St Andrews throws up its own unique challenges and in some of the early press conferences players have spoken of a slightly bizarre-sounding strategy when tackling the short par-4 12th. It’s just 348 yards on the card, but a preponderance of bunkers slopes and hollows, coupled with an impossibly shallow, tiered green means that in certain wind conditions players may well aim for the righthand rough deliberately.
After yesterday’s practice round, US Open Champion and Golf Monthly columnist Graeme McDowell offered this insight: “Yeah, if the wind direction stays the same as it was today, no. 12 is going to be a very interesting hole. It was into and out of the left today, and we actually had to hit our tee shots into the right rough. The bunkers here at St. Andrews, they’re not like normal bunkers on any other golf course because there are actually real penalties. You go to a resort-type golf course anywhere in the world, and the bunkers are probably more desirable than the rough for most top players. On the 12th it’s 260 yards to carry the second set of cross bunkers. I played with Paul Casey and Oliver Wilson this morning, and we all laid it up in the right rough. It’s going to look like a very bizarre play to people, but it’s the only play. You’re not going to lay up and give yourself 180 yards in to a green that’s impossible to hit with a wedge, never mind a 5-iron.”
Those sentiments were endorsed almost verbatim this morning by recent double PGA Tour winner Justin Rose.
So if you see a lot of players in the righthand rough on the 12th come Thursday they may not be playing quite as badly as it at first appears!