The 151st Open: On The Ground at Royal Liverpool

Rory McIlroy, The 151st Open, Royal Liverpool,(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, The 151st Open, Royal Liverpool,(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) /

Preparations on the ground at Royal Liverpool are complete for the 151st Open Championship this weekend. The stage is now set for the first time since Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods won the last two majors here, in 2014 and 2006 respectively.

The perimeter of Royal Liverpool has been completely sealed off as the grounds staff prepare to welcome over 250,000 spectators over the course of the week. There are usually a number of public footpaths running over the course, but these have been temporarily shut down by the local authorities.

Due to space being limited at Royal Liverpool and predominantly being landlocked by the ocean, the players’ practice area is unusually located outside of the course grounds and across the street.

The surrounding area around Royal Liverpool is littered with dozens of temporary road signs to direct the incoming spectators and players alike. Similarly, there are many parking and traffic restrictions in the area to try and ease the stress of so many people attending this small part of England.

A peninsula slightly west of Liverpool called the Wirral plays host to this historic course. Conditions here have been wet and windy recently, with more of the same forecast this week.

Royal Liverpool is perched on the northwest of this peninsula and is slightly protected from the northerly winds from a single road of houses. By contrast, the west boundary of Royal Liverpool is completely exposed and rolls straight down to the ocean. This means that westerly winds whip across the course from North Wales and the Irish Sea.

A westerly wind can be expected in this part of the world and can hit the course at 20-30 mph, and can gust even stronger.

This means that tee shots on holes like 2, 7, 15, and 18 will absolutely fly. Equally, tee shots on holes like 1, 5, 6, and 17 will likely be into the wind and play very challenging.

If the players are facing a westerly wind this weekend, the stretch of holes from 10 to 14 will be extremely challenging as they all run perpendicular to the western coast and will face vicious cross winds. The approaches into 10 and 17 will be some of the hardest of the day in windy conditions for that reason.

Some players will hope the wind picks up as it suits their game well, like Rory McIlroy or Shane Lowry. Others will be hoping for more still conditions to allow them to keep the reigns on their shot shaping and distance control.

Players have been arriving at Royal Liverpool for practice rounds since Sunday ahead of the first competitive round starting on Thursday.

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It’s all perfectly set to be an enthralling championship. The 151st Open gets underway on Thursday, July 20th.