Tiger Woods observed the rough at Royal Lytham and St. Annes is “almost unplayable.” Lee Westwood observed Tuesday the best course of action is to avoid the stuff altogether.
“I’m sure there are some unplayable places in the rough,” Westwood said, according to the Telegraph. “It’s pretty thick and brutal. But if you don’t go in it then you don’t have a problem with it.”
Westwood should know. He lost his ball in a cypress tree – the Janzen tree – at The Olympic Club in the U.S. Open. If he avoids that, he finishes T-4 or better.
Tony Jacklin, the last Englishman to win this championship on home soil at this venue in 1969, sides with his fellow countryman Westwood.
“No matter how unplayable it is, somebody will win,” he said. “You really don’t get the guys who are in with a shout complaining about conditions of golf courses.”
The terse English observations are an oversimplification of the challenge presented by Lytham. There is no such thing as staggered rough in the Open Championship. The ground rises to a player’s knees just 10 yards off the fairway.
Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut at the U.S. Open, experienced that first-hand.
“The rough is brutal,” he said, according to The Sun. “It’s a jungle out there in spots. I missed one right on the 14th hole and it was a lost ball. There are a few really bad spots. If you just go in, it’s OK. But if you go in a few yards, forget it.”
Defending champion Darren Clarke said it will be a short week for the players that cannot keep the ball out of the thick stuff.
“It’s really, really tough,” he said. “If you start spraying the ball around this week, you might as well go home.”