one of the more difficult courses in the Open rotation. As far as shot-making goes, it tests us a lot because we have to shape the ball both ways. It's not like playing Troon where you have right-to-left wind all the way out, then left-to-right all the way home. Here you have a lot of different angles. Lytham really examines your ability to hit shots the proper distances, more so than most links courses." Englishman  Lee Westwood could easily have won his elusive first major by now, had he not hit a tee shot into a tree on the fifth hole in the final round of the U.S. Open at Olympic Club last month. There are no imposing tree's to contend with at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Lee said that kind of thing does not happen too often;

Lee Westwood/ getty images

Lee Westwood " You make your own luck a lot of times, but that was an unfortunate time for that to happen. It's happened only three times in my career; once there when I was only one shot off the lead going into the last two holes in Dubai, and once in a playoff in the Malaysian Open. It's picked its times to happen." Lee also alluded to the many bunkers deep rough; "I think that's part of the game of golf. There should be penalties for hitting it off line. I think my game suits most places, that's why I contend most weeks in Major championships recently. They're the ultimate test, and every aspect of your game has to be strong. I think because they are such a tough test, it's hard to press in major championships. You sort of have to edge your way in there and play sort of conservatively and get in position for the weekend, and Sunday afternoon on the back nine see where you are and then judge whether you should have a go for it or not. I know my game is good enough to win when I play well enough. That's what I try to do. After that it's out of your hands."

Luke Donald/ Reuters

Luke Donald

World number one Luke Donald says watching some of the video clips of the late Seve Ballesteros winning The Open 1979 at Royal Lytham has given him inspiration to win the title himself;

''I have watched some of it, the iconic chip, playing from under the car on 16. I think that should give me some heart, that I've not always been known as the guy who hits it consistently tee-to-green but I have a great short game. I have great skills to get the ball in the hole no matter how I'm playing. Seve was known as someone that would hit it wild off the tee and use his short game to get out of trouble. I've got to go into this tournament with that kind of fun attitude, that no matter how I'm hitting it, there's always a way to make a score"