GULLANE, Scotland – A hole-by-hole look at Muirfield, site of the 142nd British Open golf championship to be played July 18-21:
No. 1, 447 yards, par 4: Considered one of the toughest opening holes on a Scottish links for the British Open. Played into a prevailing wind, the tee shot should take on the bunkers down the left side to have the best angle into the green, and there's a new bunker 300 yards out. The green is protected by bunkers on both sides, with a smaller bunker front and to the right. A new shallow depression has been built into the left side of the green.
No. 2, 364 yards, par 4: The shortest par 4 at Muirfield could be reached off the tee in the right conditions, but the penalty is severe. Along with a collection of four pot bunkers short and right of the green, a stone wall that is out-of-bounds runs down the left side and comes within 15 feet of the green. Two of the greenside bunkers have been removed since 2002. A new tee adds 13 yards from the last time at Muirfield.
No. 3, 377 yards, par 4: The fairway narrows severely at about 290 yards off the tee and is guarded by bunkers, thus most players will opt for a long iron or a hybrid off the tee. The view of a green that is 40 yards long is partially blocked by a dune on the right, and the bunkers to the right have been moved closer to the green. New hollows have been added to the back right edge of the green.
No. 4, 226 yards, par 3: This par 3 has been extended by 46 yards since 1992. The tee shot is played to a plateau green that is 40 yards deep and protected by pot bunkers and hollows on both sides. Anything short is likely to run down a slope into the bunker. The course turns clockwise to the east at this point. It was on this hole in 2002 in the wind and rain that some players hit driver off the tee.
No. 5, 559 yards, par 5: The first par 5 starts with a tee shot at a slight angle to a fairway over five pot bunkers on the right side, with two more on the left side if the shot runs too hard and too safe toward the left. The green should be reached in two by most players, although it will be key to avoid bunkers on both sides of the green.
No. 6, 461 yards, par 4: The drive has to cope with a crosswind to a hidden fairway, followed by an approach toward a green that is protected by three bunkers and has Archerfield Wood as a backdrop. New hollows short and left of the green made the flag look closer than it is. The bunker right of the green has been moved slightly to the left.
No. 7, 184 yards, par 4: The hole is uphill and typically into the wind. The slopes on the putting surface are not as severe as the fourth hole, but a slightly inaccurate shot can feed down the slope to the left and into any of the three bunkers, or to the right into the lone bunker. The green is nearly 40 yards long, putting an emphasis on club selection.
No. 8, 441 yards, par 4: The tee shot requires a carry of 280 yards to clear a cluster of bunkers in a fairway that bends to the right. Players might opt for less club off the tee to stay short, leaving a long shot over cross bunkers to a green that falls off at the back and left. A bunker that used to be short and right has been replaced by a new bunker closer to the green.
No. 9, 554 yards, par 5: A new tee extends this hole nearly 50 yards, which also brings out-of-bounds to the left into play. The drive should be placed between a deep bunker on the left and a new bunker 270 yards on the right in the landing area. The green is close to out-of-bounds left and has a cluster of pot bunkers to the right. Barring vicious elements, players should be able to reach this in two for a reasonable birdie chance.
No. 10, 469 yards, par 4: The back nine routing is inside the outer loop of the front nine and runs in an opposite, counter-clockwise direction. A new fairway bunker has been added 290 yards out on the right side of the fairway. The fairway has been shifted, with bunkers moved to the left to reflect his change. The green is flat and partially hidden, with bunkers on both sides.
No. 11, 387 yards, par 4: The tee shot is blind over the crest of a hill to a fairway that has been tightened by an additional bunker some 320 yards out down the right side. The left bunker has been moved to 270 yards from the tee. The approach is to a small, heart-shaped green protected by pot bunkers and with sharp contours.
No. 12, 379 yards, par 4: Only one bunker is down the left side, with the other replaced by a grassy hollow. The bunker on the right has been moved slightly closer to the landing area. The second shot has to avoid a group of five pot bunkers to the right.
No. 13, 190 yards, par 3: The feature on this hole is the green that is 46 yards deep and not more than 15 yards wide at any point and that falls away on both sides toward three deep bunkers on the right and two of the left. Ernie Els found one of them on the left in 2002 and played a remarkable shot to save par.
No. 14, 475 yards, par 4: This typically plays into the wind, making the longest par 4 at Muirfield even tougher. A new tee makes the hole 30 yards longer than 2002, and the fairway narrows at about 300 yards out. The approach is to a plateau green that falls away on all sides. The bunker to the right of the green has been lengthened toward the front of the putting surface.
No. 15, 448 yards, par 4: The hole has been lengthened by about 30 yards and has a tight landing area protected by deep bunkers on both sides of a fairway that bends to the right. The green is known as a camel's back because of the contours. The first bunker left of the green has been filled in, and other bunkers have been moved closer to the putting surface.
No. 16, 186 yards, par 3: Middle of the green is always a good play on this final par 3 where tee shots can fall off the side of the green toward bunkers. Lee Trevino holed a bunker shot on his way to winning in 1972. Ernie Els made double bogey and had to rally just to get into a playoff.
No. 17, 575 yards, par 5: The last par 5 will play about 30 yards longer for this year's Open, though the long hitters should have no trouble reaching in two provided they avoid the five bunkers in the corner of this dogleg. A group of cross bunkers is situated about 100 yards short of the green. The green is set back into the dunes and protected by a narrow entrance with bunkers on both sides.
No. 18, 470 yards, par 4: One of the stronger closing holes in the British Open became about 20 yards longer since the last Open. Three bunkers cut into the landing area on both sides, while the green is guarded by bunkers short and on both sides. The island bunker to the right of the green has been altered to widen the sand area and reduce the chance of an unplayable lie.