A warning has been issued on the eve of the 2023 Open Championship by one of golf’s greatest coaches.
Pete Cowen, who currently works with five-time major champion Brooks Koepka among others – and has previously worked with the likes of former world No.1s Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood – was asked about Royal Liverpool’s new hole, the par-3 17th. And he did not hold back.
“I hate it,” Cowen told bunkered.co.uk. “I haven’t heard a player say a good thing about it. They’ll just deal with it.”
Listed as 136 yards (124 metres), the 17th – with its elevated green and deep surrounding bunkers – will play as the shortest hole on the course. But the par 3 named “Little Eye” is expected to be a big challenge for players this week. A potentially unfair challenge, according to Cowen.
“It could ruin somebody’s career if the wind goes in the wrong direction all of a sudden or there is bad luck rolling down from the wrong place,” Cowen added. “Why would you make a 120 to 130-yard par 3 impossible? It’s called an infinity green and that could be it. They could be playing infinitely backwards and forwards across the green.”
As for takes from the players? Well, Matt Fitzpatrick called the hole “interesting”. And Jordan Spieth said it could produce some “carnage”. So, yeah, better buckle up for this one.
The 17th hole replaced the par-3 15th that was in play when McIlroy captured the claret jug the last time Hoylake hosted The Open, in 2014.