Royal St George's: the professionals' hole-by-hole verdict

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The Independent Online

HOLE 1

HOLE 1

Par 4 (442 yards)
1993 (last Open at Royal St George's) scoring average: 4.05
Padraig Harrington (Republic of Ireland): The fairway is around 30 yards wide but only half is flat. Stray off the middle and you're in the rough. Three bunkers guard the left side of the green and there is a slope to the right, so if you miss the fairway you may find yourself without a shot in. One possibility is to lay up a long way back and hit a four or five-iron to the green - or hit a three-wood to a plateau on the fairway and use a sand-wedge.

HOLE 2

Par 4 (418 yards)
1993 scoring average: 3.91

Nick Faldo (England): This hole has been playing very long the past few days, but into the breeze it would be totally different. Indeed, they could even have lengthened it. That's what makes it so great.

HOLE 3

Par 3 (210 yards)
1993 scoring average: 3.22

Scott Godfrey (England): This is a green you really need to hit because if you don't there is trouble everywhere. Saying that, the green is a fairly big target to aim at. There will be up to three clubs difference depending on where they put the pin. The worst place would be right at the front because you can't bounce it on.

HOLE 4

Par 5 (497 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.46

Greg Norman (Australia): This hole is playing exactly the same as a par five as it did as a par four for us in 1993. In my first practice round I hit a driver, eight-iron on to the green and in '93 I hit three-wood, seven-iron. So it could have stayed as a par four, even off that new tee. I think it's only 235 to carry it and I know we're not into the wind, but I would say most of the golfers in the field could hit it 235 into the wind.

HOLE 5

Par 4 (420 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.08

Tiger Woods (US): If you hit a quality tee shot and put the ball on top, more than likely you are going to see the flag. But if you play it more conservatively and stay away from the bunker on the left, put it in the right, you're not going to see the flag at all. So it's a difficult second shot, but it rewards you for playing aggressively off the tee on the left side where you have a look at it.

HOLE 6

Par 3 (172 yards)
1993 scoring average: 2.98

Rich Beem (US): With the different conditions and firmness around this green it's going to be different, but playing in wind doesn't usually bother me. I've spent a lot of time doing a lot of chipping and putting and trying to get a feel for what kinds of shots you need out here. This short 'un could prove a test for most of the short game.

HOLE 7

Par 5 (532 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.35

Mike Weir (Canada): For the most part the player must get it in play. You must stay out of the fairway bunkers because if you don't you're pitching out unless you get lucky. You don't have to be long off the tee because you can bounce it in from short. It'll suit the player that's just consistent, hitting the fairway.

HOLE 8

Par 4 (455 yards)
1993 average: 4.25

Darren Clarke (N Ireland): A tough hole depending on which way the wind's blowing. But that's the same for the whole course I suppose. The tee has been pushed back almost 40 yards and two new bunkers have been added to the right of the fairway. The green cuts back into sandhills behind bunkers making a tough target.

HOLE 9

Par 4 (388 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.09

Craig Perks (US): Right of the fairway is the place to be here as the green falls away sharply to the right. Not the most difficult hole to be honest, this should represent a birdie opportunity to cap off the front nine. The fairway bunkers should be out of range even if you are taking an iron off the tee.

HOLE 10

Par 4 (414 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.17

Sergio Garcia (Spain): I played here in 1997 in the Amateur and one of the things that sticks out in my mind most is this hole. I remember it as being straight but now we're playing sort of a big dog-leg. That's probably one of the biggest changes. But I think it's improved.The hole, and the course, is playing the way it should - nice and fast.

HOLE 11

Par 3 (242 yards)
1993 scoring average: 3.17

Steve Flesch (US): The longest par three on the course with bunkers guarding the green. Obviously, you want to find the dance floor, but that might be easier said than done if the wind picks up. The green slopes from back to front and will be difficult to get hole-side travelling downhill.

HOLE 12

Par 4 (381 yards)
1993 scoring average: 3.97

Jim Furyk (US): I think it's this hole as well as the first and 17th where the fairways are going to be most difficult to hit. They're narrow to start with. You can hit a very good shot right down the middle and have the ball carom across the fairway and get in trouble if it lands at the wrong distance. It's a tough hole.

HOLE 13

Par 4 (459 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.05

Nick Price (Zimbabwe): As on every hole here this week, the wind here is going to be a huge factor. There will be a lot of bounce on the fairway and you will need to be on your toes. If the wind does switch around 180 degrees here, you're going to be hitting three-irons when you were hitting driver the previous day.

HOLE 14

Par 5 (550 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.95

Bernhard Langer (Germany): A very tough hole, as I know from personal experience. I went out of bounds here in 1993 when I was fighting it out with Greg (Norman) and my Open was more or less over. The drive is all important on what could turn out to be a birdieable hole.

HOLE 15

Par 4 (475 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.19

Ian Poulter (England): You can hit a great drive, it gets an unfortunate bounce, it runs off the into the rough, it leaves you with a tough second shot, you're coming out of the rough on to a hard green and you can't stop it. There's bunkers everywhere off the tee, but then the second shot is one of the toughest on the course. Anything right of the flag bounces away and anything left is in thick rough.

HOLE 16

Par 3 (163 yards)
1993 scoring average: 2.96

Sandy Lyle (Scotland): Almost completely surrounded by bunkers the green rises back to left. Two holes-in-one on the first day of the 1981 Open were scored with a nine-iron and a five-iron, showing how wind speed and direction can change so swiftly on a links.

HOLE 17

Par 4 (428 yards)
1993 scoring average: 4.25

Colin Montgomerie (Scotland): Only 10 per cent will hit this fairway, I can assure you of that. The ideal spot to aim for is the right half of the fairway. Depending on the wind, I could be playing anything from a fairway wood to a short iron into the green here.

HOLE 18

Par 4 (460 yards)
1993 average: 4.38

Ernie Els (South Africa): I don't know how we're going to hit this fairway, you're not going to do it. It slopes away at both sides. It's a great finish, anything can happen. If we get bad weather this might be the toughest one of the lot.

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