This week, Royal Lytham and St. Annes will play more like a US Open venue than an Open Championship layout.
With thick penalizing rough and over 200 bunkers waiting to devour any golf ball in site, the monstrous track will cause many golfers headaches this week.
While many big-name stars will pack the leaderboard, there will be some that will find themselves scratching and clawing just to make the weekend.
Presented are a handful of golf’s biggest and brightest names that will find Royal Lytham too much to handle.
Seen as one of the top young talents in the game, Johnson has suffered some serious major championship heartbreak, including a devastating loss in the Open Championship last year.
This year, Johnson has found some level of consistency, winning once and finishing in the top-10 four times in 12 starts. However, I am not convinced he will be able to compete this week.
Johnson’s major Achilles heel has been his accuracy off the tee (ranking 151st in driving accuracy on tour) and this week, finding the fairway will be at a premium.
The wet conditions at Royal Lytham have spawned demonizing rough that could rival that of a US Open. Getting out of trouble and in a position to make birdie or save par will be extremely difficult this week.
The former world No. 1 has been a shell of himself since he tinkered with his golf swing after ascending to the top of the golfing world in early 2011.
Martin has an excellent track record at the Open Championship, finishing in the top-15 the last two years. However, this season Kaymer has struggled to score a breakthrough, registering a measly three top-10 finishes on the European and PGA Tours.
Martin’s big issue has come with his accuracy, his greens in regulation percentage has fallen considerably from 73 percent, in 2011, to 68 percent, in 2012, on the European Tour (he’s hitting 58 percent of greens on PGA Tour).
Kaymer’s game is clearly in a transitional phase and it is evident that he is not 100 percent comfortable with his swing. Look for Kaymer to struggle with the playing conditions this week and to have an early plane ride back to Germany.
The reigning Masters champion has a game that could work at an Open Championship; he can work the ball either way, hit it high or low, and he possesses unlimited imagination.
However, he has never been able to put it together at the Open Championship. Watson has only made the cut once in three starts across the pond and only managed to salvage a T-30 with that one made cut.
Bubba is the ultimate bomb-and-gouge player, living and dying by the driver and banking on his power to bail him out.
Like at Olympic Club, where he never seemed comfortable, Bubba will have problems playing his style of golf. Royal Lytham will be just as penal as the Olympic Club, as over 200 bunkers and thick, gnarly rough awaits any errant shot.
Plain and simple, accuracy is not Bubba’s game.
Bubba ranks a sultry 130th on tour in driving accuracy and 119th in scrambling. His ability to put himself into trouble, and his subsequent inability to work his way out, will be his downfall this week.
The current world No. 1 finds himself on this list due in large part to the fact that his major record is awful.
In 12 starts at the Open Championship, Donald has missed the cut six times and has only finished inside the top-30 twice.
This week could pose more problems for the normally consistent Donald, as Royal Lytham will be showing its teeth with heavy bunkering and thick, dense rough.
There will be no room for error and mental lapses, something that has plagued Donald throughout his major championship career.
The sad thing is Donald has all the tools to compete this week; he is 17th in driving accuracy, he is an excellent scrambler, and he is widely seen as the top bunker player in the world.
Luke will likely head home early this week, leaving many to continue to scratch their heads at what is wrong with the world’s top player.
I hate adding this one to the list but a feeling in my gut tells me that 'Kuch' will struggle this week at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
Kuchar has a horrendous Open Championship track record, making only one cut in seven starts.
While his game has taken a dramatic turn for the better in the past couple of seasons, I am hard pressed to believe that he can turn around such an awful history at the Open.
Matt definitely has the game to contend this week. He is a solid driver of the golf ball and knows how to stay out of trouble.
I am not sure, however, he is entirely comfortable playing in the brutal elements often presented at the Open Championship.
If conditions are troublesome, Kuchar could find himself struggling to make the cut and likely on his way out of the United Kingdom quickly.