Open Championship 2013 blog: Five Talking Points

The Course…
The R&A are confident they have the best conditions and the best Open rota course of recent times.

With the weather set fair and searing sunshine over the opening two days, Muirfield looks at its resplendent best.

The R&A’s Championship Committee Chairman, Jim McArthur, expects the fiery set-up to continue the long list of established winners at the East Lothian links. “It will favour those who can keep it in play from the tee,” he said.

The Players…
Adam Scott says he has learnt a lot from his 2012 collapse over the last four holes at Royal Lytham.

Most notably, the Australian admitted that you have to be ‘tough’ coming down the closing stretch, adding:

“A four-shot lead is not going to be enough if you’re not going to be tough. Four shots can only just get you over the line.”

The Range…
To counter the hard and fast-running fairways and the knee-high jungle rough, there was an air of creativity on the range today.

Driver practice was minimal; instead players were looking for control with a premium placed on long-iron play.

Muirfield’s notorious pot-bunkers have almost become a secondary factor to the rock-hard playing surface.

Peter Dawson…
The R&A Chief Executive was in fine form during his pre-championship press conference, tackling the subject of Muirfield’s ‘male-only’ membership policy with great skill.

Dawson doesn’t seem a man to suffer fools, and too many journalists were trying to find a way past him. Quite frankly, not one of them succeeded.

And another thing…
The annual Association of Golf Writers dinner was held at Muirfield on Tuesday evening where the cream of the world’s golf media came together to celebrate another fine year (yes, Golf Monthly was there).

Highlights included Rory McIlroy accepting his Golf Writers Player of the Year award as well as Padraig Harrington receiving the ‘Open’ award for his respectful relationship with the golfing press.

Our personal favourite was Sir Nick Faldo, who was speaking after being honoured for his Outstanding Services to Golf.

When asked by the evening’s MC and BBC Golf correspondent Iain Carter about his chances this week, the six-time Major winner quipped: “I hear I am 1000/1 with the bookies.

I told my son Matthew to stick a quid on, but to make sure he takes it from his mother.”