CARBON’S DP World Tour ambassador Richie Ramsay will be proudly flying the Saltire in a star-studded 156-strong field at the 151st Open Championship which gets under way at Royal Liverpool on Thursday.
The Aberdonian came tantalisingly close to a fifth Tour victory at the recent Made in Himmerland event in Denmark before teeing-up on familiar territory in the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. We caught up with Richie during his hectic schedule to chat about Hoylake and beyond.
“I played Hoylake a long time ago, but it has changed significantly over the years. The routing is different now and they have added four new greens.
“Having qualified automatically by my top 20 finish last season in the Race to Dubai I made a point of visiting for a couple of days back in March.
“Obviously the course wasn’t set up the way it will be this week but it gave me an idea of what to expect.
“The Open is such a busy week that having some time on your hands is essential.
“Obviously you want to get in some practice rounds before the tournament starts but conserving energy is important.
“My early impression is that there’s a lot of what I’d call symmetrical defence off the tee.
“By that I mean there’s a lot of fairways flanked by bunkers. You can almost draw a box on four or five of the fairways and you really don’t want to be going there because, inevitably, you’ll find the sand and it will cost you a shot.
“There’re a few holes where if you really shift it off the tee you can take an element of the strategy out of the play. You can see how Tiger and Rory have both won there in the past.
“Rory just took it over the bunkers in 2014 and in 2006 Tiger laid up short.
“I’ll certainly have to plot my way round, be patient but at some point I’ll have to attack it. It’s about getting the balance right between reining it in and knowing when to put the foot down.
“Inevitably, as at any Open Championship, the weather on the links is going to be a huge factor in the scoring. Everyone will be keeping an eye on the forecast.
“Qualifying automatically for The Open was a big bonus in having a successful season last time around. Majors are incredibly difficult to get into and The Open usually throws up the most intriguing stories.
“With the recent third place finish at the Made In Himmerland event in Denmark I’d have secured a spot but it was nice knowing Hoylake was already in the diary when we started the season.
“I came close to the win in Denmark leading going down the last and missing out definitely hurt. But I was very happy with my game overall and that augurs well for the rest of the season.
“We have a holiday booked after The Open and that will be the first real summer holiday I have had in goodness knows how long.
“There has always been something on the go golf-wise so the most I have ever had is four or five days away.
“I will be able to shut off from the golf completely while we are away. That wouldn’t have been the case if I had been well behind in the Race to Dubai rankings.
“When we get back, I will be refreshed, and I can focus on pushing further up the rankings. Getting back to Dubai again would be a very good achievement but right now all my focus is on The Open.”
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