One of my favorite things about watching the Open Championship is seeing the bunkers over there, and the havoc it wreaks on the pro's games when they unfortunately find themselves on the business end of one of these harrowing holes. Bunkers are supposed to be hazards - they are supposed to serve as a penalty for a wayward shot. But with the generally shallow and well-manicured bunkers in the United States (especially on the courses that host PGA Tour events), the bunkers are oftentimes a better place to be than the rough, because you know you can spin the ball and be confident the lie will almost always be pretty good. I was talking recently with a PGA Tour caddie who told me there were some holes where his player would actually aim at the bunker (when trying to reach a par 5 in two, for instance) because he knew he could easily get up and down without a problem if he missed the green.
But on the Open Championship courses, you enter one of these traps at your own peril. You are lucky if you can emerge from them with your dignity (let alone your scorecard) still intact. I love that at least for one week, we get to see bunkers that have some real teeth! And with 205 of them at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, they will be a big part of the story this week.