Emphasis will be on accuracy as Open returns to Royal Lytham & St. Anne's
The world's best golfers will arrive in Lancashire this month as the Claret Jug and the Open Championship head to the links of Royal Lytham & St Anne's, from July 19-22.
The famous trophy returns to the Lancashire links for the first time since David Duval's victory 11 years ago.
While Royal Lytham & St Anne's is a fairly short course by today's Championship course standards (less than 7,200 yards), no streams, lakes and with the sea barely visible for much of the course, players teeing up there can still expect a severe, but fair, test of golf.
One-thing players will see a lot of around the famous course is bunkers, well over 200 of them in fact, and most, if not nearly all are small, deep and very unfriendly.
With an average of about 12 bunkers per hole the emphasis will be on accuracy as if you are unlucky enough to find one of the traps on the fairway you can kiss goodbye to any attempts at the green - a simple splash out is the standard shot here.
Despite being set back from the sea you can be sure that the strong sea breeze will still play a major part in the Open, so expect to see a few shots going wayward.
Royal Lytham & St Anne's was the scene of one of the greatest Open triumphs when the late, great Seve Ballesteros claimed victory in 1979, thanks to a combination of brute strength, deft putting and most importantly a huge slice of luck in finding his ball in trampled-down broom, scrub willow, bluebells, heather and a car park.
His famous shot from the car park on the 16th summed up the legendary Spaniard's tournament as he made a birdie despite being so far from the fairway in the final round to all but seal his victory.
Two players who stand out as main contenders for the claret jug are Tiger Woods and Luke Donald.
Both players have the unique ability to plot their way around the toughest of courses and their excellent short games should ensure they are involved in the shake up for this year's open.
One local player who has great each way prospects is Michael Hoey.Last year's Dunhill champion has a proven track record on links courses and his odds of 150/1 could offer great each-way value.
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This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 12 Jul 12