Curtis Strange on the Old Course

Two-time major winner spoke to us about challenges facing players

Curtis Strange at the Insperity Invitational. Credit: Scott Halleran (Getty)

The two-time major winner believes the course could prove more challenging than expected.

Curtis Strange has told Golf Monthly that some players may be caught out by St Andrews when the Open starts this week.

The year's third major begins on Thursday without defending champion Rory McIlroy, who is absent through injury.

The Old Course at St Andrews will host the tournament for the first time since 2010, with Strange, a two-time US Open winner, believing the course could prove troublesome for some players.

"As we all know, St Andrews is not the hardest course in the world because it’s not overly long. But it’s quirky and you have to learn the bounces of certain areas on the course," he said.

"If the weather changes and the wind changes direction, now you’re playing a golf course you really haven’t played before."

Some of the 156-man field have been practising on the course throughout the weekend, but Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both winners on the PGA and European Tours respectively yesterday, will arrive today.


Strange said, however, that the weather could make the playing field level, despite certain players' lack of practice.

"If the weather turns a certain way, I wouldn’t know exactly where to hit it on certain holes. But that’s the beauty of St Andrews."

The R&A's Chief Executive, Peter Dawson, has outlined the minor changes to the Old Course this year, including the removal and introduction of bunkers.

Strange said, though, that some of the same challenges will remain for the players hoping to lift the Claret Jug.

"Two of the toughest little shots around St Andrews are the second little pitch and run into 12, with that little plateau green.

"The little third shot you might have fronting the 14th hole par-5. I mean they’re very steep little ridges or faces and it takes time to get used to that and acclimate yourself on the clubs you’re going to hit and when you’re going to hit them."

Will Medlock graduated from UEA with a degree in Film and Television before completing a Masters in Sports Journalism at St Mary's in London. Will has had work published by The Independent and the Rugby Paper.