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HOYLAKE, England – A hole-by-hole look at Royal Liverpool, site of the 143rd British Open to be played July 17-20, with the hole ranked in difficulty in 2006:
No. 1, 458 yards, par 4: A 280-yard drive is required to take the fairway bunkers out of play. The right side of the fairway is preferred because it gives a better view of the green as it angles away to the left between two bunkers at the front and one to the back left.
2006 rank: 7.
No. 2, 454 yards, par 4: A new tee has been added, extending the hole 18 yards from 2006. Four bunkers have been removed from the landing area and now features three bunkers. Three bunkers protect the green, which slopes away on both sides. This is the 18th hole for members, but it was deemed too weak for a closing hole for the Open.
2006 rank: 3.
No. 3, 426 yards, par 4: Perhaps the scariest tee shot of all at Royal Liverpool, with the prevailing wind out of the left, a dogleg to the right and out-of-bounds down the entire right side of the hole. Taking it over the dogleg is to risk going through the fairway. There are no bunkers, though the green is close to the out-of-bounds and a swale on the left side of the green has been deepened.
2006 rank: 8.
No. 4, 372 yards, par 4: The shortest par 4 at Royal Liverpool requires a tee shot down the left side of a narrow fairway, staying short of two pot bunkers, to open up the second shot to a green built on the edge of the property. The green slopes to the back and it guarded by four pot bunkers.
2006 ranking: 11.
No. 5, 528 yards, par 5: A good drive should set up a birdie opportunity, although the approach is into the prevailing wind. A dogleg that bends sharply to the left with gorse bushes to the left and fairway bunkers on the right side, along with a bunker on the inside of the dogleg. The green is heavily contoured protected by a new bunker to the right.
2006 ranking: 16.
No. 6, 201 yards, par 3: The wind typical is into the player and from the right, so a long iron might be needed to a reach a long, narrow green that slopes from back to front is guarded by bunkers on both sides. Particularly troublesome are the bunkers left of the green.
2006 ranking: 6.
No. 7, 480 yards, par 4: A new tee for 2014 will make this hole play 27 yards longer. The landing area is protected by bunkers and deep rough on both sides. The aggressive play is down the right side to leave the best angle to the green, which is slightly hidden. A tee shot too far left means the approach likely has to contend with two bunkers guarding the front of the green.
2006 ranking: 5.
No. 8, 431 yards, par 4: This plays into the prevailing wind and requires a slightly blind tee shot over bushes to a landing area with gorse on the left and a bunker to the right. The second shot is straightforward to large green protected by three bunkers.
2006 ranking: 13.
No. 9, 197 yards, par 3: The green is narrow and set beyond two bunkers on both sides of the entrance. The bunker on the right has been reduced in size and designed to collect shots that are slightly off. The wind typically is from the left, and the green is surrounded by humps and hollows.
2006 ranking: 11.
No. 10, 532 yards, par 5: Out-of-bounds looms down the left side of the fairway, especially with the prevailing wind coming from the right off the Irish Sea. There should be a chance for birdie if the player can avoid the lone bunker at the front right of the green and a deep swale on the left. The putting surface falls away to the left. The hole is called "Far," not so much for its length but it's the farthest point from the clubhouse.
No. 11, 391 yards, par 4: This is the first of four holes that run along the shore of the Irish Sea. It is called "Punch Bowl" because the green is surrounded by dunes on all sides, with the putting surface angled sharply to the right. The bunker behind the green has been removed, and the two front bunkers have been repositioned to cut into more of the putting surface.
2006 ranking: 10.
No. 12, 447 yards, par 4: This was the hardest hole in 2006. The sloping fairway tends to throw the ball to the right toward two bunkers as the hole turns left toward a raised green, which is surrounded by mounds and hollows. The green slopes sharply to the front.
2006 ranking: 1.
No. 13, 194 yards, par 3: The green is set well back among the dunes and is oblong in shape, so club selection will be critical to get the tee shot within birdie range, and the sand hills block the left side of the green. A lone bunker protects the front right side. The tee was raised to preserve the length, and a new swale separates the back of the green and dune beyond it.
2006 ranking: 9.
No. 14, 454 yards, par 4: One of the toughest driving holes, this sharp dogleg to the left has bunkers on the inside of the dogleg and to the right side of the fairway. The green drops away into a hollow on the right, and two bunkers are positioned some 30 yards to the left of the green. The approach has to be hit over the side of a hill to the narrow green. Tiger Woods holed out for eagle in the second round in 2006 with a 4-iron.
2006 ranking: 2.
No. 15, 161 yards, par 3: The hole looks simple enough from an elevated tee, but it can play with the wind, making the green difficult to hold. And the putting surface is surrounded by five bunkers, making recovery difficult for anyone missing the green. Richard Sterne made an ace in the second round in 2006.
2006 ranking: 14.
No. 16, 577 yards, par 5: This was the easiest hole at the last Open. Should be plenty of birdies with the wind at the player's back, provided the tee shot can thread bunkers on the left and thick grass on the right. More bunkers on the left protect the green, with a deep, grassy hollow on the right side. Thursday on this hole in 2006 was the only time Tiger Woods hit driver. He found the fairway — the 17th fairway.
2006 ranking: 18.
No. 17, 458 yards, par 4: Bunkers to the left and right off the tee demand an accurate tee shot, and more bunkers guard the front of the two-tiered green, with wind likely coming into and from the left. This probably is the last chance a player will drop shots.
2006 ranking: 4.
No. 18, 551 yards, par 5: The only British Open course still in the rotation that ends with a par 5, this could yield birdies or big numbers. The green can be reached in two with the wind in the players' favor, but there is out-of-bounds down the right side that will threaten the tee shot and the approach to the green. There are three small bunkers left of the green, and others cutting into the right side of the green. A swale has been created at the back left of the green.
2006 ranking: 15.