Having been up here for three days now, what?s clear is that Carnoustie bares no resemblance to Hoylake. The brown, parched fairways of last year have been replaced by the sort of electric green grass that’s far more akin to the average Tour event. But what affect will this lush links course have on the way The Open is played?

Well, Carnoustie measures around 7,400 yards and as the fairways and greens are soft (even by Tour standards), this will be a long old slog. You can expect to see players hitting plenty of 3 and 5 woods into greens having pulled out the driver off the tee. Tiger only hit his driver once last year and won ? he?d struggle to make the cut if he did the same this time. But this is The Open after all and it isn?t supposed to be easy. The only let up comes on the relatively flat greens. The implication here is that this year?s winner might not have to be the best putter in the field.

As for the rough, it is certainly fierce. However, where this year?s layout differs to 1999 is in the generosity of the fairways. There is a bigger margin for error than in ?99 but if they do consistently hit the ball in the rough, the players will simply not reach the greens.

So far the practice days have thrown a bit of everything at the players. Wind, rain and perfect sunshine have all been on the menu this week and the forecast is for it to remain unsettled. The good news for the players is that they shouldn?t encounter anything that they haven?t already seen and prepared for.

This year the Championship committee have presented a Carnoustie set up that meets all the criteria required to become a great course. It?s tough and uncompromising but not unfair. It?s in perfect condition showcasing the very best of British links land. But, most importantly, it?s exciting. Whoever can make it through the last three holes on Sunday in tact will deserve his place in golfing history.