A hole-by-hole look at Carnoustie, site of the 147th British Open to be played July 19-22. Includes name of each hole, along with the average score and how it ranked in order of difficulty during the 2007 championship:
No. 1, 396 yards, par 4 (Cup): Only the yardage suggests a gentle start at Carnoustie. The best position is on the high, left side of the fairway, which gives a clear view of the sunken green. But contours that Hale Irwin once called the "elephants' graveyard" tend to push tee shots toward the sand hills and bunkers on the right, leaving a blind approach. The green lies beyond a ridge, has a deep bunker on the right and is framed by wild rough on the left.
2007 scoring average: 3.94. Rank: 15.
No. 2, 461 yards, par 4 (Gulley): Braid's bunker is about 230 yards away in the middle of the fairway. The bigger concern are two bunkers right and one to the left. The fairway turns to the right and slightly tightens. The green is long and narrow, measuring some 60 yards from front to back, and is protected down both sides by bunkers, mounds, hollows and rough.
2007 scoring average: 4.13. Rank: 11.
No. 3, 350 yards, par 4 (Jockie's Burn): The shortest par 4 on the course is a classic links challenge because of the accuracy required. A ridge of broken dunes and thick rough dominates the right side. The conservative play is an iron that hugs the left side of the fairway. Jockie's Burn cuts in front of the small, sharply contoured green, which has bunkers on both sides.
2007 scoring average: 4.20. Rank: 8.
No. 4, 415 yards, par 4 (Hillocks): This plays into the prevailing wind and bends slightly to the right, with fairway bunkers just as it turns and Jockie's Burn flanking the left side. The green is relatively flat and guarded by bunkers in the front. It rises into a sharp ridge before merging with the green on the 14th hole. This is Carnoustie's only double green.
2007 scoring average: 3.90. Rank: 16.
No. 5, 412 yards, par 4 (Brae): Bunkers are on both sides of the fairway, and Jockie's Burn crosses the fairway and will get the attention of long hitters. Most players choose an iron off the tee to get premium position to a difficult green. The putting surface is more than 50 yards deep, climbs quickly to a second tier and cuts back at an angle behind deep bunkers on the left.
2007 average score: 4.33. Rank: 5.
No. 6, 580 yards, par 5 (Hogan's Alley): The British version of "Hogan's Alley" because during his victory in 1953, Ben Hogan hit the narrow gap between two central bunkers and a fence out-of-bounds on the left, which is the only way to get home in two. The scariest shot might be laying up to a fairway that was about 15 yards wide. The two-tiered green features bunkers to the right and left.
2007 average score: 4.83. Rank: 17.
No. 7, 410 yards, par 4 (Plantation): The out-of-bounds fence runs down the left side from tee to green, with the right side protected by fairway bunkers at about 280 yards. The green slopes away from front to back, and if the wind is at the players' backs, it can be difficult to hold the green even with a wedge.
2007 scoring average: 4.03. Rank: 12.
No. 8, 187 yards, par 3 (Short): A long hollow running up the front of the green makes it difficult to judge the distance. The prevailing wind from the left reduces the target area on a narrow green set between bunkers left and right.
2007 scoring average: 3.14. Rank: 10.
No. 9, 474 yards, par 4 (Railway): Jack Nicklaus suggested in 1968 that a large mound in the landing area was unfair. It was changed to what is called the "Nicklaus Bunker" in 1975 and remains. The fairway is tight because of out-of-bounds on the left and a drainage ditch close to the right rough. The long green is protected by bunkers, but the heavy lifting is off the tee.
2007 scoring average: 4.23. Rank: 7.
No. 10, 465 yards, par 4 (South America): The wind determines whether this hole is a drive and a 7-iron, or two big hits just to reach the green. Four bunkers on the right and one on the left frame the fairway, and the Barry Burn makes its first appearance well to the left before it cuts across the line of play 30 yards short of the green, then continues close to the right side of the putting surface.
2007 scoring average: 4.34. Rank: 4.
No. 11, 382 yards, par 4 (John Philp): The final par 4 under 400 yards yields a decent birdie opportunity. Most will hit iron off the tee to a skinny fairway with ample bunkering, leaving a short iron to a green that angles away between humps and hollows. Deep bunkers make the target look tiny.
2007 scoring: 3.97. Rank: 13.
No. 12, 503 yards, par 4 (Southward Ho): This used to be a par 5 in earlier Opens at Carnoustie, and it was the second-toughest hole in 1999 and in 2007. The right side features a drainage ditch and bunkers. The approach is through the gap between bunkered mounds to a green set below the level of the fairway. The green is wide but only 20 paces deep, and it slopes sharply from right to left.
2007 scoring average: 4.39. Rank: 2.
No. 13, 175 yards, par 3 (Whins): The shortest hole has a large green that stretches some 40 yards before dropping away at the back. It is squeezed tightly at the waist by bunkers, and a large horseshoe bunker blocks the front of the green, making it tough to judge distance.
2007 scoring average: 2.96. Rank: 14.
No. 14, 513 yards, par 5 (Spectacles): The easiest scoring hole in 1999 and 2007, and only 10 yards longer than the par-4 12th. Only a thin strip of fairway is visible beyond heather, gorse and rough, but there is ample room. Players should be able to easily clear the "The Spectacles," a pair of bunkers some 70 yards from the green. The second shot for those who go for the green is blind, and bunkers to the left and right guard the entrance to the green.
2007 scoring average: 4.55. Rank: 18.
No. 15, 472 yards, par 4 (Lucky Slap): One of the toughest four-hole finishing stretches in golf starts with a tee shot to a fairway that slopes right toward bunkers, which makes the second shot blind over thick rough and sand. The ideal tee shot is to the left, giving a clear view of a sunken green guarded in front by two bunkers.
2007 scoring average: 4.35. Rank: 3.
No. 16, 248 yards, par 3 (Barry Burn): Players should hope for a westerly wind. The narrow, sharply contoured green is almost 50 paces deep and climbs into the dunes. The Barry Burn looms to the left. Jack Nicklaus in 1968 was the only player to get his ball past the pin against an easterly wind — with a driver. Sergio Garcia hit the pin in a playoff in 2007.
2007 scoring average: 3.31. Rank: 6.
No. 17, 460 yards, par 4 (Island): The Barry Burn loops twice across the fairway, creating an island of short grass. Absent any wind, some big hitters might try to clear the second crossing of the burn. The green slopes down from mounds of the left, with three bunkers on the right. Tiger Woods played the hole with two 5-irons downwind, and two drivers into the wind, in 1999.
2007 scoring average: 4.17. Rank: 9.
No. 18, 499 yards, par 4 (Home): This hole might forever be remembered for Jean Van de Velde, who led by three shots in 1999 until making triple bogey and then lost in a playoff. The fairway starts beyond the Barry Burn, which runs down the right, cuts in front of the fairways, runs down the left and then cuts in front of the green. Three bunkers on the right tighten the landing area. The green is guarded by two bunkers. Van de Velde kept his drive inside the loop of the burn. A 2-iron caromed backward off the grandstand railing, his third went into the burn, his fifth into a greenside bunker and he holed an 8-foot putt.
2007 scoring average: 4.61. Rank: 1.