I had the opportunity to follow Gavin Kyle Green for two hours during his practice round on Tuesday and the reigning Asian Tour number one was soaking it up as he prepares in earnest for what is his Major debut at the 147th playing of The Open Championship this week.
This is what the strapping young lad has to say on links golf and how he is coming to terms with the daunting challenges awaiting him in Carnoustie.
It’s great to have you here in Scotland and what more for your first Major championship. Have you settled in already?
Gavin Green [GG]: This is my first time in Scotland, and apart from the Scottish Open last week, my first real experience of links golf but this feels very similar to Gullane and I’m super excited to experience a Major championship. [In the circumstances he did exceptionally well to finish tied 19th at 11-under par, after rounds of 69, 67, 65, 68.]
So, what’s the big difference about links golf do you find?
GG: You need a lot of imagination and creativity; you can’t just pick a number and hit the club because there are so many variables.
Such as hitting a screamer down the fairway and seeing it kick into the rough?
Because the ground is so firm and the ball is running so far, presumably distance isn’t going to be a problem so you’ll need a particularly sharp short game?
GG: Well, that’s certainly going to be important but it’s still a difficult course from the tee because the ball is going to bounce in unexpected directions, sometimes as much as 40 or 50 yards or even more. It’s going to be a bit of test but I feel that last week was good preparation. And at the moment my short game is pretty good.
Everyone remembers the rough here in 1999 but it doesn’t seem too bad this year?
GG: It’s not terrible rough but if you get into it there’s no guarantee of a par at all. If you miss the fairway on the correct side you often have a shot where you can run the ball up to the green but get on the wrong side and you’re in real trouble.
Carnoustie has a fearsome reputation and I’m sure it is the toughest course on the Open rota but we all have to play it and we all start on Thursday with the same score. ⦿
Martin Vousden is an experienced golf writer and editor based in Scotland, near Carnoustie. A respected member of the Association of Golf Writers, he has served as The ClubHouse’s UK correspondent and columnist since 2012.