When most golfers look at the Open from over the pond they think that the game is much more difficult on these courses. Having been over for a couple of tours I can see how it can look this way. But the reality is that the golf courses in the USA are much harder to play. On the links, the biggest hazards are the notorious pot bunkers. They look nasty on the TV, but are playable and avoidable. They are not that big and can be played out of sideways if need be. Water and out of bounds—and trees—are much more difficult to deal with than these little bunkers. Also, water and OB give you a penalty, where with a bunker you can still save yourself.
The long rough you see during the Open is not grown like that for regular play. On the links you are rarely forced to carry anything. There are way more options to play the holes and running the ball is often times the easiest play. So, if you can survive the courses in America, you surely can play on the links. Get over there and have a pint for Coach.
For all of those that say they American players are falling in behind the best in the rest of the world, I say forget about it. Our kids may not be able to do Algebra or manufacture TVs, but our golfers can bring it. The young American guys are coming along nicely and there are tons of them on the brink. Rickie Fowler, Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson—etc, are all strong and very young.
What Watney did on Saturday afternoon is hard to imagine. He carded a 27 on the back side of a great course. Twenty seven? Jack Nicklaus once said that a perfect round of golf would be a 50. Meaning that you would eagle the four par fives on a regulation par 72 and birdie all of the 3′s and 4′s. Twenty seven? Come on Nick– almost perfect.