Donna White Predicts Carnoustie Links Open Championship Winner
Carnoustie Links the Open Championship Winner,
Say’s KU College of Golf Professor
By Donna White. LPGA Teaching and Club Hall of Fame Club Professional
Golf Program Instructor
Keiser University College of Golf
Another of golf’s “majors” is just around the corner, The 147th Open Championship. Carnoustie Golf Links, located in Scotland will once again play host to the event.
Built in 1842, this championship course has been in The Open Championship rotation since 1931! While my peers are going to ‘name’ a person as the winner, I am predicting the course, Carnoustie the winner! The history and difficulty of this golf course are legendary. Considered one of the most challenging courses to host the championship, Golfweek’s Alistair Tait reminds us it was nicknamed ‘Carnasty’ by tour players when the course previously hosted the event in 1999.
Being a “true” links course, means it is built on the Scottish coast around rolling sands dunes on open parkland. While the fairways of Carnoustie may not be as rolling as other links courses, they are narrow. The course is also long. Lengthy rough (rough water?) brackets the fairways, which are entwined with deep bunkering and large green complexes. Each hole has a unique personality, demanding accuracy, mental toughness, and respect. Combine the elements of Mother Nature, and the ability to score low becomes grueling.
According to many past Open competitors, if the wind is blowing into the player’s face on holes fifteen through eighteen, “Carnasty” becomes home to the most difficult finish in competitive golf. The strategy will be to play hard to score on the first fourteen, then try to “hang on” coming in!
The Royal and Ancient Golf Association, golf’s governing body sponsors and runs this most prestigious event. They make all decisions about course conditions of play and set all the pin placements during the championship. Opens are always difficult. Played on some of the most challenging courses in the British Isles, the R & A is known to stretch the degree of difficulty.
Severe conditions include narrowing the fairways, extending the length, growing the rough even higher, not watering the fairways or greens and selecting severe pin placements. If Mother Nature stirs and the decisions of the R & A remain consistent, Carnoustie will once again be home to a great championship!
To conquer the champion, “Carnasty” will demand mental toughness, accuracy off the tee, smart approach shots and a creative short game. If I did have to pick a player, my sentimental favorite would be my hometown favorite, Brooks Koepka. The current back-to-back US Open champion grew up playing in the Florida winds. His combination of power and accuracy should be advantageous off the tee. Add an imaginative scoring game and smooth putting stroke, and “Carnasty” may just be the place to give him his third major title?