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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 August 2005, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Baltusrol beast braced to bite

By Brian Davis
European and US Tour pro

I reckon I'm going to wear out my four iron this week.

This Baltusrol course is probably one of the toughest I've played in a major and is exceptionally long.

With the rough so thick you have to hit the fairway, especially if you're an average hitter like me, otherwise you're done.

And even then you've got a mega-long iron in with your second shot.

If you lay up short off the tee to avoid the trouble, you then can't see the pin, so you have to attack and it becomes a catch-22.

It'll be a great test of golf and will all come down to a simple equation: you have to hit it straight or you're going home early.

Tiger Woods
If Woods plays to the very top of his game, I don't see anyone who can beat him

Lots of courses these days are being lengthened and playing into the hands of the crash-bang-wallop merchants, rather than shortening the courses and making them tougher.

I suppose we have to remember that ultimately we're in the entertainment industry and the crowds want to see players smash drivers off the tee, not irons.

But technology has brought more of a level playing field and the gap is now a lot closer to the top guys, though they are making the most of the new equipment too.

Vijay Singh recently said he'd rather be in the rough with a wedge than on the fairway with a seven iron. In other words, he's happy just bombing it and then pitching to the green.

I'd love to go back to the old equipment for a tournament or two, then we'd really see who has got the touch and finesse.

Fortunately for the rest of us, since Tiger Woods' dominance of 2000, everyone has raised their games to catch him and it's good for golf.

Brian Davis
I feel like a new man - I'm considering renaming myself Brian Davis II

And despite his resurgence this year, we're not here to play for second behind Tiger this week.

That's like saying Michael Campbell needn't have turned up to the US Open, which he eventually won after coming through qualifying.

But make no mistake - if Woods plays at the very top of his game I don't see anyone beating him.

If he stays injury-free, then I think he will definitely break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors, but staying fit is easier said than done.

Woods has already had one knee operation and look at Ernie Els - his knee injury could have been career threatening.

As for me, I'm back in the States after a couple of missed cuts at the Open and the Deutsche Bank in Sweden - I struggled a bit and obviously wasn't playing that well.

But I really love it over here and am considering joining our American cousins in re-naming myself Brian Davis II.

I feel like a new man and am a lot more positive and fired up by the buzz of a major.

As a Brit I'd rather win the Open if I was allowed just one major.

But hopefully I'm not. And hey, I'll take this one any day.

  • Brian Davis files monthly reports for BBC Sport during his season on the US and European Tour.


  • SEE ALSO
    In through the back door
    12 Jul 05 |  Golf
    Fired up by play-off miss
    24 May 05 |  Golf
    Back from across the pond
    11 May 05 |  Golf
    Watching brief at Augusta
    01 Apr 05 |  Masters 2005


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