Rain will make Lytham rough twice as tough

Sam Torrance
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WEATHER can play a huge part at the Open, and if the heavy rain and strong winds forecast appear at Royal Lytham this week then some players could enjoy a big advantage.

Rain on its own can soften up a course and make it a little bit easier to play, but if the 25mph winds being talked about arrive and it starts lashing down then it will be tough.

Players may be in trouble if they miss fairways, as rough becomes twice as severe with any rain at all. In wet conditions it becomes knotted, making it very difficult to get a club through.

We’ve heard Tiger Woods describe the rough as “unplayable”. I don’t have a problem with it being that tough as long as the fairways are wide enough to hit. It means there is more emphasis on golf.

If, as expected, the weather starts terribly today but improves then those starting early, such as Woods, face a massive disadvantage.

In some respects the climate should favour Europeans over Americans – we certainly handle the cold better. Rain can be combated with waterproofs, but if it’s cold you can’t hold onto the club and that’s where Europeans hold a distinct advantage.

Many players get pissed off by bad weather, but two I’d back to shrug it off are Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington. Westwood is so good it won’t affect him while Harrington thrives on the worst conditions; he wouldn’t be a bad tip.

Finally, congratulations to Roger Chapman on adding the US Senior Open to his USPGA title. He now has a great chance to finish No1 in America in 2012.

Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. He has won 21 European Tour titles in a 40-year career. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam