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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 July 2007, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Ken Brown on golf's toughest test
Ken Brown
Ken Brown
BBC golf expert

The 18th hole at Carnoustie


Sometimes the 18th hole is played as a par five, but for Tiger Woods and co it will be a long and brutal par four this year.

With the wind in your face the Barry Burn is in play on the drive and second shot.

The clock is basically the target line but it is a bit dependent on the wind and what club you take.

It is a funny drive because you are never sure what the right shot is.

If you take a three wood to avoid the fairway bunkers then you bring the stream into play on the right side. It is a big hook to find the burn on the left but it can be done.

This hole will forever be remembered for Jean Van de Velde's collapse in 1999

Alternatively if you take a driver you are playing to a narrower point of the fairway - about 20-23 yards - and you are in danger of finding the three bunkers on the right.

Wherever you are aiming it is a narrow landing area, but you have to try to get it up as far as you can so you have a shorter iron for your second shot.

If you hit a poor drive and the wind is in your face you are in a position where you might have to just chip your second down the fairway and play it as almost like a par five.

So that puts added pressure on you as you stand on the tee.


If you get a good drive away the players will be looking at a five or six iron, but they still have a lot of dangers to take on.

The out of bounds fence six yards to the left of the green will be in the back of their minds.

There are also two bunkers protecting the front of the green. If you hit a defensive tee shot or end up off target then you have some scary hazards.

Anything but a good lie means you are probably going to have to lay up short of the stream.

The bunkers on the right of the 18th gather in the ball and will leave an awkward stance.

They are splendid bunkers - real hazards that you can get out of but you are not going to progress too far. They are not bunkers you can take a four wood and put it on the green - it is a case of hitting a nine iron and getting back into play.

A view of the 18th hole at Carnoustie


If you take a cautious approach you are basically playing to make a four or five - a birdie does not come into the equation.

If you can fly the stream then there is a nice flat landing area short of one of the deepest greens on the course.

It is quite a soft area so the ball will not shoot onto the green like some links holes but it provides a bit of a safe haven.

HOME IN 1999
Average score was 4.45
35 birdies
235 pars
140 bogeys
39 double bogeys
7 other
There is a big grandstand around the green and avoiding them is always in the back of your mind.

This hole will forever be remembered for Jean Van de Velde's collapse in 1999.

Van de Velde got lucky to avoid the burn on the right with his tee shot. He then took a club he thought could clear the burn and go far enough down the right to be safe somewhere.

But that was not the case and he finished with a seven. He had a bit of misfortune but he could have played it differently and still made a six.

He is not the only one to come a cropper here. Johnny Miller took a risk out of one of the bunkers at the previous Open at Carnoustie in 1975 and it ended up costing him the title.

The class of 2007 have been warned.




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