British Open 2012: Everything You Need to Know About Royal Lytham

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIJuly 17, 2012

British Open 2012: Everything You Need to Know About Royal Lytham

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    Royal Lytham & St Annes will host the 2012 Open Championship this week.

    The Open is the oldest of the four major championships, having held the inaugural event in 1860.

    Over the years the top names in golf have traveled to England and Scotland to compete in this prestigious event.

    Past winners of the Open Championship include: Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes

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    Royal Lytham has had a rich history in the Open Championship and at 7,086 yards par 70 will provide a stern test for the players.

    It is located in the Northwestern section of England approximately 185 miles NNW of London. 

    The course opened in 1886 and hosted its first Open Championship in 1926.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes Clubhouse

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    Royal Lytham is one of only four English courses included in the Open Championship rotation.

    Royal Lytham is a true links style golf course even though it is separated from the coast by some housing, surface roads and a railroad.

    Play is affected by the winds from the sea and it contains more than 200 bunkers, rolling sand dunes, plenty of gorse and severe greens. 

    Tiger Woods has called the rough "unplayable."

    Royal Lytham is the only Open Championship course that begins with a par-3 hole.

    Bobby Jones won his first Open Championship here in 1926, and Seve Ballesteros won twice here in 1979 and 1988. 

    Other winners at Royal Lytham include: Bobby Locke, Peter Thomson, Bob Charles, Tony Jacklin, Gary Player, Tom Lehman and David Duval.

Bobby Jones Won the 1926 Open Championship at Royal Lytham

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    In 1926 Bobby Jones traveled to England to play in the Walker Cup that was held at St. Andrews. 

    He helped the United States defeat Great Britain and Ireland 6 ½ to 5 ½. 

    He had planned to play the following week in the British Amateur held at Muirfield and then return home. 

    Jones lost in the quarterfinals of the British Amateur and was disgusted with his play, but he decided to stay an extra week and play in the 1926 Open Championship at Royal Lytham.

    Bobby was already a proven golf commodity having already won two U. S. Opens and a U. S. Amateur. 

    He was able to post a four round total of 291 and won the Open Championship by two shots over fellow American players Al Watrous and Walter Hagen.

    The 1926 Open Championship at Royal Lytham was his first Claret Jug but he would win another in 1927 and a third in 1930, before retiring from competitive golf.

Tony Jacklin Won the 1969 Open at Royal Lytham

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    In 1969 Tony Jacklin became the first Englishman to win the Open Championship in over 18 years.

    Jacklin trailed Bob Charles in the first two rounds but took charge after a third round one-under par 70 while most of the field failed to break par.

    The weather on the final day continued to be the story and a one-over par 72 was good enough to capture his first major title.

    Jacklin was not the longest guy from the tee but possessed a magnificent short game, exactly what was needed around the difficult Royal Lytham links course.

    He followed his 1969 Open Championship at Royal Lytham by winning the U. S. Open the following year at Hazeltine National Golf Club just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Tony Jacklin played on seven Ryder Cup teams but was best known for becoming a successful European Team Ryder Cup Captain.   

Seve Won Two Opens at Royal Lytham

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    Seve Ballesteros won the Open Championship a total of three times.  He won two of those at Royal Lytham.

    In 1979, Seve Ballesteros won his first major title by defeating Ben Crenshaw and Jack Nicklaus by three shots.

    Seve trailed American Hale Irwin after three rounds by two shots, but he turned in a one-under par 70 in the final round to capture his first Claret Jug.

    Seve won his third Open Championship, the fifth major and final major of his career, in 1988 at Royal Lytham.

    Seve led after the first round firing a beautiful four-under par 67.

    Nick Price slipped ahead of Seve for the second and third round leads.  Seve trailed by two shots heading into the final round.

    He posted a beautiful seven-under par 65 to blow by Nick Price and hold off Nick Faldo.

    As you can see from the these names Royal Lytham rewards shot makers and will identify the best player in the field. 

Royall Lytham Is a True Links Style Course

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    Royal Lytham is not a course that can be overpowered by today’s long hitting bombers.

    Fairway woods and long irons will be used often from the tee box for accuracy to avoid the deep and treacherous bunkers.

     A deft touch and complete short game will be required around the greens and from 100 yards in.

    The front nine plays away from the clubhouse and into the predominant wind.

    The 34-36 par-70 opens with a par-3 on the first hole and has two more par-3's on the front nine. 

    The back nine has seven par-4's, one par-5 and only one par-3.

    Links golf courses are notorious for their unpredictable bounces and odd angles.

    The rough at Royal Lytham will be severe this week.

    The winner will keep the ball in the fairway, hit his approach shots to the safe part of the greens and be able to manage long putts over treacherous bumps and valleys.