Martin Kaymer, Bernhard Langer and Rickie Fowler shared their thoughts last night on how to handle the vagaries of links golf
The inclement weather has been under constant watch at the 2015 Open this week, particularly this morning, as a persistent deluge of rain kept the players off the course for three and a half hours.
After the first round last night, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler and Bernhard Langer spoke to guests of Open patron Mercedes-Benz, and Kaymer explained something about the mindset tour golfers need not only to endure these unsettling conditions, but to somehow produce championship golf in them.
“The Open is so much about fighting, patience, staying in the tournament and not getting ahead of yourself,” said Kaymer, who compiled a sturdy 71, one under par, in the first round yesterday. “It can be like this in all the majors, but in particular at The Open, because you can get unlucky with the tee times and then you just have to fight through. You can’t feel sorry for yourself for a second. No one is interested in that. You just have to fight your way through to give yourself a chance of winning on Sunday.”
Bernhard Langer added: “You learn to adapt to whatever conditions you find. If you want to be successful on tour then you have to adapt.”
Langer had to hold tough down the closing stretch late in the day yesterday, as the winds picked up, and he finished on 74, two over, with every chance of making the halfway cut.
“On 17 I hit a really good drive,” said Langer, 57, and the reigning Senior Open champ, “but even if I took the driver off the deck I could not have reached the green in two, so I laid up with a five iron and tried to make par that way, which didn’t happen. It was very difficult coming in with the wind off the left.”
Fowler, the new Scottish open champion, offered an insight to how he copes so well with links golf for a golfer born and bred in the sunshine and lush turf of southern California.
“Links is my favourite style of golf,” said Fowler, the 26-year-old who finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy in the 2014 Open. “The golf courses have so much character and there are so many different options to playing a hole.
“I grew up playing on a local, public driving range which was just a 20-acre square of flat property, with a couple of pins out there and a few mounds, so I had a blank piece of paper for learning to use my imagination and trying to visualize different shots. Maybe I would start out shots at one flag and try to bring them in to another.
“Down there the wind tended to blow a little bit in the afternoons so that helped me to learn to play shots into the wind. That has helped me with links golf, and on a links course you can’t always see your target, so you have to be able to visualise your shots in your mind.”
So that’s the secret to links golf – just head to Mureitta Valley Golf Range in Murietta, California.
Mercedes-Benz is Proud Patron and Official Car of The Open.