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So who does everyone like in the Open Championship this weekend?
The world will watch while the best golfers in the world congregate at Hoylake in the United Kingdom. Royal Liverpool Golf and Country Club is commonly referred to as 'Hoylake', and will take an extreme measure of both talent and patience to conquer it this week (with a splash of luck in there for good measure).
Hoylake is best known for the challenging winds that prevail off of the nearby Irish Sea, forcing players to control and flight the ball accordingly. Lies will be extremely tight all week and players will be forced to deal with unbelievably fast fairways and even faster greens. With the wind blowing it dry's the course right out and makes players lives that much more difficult. It has been speculated that workers have attempted to give the rough a more gnarly and lush look to it, making Tiger Woods -18 from 2006 unattainable.
The Greens at Hoylake are extremely challenging in the sense that players will have to deal with speed changes. On links golf courses you must incorporate the wind into each putt that you hit, and although these greens will roll slower than lets say Augusta, they will be equally challenging. It should also be mentioned that putting in the wind is one of the hardest things to do in golf, and I can assure you that we will see putts within 5 feet missed and the player gesturing towards the wind.
The final thing you need to know about Hoylake is that it like other Open Championship venues, its greatest defense will be the mental strain put on players. Golfers will be faced with awkward bunker shots, bad lies, unfortunate bounces, and challenging situations. It will be the players that can best overcome all of these difficult pressures forced upon them by Hoylake that will have a chance at weeks end. It will the player that wants his name etched in Open Championship lore the most, and is ready to own the moment on Sunday that will hold the Claret Jug.